From The History of Montgomery County, Ohio by W. H. Beers & Company 1882
The history of German Township was prepared by the publishers, from an elaborate manuscript furnished by the Rev. J. P. Hentz, of Germantown, Ohio.
This rich and populous district is situated in the southwest corner of Montgomery County. It adjoins on its west side Preble County, on its south side Butler and Warren Counties, on the east Miami Township, and on the north Jackson and Jefferson Townships. It embraces a territory of thirty-seven sections and a fraction of a section, and, according to the last official census, contains a population of 3,451. In the spring of 1803, shortly after the law took effect by which Montgomery County was formed, the Associate Judges of the County Court established the four original townships of the county--Washington, German, Dayton and Elizabeth.
German Township included all of the territory west of the Miami River to the State line, parallel to and two or three miles south of the present southern boundary of Miami County. On the 10th day of June, 1805, the records read, "German Township, bounded at present by the Miami River on the east, Butler County on the south, the line east of third range on the west, and the north side of first tier of sections in south side of third township, fifth range, and fourth township, fourth range, as the north boundary line, elections to be held at Philip Gunckel's Mill, on Twin Creek." At a session of the County Commissioners, February 3, 1806, it was ordered that two tiers of sections on the south side of Jefferson Township be attached to German on the north. March 7, 1809, a portion of German was added to Jefferson; and upon the erection of Jackson Township, December 7, 1814, the lines were again changed, and a part of German used in the formation of that township. Thus the lines on the north, south and west have remained up to the present; but, March 7, 1831, about ten full sections were cut off its eastern portion to form a part of Miami Township, and the section line between Sections 4 and 5, Township 2, Range 5, became its eastern boundary.
Big Twin Creek divides German Township into two nearly equal parts, passing across its territory from northwest to southeast. It has two classes of lands--uplands and bottom lands. The latter are situated in the valleys of the streams, and constitute about one-third of its soil, while the former lie on the elevated parts of the township, are less productive, and hence also less valuable than the bottom lands. The average value of uplands is $50 per acre; that of bottom lands, $100. The surface of the uplands is rolling, and their soil a yellow-brown clay, producing all the cereals, fruit and tobacco. The bottom lands are level, their soil a black alluvial mold of vegetable origin and very productive. This township is well watered, having many fine springs and a number of good streams, among which are the two Twins, Shawnee Creek, Dry Run and Mud Lick. Timber is still sufficiently abundant, consisting mainly of maple, oak, beech and poplar. A great deal of fine walnut existed here at one time, but it has now almost entirely disappeared. Thousands of tall, smooth trees of it have been felled, cut up for firewood, split into fence-rails, or appropriated to other similar purposes.
Twin Valley derives its name from two streams, one of which is called Big Twin, and the other Little Twin, and the junction of these streams into one at Germantown has given them the name of Twins. From Germantown, the united stream continues in its course southward for the distance of about six miles, and then empties into the Miami River. Taking the mouth of the Twin as the starting-point, and proceeding along its course to Germantown, thence about two miles more along both of its branches, we pass through the entire Twin Valley and reach its northern terminus. The valley itself is formed of the bottoms contiguous to the Twins and the hills by which they are inclosed, and is from one to two miles in width. Underneath the outer soil of this valley there is found a deposit of gravel from one to three feet in thickness which operates as an underdrainer, as well as furnishing cheap material for making solid roads. In addition to their natural fertility, these bottom lands possess this advantage, that they do not suffer as much as other lands from a want or a superabundance of rain, and produce whether the summer season be wet or dry--advantages seldom found combined, and which give these lands their chief value. Two miles south of Germantown, upon a high bluff overlooking the valley, are found the remains of an ancient fort, covering a space of about twenty-five acres. The trees that but recently grew on it have been cut down, and its site forms a part of a well-cultivated farm. By means of the plow and harrow, its embankments have been reduced to a level with the adjoining surface, so that, to the eye of the casual observer, not much remains to be seen of this once vast inclosure, yet there is enough left to trace all its outlines. There are many similar works in Southwestern Ohio, but who were their builders? what use and purpose did they subserve? and what is their age? are questions which are difficult--perhaps impossible--of solution. The geology of this valley is likewise highly interesting. Beneath its soil, on the hillsides, is a limestone rock of animal origin and a marine deposit. It is simply a consolidation of shell animals (Mollusks) that live in the ocean. The shells in this fossil rock are as well and clearly defined in form and outline as any shell newly thrown up by the waves from the ocean bottom. There is the greatest variety of species of them, and one may count a dozen or two varieties in a rock of the size of a man's hand. The gravel deposit of this valley affords no less interest than its fossil rock, a handful of its sand or pebbles containing at least a dozen different kinds of rocks, coming from formations which are far removed from one another. These pebbles are rounded off to almost the regularity and smoothness of marbles, giving evidence of having been subjected to friction, perhaps by being carried great distances by some unknown process or catastrophe, and large bowlders are found lying on the outside surface, which have been brought here from great distances. Here, then, in this valley, upon its hillsides and fields and by its streamlets, both the antiquarian and the geologist will find a promising field of research and study.
Germantown is situated in the Twin Valley, with Little Twin Creek on its east side, and Big Twin on its west and south sides, being in the forks of these streams. It was laid out by Philip Gunckel, who, on the 4th day of October, 1814, certified that the plat as recorded was correct. The first sale of lots occurred October 21, 1814, and the second sale November 15, 1815. It was called Germantown because the people who built up the town and lived around it were Germans. Howe, in his "Historical Collections of Ohio," says "Germantown was named from Germantown, Penn.," but in this he is mistaken: the name was given for the reason just stated. Its site, as well as its surroundings, are in a high degree beautiful. The valley immediately around the town is on almost all sides inclosed by hills, which are in large part covered by trees, forming a forest-crowned wall, presenting a very pleasing picture. The town is regularly laid out; its streets are wide, well graded and macadamized. The climate is most salubrious, the drainage admirable, malarious diseases unknown, and the health of the people excellent. The post office was established in October, 1818, Peter Shaeffer being the first Postmaster. Germantown has no railroad, but has, nevertheless, good railroad facilities, by means of omnibus lines to the C., H. & D. and C., C., C. & I., at Carlisle and Miamisburg, which points are each but four miles distant. The town possesses good public buildings; the schoolhouse is a very substantial, three-storied structure, overlooking the valley, containing twelve rooms, four on each floor; the Town Hall is an edifice that would do credit to a much larger town; and the armory, originally built for an academy, engine house and prison, are all quite new, capacious and attractive. There are four churches of good architectural style, some of them finished and furnished with taste and elegance. The town also has what many large places lack--a public park, containing about five acres of ground, which has been but recently laid out. Germantown has at present three dry goods stores, four grocery stores, two hardware, two furniture, two tin and stove stores, a number of other mercantile establishments possessed by such towns, three hotels and one banking house. The Exchange Bank was established by Col. John Stump; and did business a few years, when it was merged into the First National Bank of Germantown, which was organized July 18, 1863, by Christian Rohrer, William Gunckel, John Stump, John F. Kern and others, beginning business September 1 of that year, with a capital of $50,000, which has since been increased to $75,000. John F. Kern was elected President, and John Stump, Cashier; the former serving as President of the bank until January 10, 1882, when he resigned, and was succeeded by Joseph W. Shank. Col. Stump was succeeded as Cashier by J. H. Cross, who was elected January 16, 1869; began his duties February 1 of that year, which position of trust and confidence he has filled up to the present. During many years, the German was the only language spoken among the people of this town, but the English language has almost entirely supplanted it as a medium of social and business intercourse.
Sunsbury is but a small village of about forty dwellings; is separated from Germantown by a space of about a quarter of a mile, and is located directly south of the latter town, on the Carlisle & Germantown pike. It is a very old place, being the first point settled in German Township, and for a number of years was the only village or place of business in the Twin Valley. It was not, however, platted until March 18, 1825, according to the county records. Its people form, to some extent, a community by themselves, yet their interests are largely identified with those of the people of Germantown, and, though small in size and population, some of the most prominent men in the township have lived here, such as the Emericks, Catrows and Liggets. It has never given much prospect of growth, and to-day has no more houses than it had forty years ago, and is beginning to show its age by its external appearance.
German Township has had two classes of settlers, who have succeeded one another, the first of whom were the squatters, who remained but a few years; and the second the pioneers, who stayed and became the permanent occupants of the soil. The squatter period begins with the year 1798, and ends with the year 1804. Previous to the former period, the Indians held undisputed sway in the Twin Valley, and lingered here with fond attachments even after encroaching civilization had robbed them of their means of support. As late as 1804, the Shawnees had a town on Shawnee Creek, on land now adjoining Sunsbury, from which tribe that stream takes its name, and it is said of Tomy Killbuck, who was one of their number, that, for along time, he utterly refused to leave the country. He built himself a hut on the west side of the Big Twin, near the site of Conover's Mill, and for years no amount of persuasion could move him to abandon the land of his birth and the scenes of his earlier years; and when at last he yielded to the inevitable fate of his race and concluded to move on westward, he did so with great reluctance only, and left very sad and dejected.
The first white settlers came to this township in the. year 1798, from Kentucky, but they were not all natives of that State; perhaps but few of them were. Some were natives of Pennsylvania, others of Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. The names of some of these people have been preserved, and are as follows: Benjamin Smith, James Griffith, John Pauly, William Cutler, James Hatfield, Robert Hardin, Lickum Hardin, James Hardup, James Porter. George Worthington, Samuel Hawkins (who had been a Colonel in the Revolutionary army, and was a man of superior intelligence), John Winegardner, William Polk, John Bundaker, Richard Brown, John Herman, William Eastwood, Eden Hardin, John Cutler, Martin McGrea. Nathaniel Lyon, Conrad Eisile, Anthony Richard and Abraham Hartzel. These people were not actual settlers, but squatters only, but, as soon as the land was offered for sale, some purchased. Many were too poor, and had not the means to buy, whilst others had the means, but were not willing to purchase and to remain. These, as soon as circumstances permitted or necessity impelled, moved away and made room for those who became actual settlers. The land upon which Germantown was subsequently laid out was entered and owned by James Hatfield and Robert Hardin, who sold it to Philip Gunckel in the year 1804, at the price of $10 per acre.
On the west side of this were two tracts, each of sixty acres. The northern one (now the site. of the park and armory) was entered by James Porter, and the southern by Abraham Hartzel, the latter of whom lived on the spot at present occupied by the residence of Lewis Stump. Both these tracts were purchased by Leonard Stump and combined into one farm. Porter owned also the tract of land to the west of this, which later passed into the possession of William Emerick. All west of this last, as far as Twin Creek, was entered by Conrad Eisile, George Worthington entering the land north of Germantown, known later as the George Emerick place. John Winegardner never owned any land, but lived on a tract now the property of the Kemps, on the Dayton pike, which for a long time was called the "Winegarden," in imitation of its first occupant's name. Anthony Richard lived east of town, on the east side of Little Twin. John Bundaker owned George S. Gebhart's farm on Dry Run, and John Harman the farm of Jacob Brunner, on the same run. None of the uplands were entered by these first comers, and not even all the bottom lands were taken up by them. Richard Brown lived on the run that now bears his name, and after whom it was called. Brown's Run was then confined to a narrow channel, and the bottoms adjoining it were quite as good as those of the Twin Valley; but when the timber along its banks was cut down, the stream began to widen until the rich surface soil of its bottoms was entirely washed away. Nathaniel Lyon is the only one of all these people who remained here permanently. He owned the land adjoining Germantown on the northwest, lived in the town to the day of his death, and was buried in the Lutheran Graveyard. Recently, when the workmen were widening the street on which this cemetery joins, Mr. Lyon's grave fell into the street, and his body was re-interred in the same burial-place, a marble slab marking the spot where now his remains repose. These first settlers are said to have been a quiet, orderly and peaceable class of people, and, religiously, were mostly of the Baptist persuasion; at least, the only minister who labored among them, the Rev. Mr. Lee, was a Baptist preacher. They erected a house of worship on the farm later owned by Christopher Emerick. It stood in the woods on the hill, was a log structure, and was never quite finished. The second class of settlers have sometimes become the permanent occupants and owners of the soil, and this happened to be the case in German Township. But in many instances, these have again sold out, and a third class only have come to remain.
The first of the second class of settlers were principally from Berks County, Penn., who, later, were re-enforced from the same and other States. In 1803, Philip Gunckel, Christopher Emerick, David Miller and George Kern, all natives of Berks County, Penn., came to Ohio on a prospecting tour. After visiting different localities, they concluded to purchase land about sixty miles east of Cincinnati, on Bull's Skin Creek, near its junction with the Ohio River. Mr. Gunckel was a miller by trade, and, in the selection of land, aimed to secure a site for a mill, and the others deferred to Mr. Gunckel's judgment in their selections of land. The four contracted for 1,000 acres on this stream, from the agent of a Virginian named Redford, which land was a part of the Virginia Military Survey. They started for Virginia to see Redford and secure from him deed and title of the land which they had bought from his agent, but, on arriving at the man's residence, they found that he was dead, and the executor lived 150 miles further off. They therefore abandoned the project of settling on Bull's Skin, and returned to Pennsylvania, still, however, with the intention of moving to Ohio. Their glowing account of the beauties of this State created a "Western fever" in their locality, and twenty-four families concluded to sell out and move to Ohio during the following spring, all of whom were natives of Berks County, Penn., although a few were then living in Center County of the same State. They set out on their westward journey in the spring of 1804; met at Pittsburgh, as previously agreed upon, where they loaded their wagons and goods upon flat-boats, and. with their families, floated down the Ohio to Cincinnati, arriving at that town June 20, 1804. From there they went to Reading, a hamlet not far from the former place, where they tarried a fortnight, considering what to do or whence to direct their steps. A few found employment and remained; the rest continued their journey toward the north, intending to locate in the Miami Valley, of which they had heard, but with no special objective point in view, trusting rather to fortune and the guidance of providence. Passing through the Miami Valley, they were delighted with the country which they saw, finally arriving at "Hole's Station," near which lived a wealthy German farmer named Alexander Nutz, whom they were very glad to meet, for he spoke their own tongue. They encamped on his farm, and, the weather being warm and pleasant, they took up their abode in the woods, where they lived in wagons and temporary huts for about two weeks.
Mr. Gunckel was looked upon by these people as their leader, being a man of superior intelligence, and the only person among them who spoke the English language with any degree of fluency; therefore, they were inclined to follow his fortunes, and locate wherever he did. He explored the country for miles around, and finally concluded to settle on Big Twin Creek, within the present corporate limits of Germantown, and the rest of the colony made up their minds to locate around him. Mr. Gunckel was influenced in this selection by the fact that the stream afforded a good mill site, as it was his intention to erect a mill as soon as properly settled. Those who followed Mr. Gunckel's leadership crossed to the west bank of the Miami River, traveled on in the direction of Twin Creek, which they reached August 1, 1804; and here, by the side of this stream, they rested as the end of a long and wearisome journey, and here was now their future home. The earlier settlers who lived in this valley were ready to sell out to the Pennsylvanians, and those of the latter who had the means at once purchased land, while a few found unentered Government land and secured that. Before winter set in, the newly arrived immigrants had secured land, built their cabins and begun the battle of life in the primitive forest of the Twin Valley. Such was their enterprise and industry that they did more for the improvement of the country in one year than their predecessors had done in half a dozen of years, and at the end of twelve months, they had attained such a condition of independence and thrift that want or suffering was unknown among them. Religiously, they were either Lutherans or Reformed, and in those days it used to be said that all the difference between the two denominations was that in the Lord's Prayer, the one said "Vater Unser and the other Unser Vater," hence there was little occasion for alienation between them. After the first arrivals, came others, and the immigration hither continued steadily, so that in 1808, German Township was pretty thickly populated, and the land in the entire township, excepting some swampy portions, had been entered and occupied. The following are the names of those heads of families who came to this valley from Pennsylvania in the 1804 colony, some of whom, however, settled outside the present limits of German Township: Philip Gunckel, Christopher, John and William Emerick (who were brothers), George Kiester, Jacob Bauer, George Moyer, John Gunckel (who subsequently returned to Pennsylvania), John and Christopher Shuppert. Peter Gebhart, George Stettler and his five sons, William, Henry, Daniel. George and Jacob, John Barlet, Abraham Puntius and George Kern (who came with them as far as Cincinnati, where he remained two years, coming to this township in 1806). There were twenty-four families of them when they started from Pennsylvania, but they did not all get to the Twin Valley. Some dropped off on their way hither and settled elsewhere, while others remained so short a time that they cannot be claimed as pioneers of this valley. The names of all such have been omitted from the above list, and those alone appear who became actual settlers.
The people who came to this valley between the years 1804 and 1808 were, with perhaps a few exceptions, natives of Germany, or of German descent, most of them belonging to the latter class hailing from Pennsylvania, while a few came from Maryland and other States; but wherever they came from, they were all of the same stock of people, and may all be ranked under the general category of Pennsylvania Germans. These pioneers were well adapted for the life which they had chosen, being brave and -adventurous in spirit, and strong and healthy in body. They were true and hardy sons of the soil, relishing sport no less than labor and adventure.
BRIEF BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF PIONEERS
Philip Gunckel, in his day more familiarly known as Judge Gunckel, was a native of Berks County, Penn., born April 7, 1766. When yet a man young in years, he went to reside in Center County, in the same State, from where he, came to Ohio. He was a man of intelligence, enterprise and activity, of clear foresight and shrewd business capacity. He brought some money with him to this State, which he invested judiciously, thus laying the foundation of future wealth. In purchasing his land, he saw the advantages of its location, and in 1805 began the erection of a mill, which was finished in 1806, and this was the nucleus of the future town, which he laid out in 1814, and was the first and only mill for many years in a district of many miles in extent. By means of the income derived from this mill, the proceeds realized from the sale of town lots, and from other good investments, he soon accumulated a large amount of property, so that in his day he was the wealthiest man in German Township. For a number of years, he served as Associate Judge of the Court of Common Pleas; was also chosen as a delegate to one of the constitutional conventions of Ohio, and served one term as a Representative in the State Legislature. In all these positions he acquitted himself with honor to himself and his constituents. He was, moreover, a leader in all the more important public movements of his township and county. Many improvements were supported by him, and, by the aid .of his influence, brought to a successful issue. Providence had bestowed upon him a sound body and a vigorous mind, and of them he made the best possible use which his circumstances permitted him. As a citizen and an official, he has done more than any other man of his time in his community to promote the interest and prosperity of this section of country.
Mr. Gunckel was a member of the Reformed Church, yet favored and aided other denominations in securing places of worship in his town. He was married thrice, but left no issue except by his first wife. This lady's maiden name was Catharine Schaeffer, and she was the mother of eight children. Of these, John, Michael, Catharine, Philip, Jacob and Sarah were born in Pennsylvania, whilst David and Elizabeth were born in Ohio. Catharine became the wife of Lewis Shuey; Sarah was married to Henry Zellers, and Elizabeth to Dr. C. G. Espich. The most prominent among his descendants of the present generation are William Gunckel, banker, and Lewis B. Gunckel, attorney at law and ex-Member of Congress, both residents of Dayton, Ohio.
Mr. Gunckel's wife Catharine, was born in Berks County, Penn., July 12, 1766, and died August 2, 1836, he surviving about twelve years, and dying May 24, 1848. The remains of both were buried in the Lutheran Graveyard in Germantown, but subsequently exhumed and re-interred in the Germantown Cemetery, where their resting-place is marked by a marble tombstone.
Daniel Gunckel was a brother of Philip's, and came to this township in 1811; was a man of rather retired disposition and quiet habits of life; built and operated a fulling-mill on Mud Lick, where at present stands the distillery of David Rohrer. He was a member of the Reformed Church, but changed while here to the United Brethren. A nephew of his, by the same name, came still later, and was a miller by occupation. All three of the above Gunckels have left issue, and from them all of the name in Montgomery County are descended.
There wore four brothers of them who came to this township--John Christopher, William and Michael--all natives of Berks County, Penn.--and George, a distant relative of these.
Christopher was one of the four men who, in 1803, came to Ohio on a prospecting tour. He was married and had several children when he settled in this township. He was called by his German friends "Stoffel;" entered Government land on Shawnee Creek, adjoining Sunsbury, and lived here until the hour of his death. He was born January 23, 1771, and died January 26, 1837. Of his children, four are still living, viz., William, Christopher, Mrs. Christian Rohrer and Mrs. Christian Eshelman.
John was an older brother; was never married, and lived in Christopher's family. As late as 1810, he entered about one thousand acres of land on Dry Run, which was considered valueless, being wet and swampy; but it is now among the best in the township. Both he and Christopher were good musicians; brought with them the first pipe organ ever seen in Twin Valley, and afterward manufactured a number of similar ones, some of which are still in good repair. From far and near, the pioneer fathers, with their families, would gather at their house for the purpose of enjoying the harmony of song which there prevailed, as well as to take part in the social dance, and on this account the name of Emerick became a household word throughout the valley. William Emerick bought land west of Germantown, of James Porter, and lived where now stands the residence of Christian Dechant. He was born July 1, 1761; reared a numerous and respectable family--most of whom have passed away--and died February 10, 1842.
Michael was a man of means, who came in 1806 and bought land about one mile west of Germantown, upon which Conover's Mill now stands; born February 10, 1756; died October 14, 1820. Those brothers were members of the Lutheran Church; were among the founders of the congregation in Germantown, and helped to build the first church located here. The most remarkable among the Emericks at this time is William, the son of Christopher, born in Berks County, Penn., June 29, 1794; he is consequently near eighty-eight years old. His memory is wonderfully vigorous and retentive, his form erect, his step as elastic and firm and his movements as quick as if still in the prime of life. He was married, in 1820, to Sarah Gunckel, daughter of Daniel Gunckel, who yet remains to cheer and comfort him. It is due to Mr. Emerick here to state that many of the facts here recorded were obtained from him. He has kept a record of names, dates and events, which he kindly placed at our service, and without which this history would be incomplete, as many historical facts would have long since passed into oblivion.
George Emerick lived on land entered by George Worthington, adjoining Germantown on the north. He was born in Dauphin County, Penn., October 17, 1789; came to Ohio previous to 1810; was a prominent member of the Lutheran Church; was twice married; reared a large and respectable family, and died April 12, 1859. His mother, who came to Ohio with him, and who died here in her ninetieth year, had been an Indian captive, when young, and had a most heart-rending story to tell of her sorrow and sufferings during her captivity.
JOHN GEORGE KERN
John George Kern was one of those who came to Ohio in 1803, with Phi lip Gunckel. He was born in Berks County, Penn., February 8, 1775; was a millwright by trade, and remained working at his trade in Cincinnati from 1804 to 1806, when he followed his friends to German Township and made the bulbs for Gunckel's mill, which was finished in that year. Shortly after coming, he entered the quarter-section of land now the property of his son William, upon which he ever afterward lived. Mr. Kern belonged to the Lutheran Church; was a conscientious and honest man in all his dealings, and died in January, 1857, aged eighty-two years.
George Moyer started from Pennsylvania with the others, but parted from them at Pittsburgh, from where he took a different route, and reached this township before any of his friends, taking up his temporary residence on a quarter-section of land about two miles north of Germantown, on Little Twin Creek, later owned by his son Jonathan. After a brief stay, he bought land on the Miami River, near where Carrollton Station now is, and there died in October, 1804. His son Jonathan, now in his eighty-fourth year, is the only survivor of his family who resides in this valley.
George Kiester, one of the settlers of 1804, lived in this valley a number of years, when he moved to Darke County, Ohio, and there found a home.
Peter, his brother, came out some years later, and from `him all of the name living in German Township are descended. He had served as a scout in the Continental army, had often been taken prisoner, and had passed through many perils. Both he and George were members of the Lutheran Church.
Jacob Bauer came to this township from Center County, Penn., in 1804, and owned the farm at present the property of the Keedy brothers. His wife was the daughter of the Rev. Ilgen, a Lutheran minister. Mr. Bauer was one of the founders and supporters of the Lutheran Church at Germantown, and, after some years' residence, moved away, since which time the name has entirely disappeared from this township.
George Boyer was a native of Berks County, Penn., but, previous to his removal to Ohio in 1805, had resided in Center County, Penn. His wife was a sister of Mrs. Philip Gunckel, and their two eldest children were born in Pennsylvania. Mr. Boyer purchased a tract of land east of Germantown, from Anthony Richard. He was the father of five sons and five daughters, of whom two sons and two daughters are still living. William is the only one at present residing in German Township. Mr. and Mrs. Boyer were members of the Lutheran Church, and the remains of both lie buried in front of the Lutheran Church in Germantown.
Peter Caterow, father of Zephenia and Middleton Caterow, located in German Township in 1804. His parents were natives of Germany, who settled in Frederick County, Md., and there Peter was born in the year 1781, and there his father died. In 1802, Mrs. Caterow, her son Peter, and her two daughters, with their husbands, Walter Cox and Zachariah Selby, started for Ohio, arriving in Warren County in January, 1803, and in the spring of that year located on land in Butler County. Peter, being unmarried, lived with Cox and Selby until Charles, his brother, came to Ohio, and the two entered a half-section of land in German Township, about two and one-half miles to the south of Germantown, which they occupied in the spring of 1804. On the 1st of January, 1805, Peter married Christina Loy, daughter of Adam Loy, and resided on his farm until 1850, then moved to Sunsbury, where he died in the seventy-third year of his life. The remains of himself and wife are interred on Sunsbury Hill, where sleep so many of the pioneers of German Township.
Henry Crist, a native of Berks County, Penn., came to this township in 1804, and, soon after his arrival, purchased the farm yet owned by his descendants. He was not only a good farmer, but a skillful worker in iron; bore a good character, and was a member of the Lutheran Church.
Leonard Stump came to Ohio in 1805, in company with Martin Shuey and Michael Cotterman. He was married when he came and bought and settled on land adjoining on the west side the tract which subsequently became the site of Germantown, where he lived until he was called away by death, July 29, 1811. He was born in Berks County, Penn., July 11, 1767, and left three children, John and George, who lived and died in Germantown, and a daughter, who married a Mr. Lanig, with whom she moved to Darke County, Ohio. George fell heir to the homestead, married a daughter of the Rev. John C. Dill, and after his death the farm was divided between his children. John became a prominent business man of Germantown, and lived to a high old age.
Leonard Stump had two brothers, George and Michael, who came to this township in 1810. They were all members of the Lutheran Church, and all the Stumps living in and about Germantown are descendants of these three brothers.
Mathias Schawartzel came from Somerset County, Penn., in 1805, and entered a section of land on Dry Run, a part of which is still in possession of his son Frederick. He died a few years after his arrival, and his widow assumed the management of the farm; was very successful, and accumulated a large amount of property. His brother, who came the same year, located some distance north of Germantown, but soon exchanged his land for a part of Mathias' tract, where he passed the balance of his days.
Martin Shuey, another of the pioneers of 1805, was born in Lebanon County, Penn., January 20, 1750, and brought with him to Ohio a large sum of money, with which he purchased land just beyond Sunsbury, on the Franklin pike, which became later the Beard farm. Mr. Shuey, although coming to this valley with an abundance of means, met with adverse fortune. He was a man of good mind and excellent character, and his financial reverses were owing to causes over which man has little or no control. He was a member of the Reformed Church, and one of the founders of that congregation in Germantown, and was the father of ten children, most of whom became residents of this county. Mary became the wife of Capt. John C. Negley; is in her eighty-eighth year, and a resident of Germantown. Adam resides in Dayton, and is the father of the several Shuey families of that city. Martin served as a Captain in the war of 1812, and later ranked as Brigadier General of militia; he died in California in his ninetieth year.
Lewis Shuey was a nephew of Martin; was born in Dauphin County, Penn., November 17, 1785, and when yet quite young, his father moved to Augusta, Va., where Lewis passed his early years. In 1806, he came -to this township, and in 1808 married Catharine Gunckel, daughter of Judge Philip Gunckel, by whom he had four children--Philip, Lewis, Jacob and Michael. He obtained the mill property of his father-in-law, which he rebuilt and improved.
Mr. Shuey was a man of wealth and influence, and a member of the Reformed Church, but, late in life, became a Methodist. After the death of his wife, he was again married, to Mrs. Elizabeth Espich, widow of Dr. Espich, and sister of his first wife. The Shueys of Montgomery County, of whom there are a great many, are descended from these two--Martin and Lewis.
Andrew Zeller, the founder of the Zeller connection in this county, was born in Berks County, Penn., and came to this township in 1805, settling on land one mile to the north of Germantown, where he resided until the day of his death. In Ohio, he identified himself with the United Brethren Church, and became a Bishop of that denomination. His home was for many years the headquarters of the followers of Otterbein in this part of Ohio, and his descendants are numerous and respected people.
JOHN CASPER STOEVER
John Casper Stoever, the patriarch of the name in German Township, was born in Dauphin (now Lebanon) County, Penn., and in 1806 came to the Twin Valley, and then already an old man. There came with him his three sons, Frederick, Casper and John, all of whom were at that time heads of families, and all settled in German Township, where they spent the balance of -their days. Casper lived on a farm on the-Dayton pike, about one mile from Germantown; Frederick's farm was about one mile further to the northeast; while John purchased a farm on the Little Twin, where his son Samuel now resides. The father of these three died at the residence of his son Casper, at an advanced age, and was buried in the Lutheran Graveyard at Germantown, of which church the family were, and are to-day, members.
Jonathan Lindamuth came to this township with his father-in-law, Michael Emerick in 1806, and secured land one mile west of Germantown, upon which he lived and died. He reared a large family, consisting of nine sons and two daughters; two of the former settled in Darke County, Ohio; the rest all settled about Germantown. He was one of the founders of the Lutheran congregation in Germantown, and his remains are buried in the Lutheran Graveyard.
George Coleman was here on a visit in 1806; entered land and went back to Pennsylvania. In 1809, he returned to this township, bringing his family with him, and settled on his land, which lay about one mile northeast of Germantown. He was a member of the Lutheran Church, and was the father of seven children, all of whom are still living.
FREDERICK KIMMERLING, SR.
Frederick Kimmerling, Sr., resided in Frederick County, Md., previous to his removal to Ohio in 1808. In that year, with his family, consisting of his wife and four children, he located on a farm adjoining George Coleman's, which became his future home. His son Frederick inherited the place, and also spent his life here, dying February 15, 1880, at the age of seventy-six years. Both the father and son were Lutherans.
The only family of this name who can be called pioneers are the children of Peter and Catharine Schaeffer, of whom there were eight, viz., Mrs. Philip Gunckel, Mrs. George Boyer, Mrs. Pressler, Jacob, Michael, Peter, John and Henry, all born in Pennsylvania, and all came to German Township and died here. The daughters came out in 1804 and 1805; the sons, not until about 1814. John and Henry became farmers; Jacob was a wagon-maker, and resided in the town; Michael built the Schaeffer Hotel, which was afterward kept by his son George; Peter was an able man, taught school, practiced law, was the first Postmaster of Germantown, and served in the war of 1812, and his widow, who is still living, receives a pension from the Government for his services in that struggle. The mother of this family has a very romantic history, having been captured by the Indians when about seven years old, and held a captive for seven years. She was adopted by the tribe, and assigned as servant to an old Indian chief, who was no longer able to follow the chase. She was finally recaptured by some whites, who were building a boat not far from the Indian camp, one of whom took her to an Eastern city, educated and supported her as his own child until she reached womanhood. She wrote a letter about this time to where she supposed her early home had been, addressing the same to her father, who, with her little sister, had been captured at the same time, but subsequently released, her mother having been brained by an Indian for resisting the capture of her little ones. To her great joy, she received an answer to her letter, sought out her father. and again, after many years' separation, became one of his household. Soon afterward, she married Peter Schaeffer, and. bore him eight children. Her husband died in Pennsylvania, after which she lived with her daughter, Mrs. George Boyer, and removed with that family to the Twin Valley in 1805. During her captivity, she learned the Indian language, as well as the medicinal properties and uses of herbs and roots, and always after practiced the healing art. She died August 16, 1818, in the seventy-third year of her life, and her remains are resting in the Lutheran Graveyard in Germantown, to which denomination she ever tendered a loving fealty. The number of descendants of Mrs. Catharine Schaeffer cannot, by this time, fall far short of one thousand, for at least five hundred of the people of Germantown are descended from her.
With this closes the chapter of pioneer sketches. A few more families are known to have come to this township during this early period, such as the Foutzes, Oldfathers and Cottermans, but nothing more has been learned of them by the writer than their names. To the pioneers of this valley is owing a great debt, and hence their memory should be gratefully cherished. The people who at present live in the Twin Valley have many reasons to be thankful to a kind Providence, who has cast their lot in so favorable an age and such a pleasant place.
The people who settled in German Township between the years 1804 and 1810 were, with few exceptions, Lutherans and German Reformed, who erected what is known as "union churches," and worshiped in the same building. Previous to 1809, there was no regularly organized congregation in German Township, but there had been preaching and other pastoral work performed by visiting ministers. In the year 1809, the Lutherans and Reformed organized themselves into an association, purchased ground for a building and graveyard from Philip Gunckel, who, together with William Emerick, Leonard Stump and Jacob Weaver, were chosen by the members of both congregations as a Building Committee, the Trustees of the property being Casper Stoever and Peter Recher, to whom the ground was deeded in trust for both churches. The graveyard was open to all religious creeds, but a suicide or a criminal could not find burial there. The articles of union were signed July 30, 1809, by the following members of both congregations:
Casper Stoever, Sr., Philip Gunckel, Peter Recher, Conrad Eisele, Jacob Bauer, Leonard Stump, William Emerick, Jacob Schwank, Michael Emerick, John Stoever, George Boyer, George Gener, Frederick Stoever, Jonathan Lindemuth, William Emerick, Jr., Christopher Emerick, John Gunckel, John Emerick, Martin Shuey, Henry Holler, Michael Gunckel, Casper Stoever, Jr.
The church was a log structure, was finished in 1810 at a cost of $500, and stood a few yards to the southwest of the present Lutheran Church. During the first few years, the congregations were ministered to by no regular pastors, but, in 1815 the Reformed people called to their pastorate the Rev. Thomas Winters, and about the same time the Lutherans were supplied with a minister in the person of the Rev. John Casper Dill. From that date to the present, both congregations have been regularly served by pastors of their own creed and choice. This union between these two churches continued for about twenty years, each using the building every alternate Sabbath, but the audience was always the same, the Lutherans attending the Reformed services, and the Reformed the Lutheran. In the course of time, this log building erected in 1810 became too small, and in 1818 Judge Gunckel undertook to erect, at his own expense, a large and commodious brick structure at the west end of Market street, of which he sold one-half to each denomination, to be used by them as a church. It was not finished until 1828, and in that year both abandoned the old log structure for the more roomy and modern one, which stood nearly on the same site as the present Reformed Church. In the year 1830, a misunderstanding occurred between Judge Gunckel and the Lutheran congregation, and the latter abandoned this church, went back to their old place of worship, and soon thereafter erected a new building. By this act, the two congregations were finally separated so far as worship was concerned, but they still held the one acre of ground purchased of Judge Gunckel as common property, and this joint ownership continued up to the year 1879, when an agreement was reached by which the Lutherans became sole owners of this ground.
The Reformed Church of Germantown--This congregation was organized about the year 1809. Previous to this time, however, there had been divine services conducted in private houses throughout this whole valley. The language then, and for many years thereafter, used, was the German. Among the early Reformed ministers who thus labored here are found the names of Jacob Christman and John Jacob La Rose. The former came to Ohio from North Carolina, some authorities say as early as 1803, while others claim a later period as the time of his arrival. There are certificates of baptism extant signed by him which bear the date of 1806, so that it appears he must have come to this States in or before this year. He resided in Clear Creek Township, Warren County, Ohio, and is reputed to have been the first German Reformed minister in this part of the State. He died in 1810, aged sixty-five years. The Rev. La Rose having settled in Miami Township, close to "Hole's Station," a sketch of him will be found in the history of that township. Whilst his pastoral work was performed during the earliest years of the settlement of the Twin Valley among the Reformed, it was not until 1815 that the congregation in Germantown enjoyed the ministrations of a regularly settled pastor. In this year, they called the Rev. Thomas Winters, who was born in the State of Maryland in the year 1778. His parents were native Germans, who immigrated to the colonies and found a home in Maryland, that colony of religious liberty founded by the Calverts, a noble Catholic family of England. Mr. Winters came to Ohio in 1809 and located in Greene County, where he did some preaching, but served no regular charge, having no organized congregation under his care. From Greene he moved to Montgomery County, and lived for awhile in the vicinity of Dayton, and soon after this was called to the pastorate of the Germantown charge. He had received license to preach the Gospel from the Rev. Otterbein, who is generally regarded as the founder of the United Brethren denomination, but, inasmuch as the constitution of the Germantown congregation required its pastor to be a regularly ordained minister and a member of the Reformed Synod, he was obliged to seek ordination and apply for membership in this body, and for this purpose had to repair to Pennsylvania. He was licensed to preach by the said synod, whilst convened in Eastern Pennsylvania, in the year 1815, and was ordained by the same body in 1819, during its convention in this year at Lancaster, Penn. Pastor Winters took charge of the Germantown Church in the fall of 1815, but, like all the ministers of his day in this Western country, served a large field. He preached in Germantown, and in the Slifer Church in Montgomery County, at Clear Creek in Warren County, at West Alexandria and Lewisburg in Preble County, and at Beaver Creek in Greene County, his labors extending over four counties, and his parishioners were scattered over all this vast space of territory. The distances over which he had to travel to reach his preaching-points were very great, sometimes forty and fifty miles removed from one another, and his traveling was all done on horseback. By reason of these facts, the labors of Mr. Winters were very arduous, and left him but little leisure for reading and study; but, notwithstanding these disadvantages, he acquired a large stock of knowledge and became a well-informed theologian. He was a man of tact and good practical sense, had made human nature a study, and had acquired the art of influencing and controlling men. He also had the natural gift of language, did not lack for words, and clothed his thoughts in graceful and dignified phrase. By means of these gifts and acquirements, he proved himself a most efficient and successful pastor, and sustained himself with credit in all his congregations. He served the same field with acceptance until his retirement from his ministerial duties in 1840, which, of itself, is proof of his ability, for no man of inferior talent can do this. He was equally proficient in the German and English languages, and preached acceptably in either. Though aggressive in his pastoral work, yet he was a man of a most pacific turn of mind and conciliatory temper, who would much rather suffer wrong than do wrong. As regards his character and life, he enjoyed the utmost confidence of not only the members of his own parish, but of all others with whom he was brought into contact, and exemplified in his own life, the doctrines and precepts which he taught to others. Mr. Winters became preceptor to some four or five young men, who qualified themselves, under his care and direction, for the pastoral work, among whom were his two sons, David and Thomas. After his retirement on account of old age and infirmities, he spent the last years of his life at the home of his daughter, in West Alexandria, Preble Co., Ohio, where he died in the year 1863, at the age of eighty-five years. His remains were brought to Dayton and interred in Woodland Cemetery. Mr. Winters was the father of eleven children, two of whom, David and Thomas, entered the Reformed ministry. They are both still living, and active in their calling. The former reside; in Dayton; has now passed the allotted time of man's existence, but shows the health of body and vigor of mind of a man in the prime of life. He still preaches with acceptance, his thoughts are clear and forcible, and his manner of speaking animated and impressive. He has been honored with the degree of D. D., of which honor he is eminently deserving. Valentine, another son, also residing in Dayton, is a banker, a man of wealth and excellent business capacity. He began life from an humble start, but, by habits of industry, sobriety and honesty, and by close application to his business, he has raised himself to one of the first positions in society.
The Rev. Thomas Winters' successor in office was the Rev. George Long. Soon after the coming of this gentleman, he began the introduction of new measures into the church service, such as prayer meetings, etc., which some of his people looked upon as dangerous innovations, whilst others favored them, thus causing a division of sentiment that finally led to a split in the congregation. One Sunday, at the close of his services, he made use of the following language. Said he: "If I am not permitted to hold prayer meetings in the church, I will hold them in private houses: and if I am not permitted to hold them in private houses, I will go out into the fields and hold them there." These words only added fuel to the slumbering fire, for when, at the close of this service, he, walked away from the church, the doors were locked, never again to be opened to him. Those who sympathized with him when excluded from the church withdrew from the congregation, organized for themselves and built a new church, with the Rev. Long as their pastor, in which position he officiated for about six years. The same trouble spread to the congregations in the country, and for many years was a source of much trouble to the Reformed Church. The old portion of the Germantown congregation continued worshiping in the old building, and was served by neighboring ministers. The church erected by the Rev. Long was burnt down the last year of his ministry, and he was succeeded by the Rev. Thomas H. Winters, a son of Father Thomas Winters, who failed in doing much for the congregation, and left after a year or two. The building was rebuilt whilst Rev. Winters had charge, but the congregation was unable to pay for it, and it was sold to private parties. Its members scattered among other churches, some returning to the old congregation, but the majority joined the Methodist and United Brethren denominations, and thus ended the existence of the Long congregation. The building was afterward used by different sects as a preaching-place, but has at last come to an inglorious end, being now used as a whisky and tobacco warehouse.
Thomas H. Winters was here during the years 1846-47. The Rev. Solomon K. Denius was now called to the pastorate of the Reformed Church, and his selection proved to be a fortunate event for these people. Mr. Denius was a man of great amiability, and of a kind and conciliatory disposition. He was the very man qualified to pour oil upon the troubled waters and cause the restoration of peace and harmony. Since the time of his ministry, the congregation has enjoyed uninterrupted peace, has made steady advancement, is at present a united body and in a prosperous condition. After Rev. Denius, whose ministry continued for about half a dozen years, the succession of ministers in this congregation is as follows: John Kercher, 1852-56; Aaron Wanner, 1857-62; George W. Willard, 1862-66; H. C. Comfort, 1866-67; J. B. Shumaker, 1867-68; Joseph H. Apple, 1869-73; Charles W. Good, 1873-76; Peter C. Prugh, 1876 to the present time, who is a worthy gentleman and an efficient pastor. This congregation is now worshiping in its third church. The first was the log structure erected as a union church in 1810; the second was the building erected by Judge Gunckel, and which they occupied from 1828 to 1866, in which year it was taken down and the present building erected in its place, partly on new ground, It remained unfinished until 1879, the congregation using the basement room as a place of worship; but in that year the audience room was finished and furnished, and the church was dedicated during the summer of the same year. It is a commodious edifice, and speaks well for the congregation and pastors who labored in the erection of this beautiful horse of divine worship.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church--This congregation dates its origin hack to the year 1809, and at the time of its organization it used the German exclusively in its public worship. Its members were, without a single exception; either native Germans or their descendants, and most of them came from Berks County, Penn. Among the ministers of this faith who were here prior to the, year 1814 appear the names of Paul Henkel, Markert, Forster, Mau and Simon. The former was the father of Andrew Henkel, and lived and labored mainly in Virginia, and was one of the most remarkable men of his age in the missionary field. In what year he visited this point is not known at present. Of Markert nothing is known but the name, and the same can be said of Forster. Mau was a native of Pennsylvania; had been a Revolutionary soldier; lived many years in the Twin Valley, and finally died here. He was a somewhat eccentric man, with a limited education, changing his church relations several times, but died a member of the Lutheran denomination. Andrew Simon officiated as pastor for the churches in German and Miami Townships for a number of years---probably up to the year 1812. He resided in Miami Township, in the neighborhood of the Gebhart Church, settling there as early as 1808, Greatly lacking the gift of language, he was not very popular or successful, and, abandoning the ministry, he turned his attention to the practice of medicine, removed to Indiana, and there closed his life.
After Mr. Simon left, the congregation remained without a pastor for several years, but in the year 1814 they extended a call to the Rev. John Casper Dill, who took charge in the fall of 1815, and may be said to have been the first regular pastor of the Lutheran Church at Germantown.
Rev. John Casper Dill was born in Wertheim, in the Grand Duchy of Baden, Germany, February 2, 1758, and his parents were worthy members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and well to do in the affairs of this world. John Casper received a thorough literary and scientific education, his collegiate course being taken at the then noted University of Giessen, in Hesse, at that time one of the best of Germany's institutions. In 1790, he embarked at Amsterdam for the United States, whither an elder brother had preceded him, and landed at Baltimore, Md., September 4 of that year, and, a few weeks subsequently, joined his brother in Philadelphia, where he was engaged in mercantile pursuits. Here he remained for some time, but in 1792 his brother fell a victim to the yellow fever, and for the following ten years our subject's residence and occupation are not now known, but it is thought that a portion of that time was spent in preparation for the ministry. On the 16th of June, 1802, he was ordained a minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church by the Synod of Pennsylvania, convened at Reading, in that State. At the time of his ordination, he had charge of several congregations, and no doubt had been preaching for some years as a licentiate. During his residence in Pennsylvania, he married Ann Maria Seiberling, of Northampton County. As previously stated, Mr. Dill came to Germantown in the fall of 1815, and in his day occupied the most frontier position among Lutheran pastors, his mission extending over a vast region of this portion of Ohio and Indiana. Mr. Dill preached at from six to ten places, but his main congregations were at Germantown and Miamisburg, and he may be justly called the father of Lutheranism in and around these points. The first church he preached in at Germantown was the log structure erected in 1810. He was an accomplished scholar and theologian, a close and logical thinker, a refined and chaste writer, well read in ancient and modern classics, and as a speaker, clear, practical and impressive. He was connected with the Synod of Pennsylvania until the organization of the Ohio Synod in 1818, at which he was present, and thus became one, of its founders, subsequently holding different official positions in this body. Rev. Dill lived and died a poor man, being possessed of but an humble dwelling, with a few acres of ground surrounding it, and when he died, in August, 1824, he left his family little else than God's blessing. His wife survived him many years, but the remains of both now rest side by side in the Germantown Cemetery. After the death of Mr. Dill, the Germantown congregation were unable to secure a pastor until 1826, in which year they secured the services of the Rev. Andrew Henkel, of Somerset, Perry Co., Ohio, whose paternal ancestor in this country was the Rev. Gerhart Henkel, a native of Germany, who came to this land at an early period and located in Germantown, Penn. This was in the year 1740, but he died soon after his arrival, and is said to have been the first settled pastor of the Lutheran Church in Philadelphia and Germantown, Penn. The son and grandson of Gerhart Henkel, from whom, in direct line, Andrew derives his descent, were Justice and Jacob, the latter being the father of the Rev. Paul Henkel, already referred to on a previous page. Paul Henkel was born in North Carolina December 15, 1754, and served in the Revolutionary war, subsequently becoming a Lutheran minister, to which his life was ever afterward devoted. Five of his sons became Lutheran ministers under his care and instruction, viz., Ambrose, Philip, David, Charles and Andrew, the latter of whom, for more than forty years, was pastor of the Lutheran Church in Germantown, Ohio. He was born in New Market, Va., October 21, 1790, and grew up under the careful training of his pious parents. He learned the art of printing under the direction of his brother Ambrose, but after a short apprenticeship, began the study of theology under the supervision and instruction of his father and his brother Philip. He was licensed to preach the Gospel by the Synod of Pennsylvania in the year 1811, and shortly afterward came on a visit to Ohio in company with his brother Ambrose, traveling the entire distance on horseback. In 1812, Mr. Henkel came to Ohio to remain, taking charge of congregations and preaching-points in Perry, Muskingum, Morgan and adjoining counties, his field of labor extending over probably ten counties, spending fourteen years in this field, during which time he resided in Somerset, Ohio. In 1815, he married Miss Margaret Trout, daughter of George and Margaret Trout, of Somerset, Ohio. In September, 1818, he was one of the chief movers in the organization of the Synod of Ohio, but was not ordained until 1823 or 1824, remaining a licentiate up to that time.
During his residence in Somerset, Mr. Henkel trained a number of young men for the ministry, and labored hard to build up his church, laying a deep and solid foundation that subsequent religious storms failed to effect.
In the year 1826, Mr. Henkel received a call from the Germantown congregation and vicinity, which he accepted, entering upon his duties in the fall of that year, and here he spent the remainder of his life. Up to this period the services had been conducted in German, but there had been a growing demand for services conducted in the English language as well, and this Mr. Henkel, who was proficient in both tongues, hastened to comply with by introducing English services into all of the churches under his charge. A few years after his arrival in Germantown, a new brick edifice was built, which was regarded as one of the best churches in this part of the country. Like most of the pioneer preachers, Mr. Henkel engaged in other pursuits outside of his pastoral calling, for the purpose of winning a more comfortable livelihood than his salary as a minister afforded him; and thus, coming in contact with all classes, he became extensively known and appreciated as a zealous advocate of important enterprises and public improvements. He was also a leading member of the Masonic fraternity, and did much in establishing and organizing lodges. But it was in the field of controversial debate, in defense of his church and her teachings, that he attained the greatest distinction, vanquishing all opponents who had the temerity to offer him the gauge of battle.
In 1844, Mr. Henkel removed to Goshen, Ind., but in 1847 returned to Germantown: yet during his absence, the Rev. Abraham Reck, who was what was known as a New-Measure Lutheran preacher, labored in this field, retiring, however, upon the return of Mr. Henkel. During the period that Mr. Henkel had charge of the Germantown congregation, he resided a year or two in Lewisburg, Ohio, but the troubles experienced by his church through all these years, and the dissensions existing in it, even up to this date, is history foreign to this short sketch. Mr. Henkel enjoys the honor of having been one of the founders, of the first Synod in Ohio, as also of, the first theological seminary. The institution out of which have grown Capitol University and the Joint Synods, Theological Seminary, was established under his leadership and through his influence. In personal appearance, Mr. Henkel was tall, straight and erect as an Indian, his step firm and his bearing dignified. He was a man of firm resolution and wonderful tenacity of convictions, never shrinking from an open avowal or defense of his views and principles. He was of a kind and forgiving nature, always exceedingly lenient and forbearing toward the frailties of erring humanity, yet in his Lutheranism, Masonry and Democracy, he was as immovable as a rock. As a friend, companion or pastor, he was genial and affable, but in his public ministrations, he was always serious, earnest and devout. Mrs. Henkel died June 1, 1866, and about this time Mr. Henkel began to feel old age creeping on apace, and his son-in-law, Rev. J. L. Stirewalt, was called as an assistant in 1865, their charge at that time consisting of Germantown, Farmersville and Slifer's congregations. In August, 1868, Mr. Henkel married Mrs. Elizabeth Schwartzel, with whom he lived about two years in wedded life. Just two weeks before he died, he moved to Farmersville, where he passed away April 23, 1870, in his eightieth year, triumphant in his faith and calm to the last moment. His remains were interred in Germantown, where he had labored so many years, loved, honored and respected.
Mr. Henkel was the father of eleven children, seven of whom are still living. He labored in the ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ohio fifty-eight years, forty-four of which were spent in his second and last charge, and during his labors in this last field, he performed 1,003 baptisms, 877 confirmations, 495 marriages, and officiated at 683 funerals. The death of Pastor Henkel left his associate sole incumbent of the Germantown charge, but soon afterward a division was made, resulting in the formation of two pastorates, the Farmersville and Slifer congregations forming one, and the Germantown the other, the latter retaining the Rev. J. L. Stirewalt as their pastor. He was the second son of the Rev. John and Hannah Stirewalt, and was born in Waynesboro, Augusta Co., Va., April 12, 1832. His mother was a sister of the Rev. Andrew Henkel; and he therefore came of a long line of Lutheran ministers on his mother's side. His father died when our subject was quite young, leaving three sons to the care of the widowed mother, with a dying wish expressed to her that they should be consecrated to the work of the Gospel ministry. Their educational facilities being limited, their good mother became their teacher, and she lived to see all inducted into the sacred calling of their father; yea, more; she lived to see them all laid in the peaceful grave, and, soon after, was laid beside her son, Julius L., and her brother, Andrew, in the Germantown Cemetery, this event occurring in May, 1874.
In the years 1845-47, Julius L. was employed as a dry goods clerk in Winchester, Va., and from 1848-49, he attended school at the New Market Academy in the same State. He first began the study of medicine, then turned his attention to law, but this was also abandoned by him, and he then decided to enter upon the study of theology. He went to Columbus, Ohio, where he spent the years 1851-52 in the college and seminary of the Joint Synod, but, his health failing, he left Columbus in 1853 and returned to New Market, Va., where he completed his theological studies under the direction of his uncles, Rev. Ambrose Henkel and Jacob Stirewalt. In 1854, he was ordained a Deacon by the Tennessee Synod, and became an assistant to his uncle. On the 10th of September, 1854, he was married to Vandalena, daughter of the Rev. Andrew Henkel, of Germantown, Ohio, and soon after was elected Principal of the New Market Female Seminary for one year, his wife assisting him in teaching. This, together with his duties in the ministerial field, proved too laborious for his feeble constitution, and he accordingly resigned his principalship. In 1855, he accepted a call from Wayne County, Ind., where he entered upon a sphere of labor more congenial to his tastes, and better adapted to the exercise of his gifts. In 1856, he was fully ordained to the ministry, and in 1858 succeeded his brother Paul in the Lima charge, the latter having been removed by death. After a year's labor at this point, failing health compelled him to resign, and he then accepted an agency in the Southern States for the Lutheran Standard, during which time he was a regular contributor to its columns. This change not proving beneficial to his health, he resigned the agency and retired to his mother's farm in Virginia. Soon afterward, the rebellion broke out, and, living amidst the scenes of constant conflict between the armies, suffered great annoyance and loss, yet he was always a friend to the Union, but labored to alleviate distress among the suffering and wounded of both armies. In August, 1865, the English district of the Joint Synod of Ohio held its sessions in Germantown, Ohio, the Rev. Stirewalt being present as a visitor. The Germantown congregation extended to him a call as associate pastor to the Rev. Andrew Henkel, and in November of that year he moved to Germantown to divide with Mr. Henkel the labors of this charge. His ministry was very successful, and the church flourished and grew strong under his fostering care. In 1867, the old church, which had been built in 1830, was remodeled and enlarged, the execution and direction of which undertaking devolved upon Mr. Stirewalt. In 1869, the General Council appointed him as its home missionary, to travel and labor chiefly in the State of Indiana, and to this work he devoted one-half of his time, giving the other half to his charge in Germantown and vicinity. This appointment he filled several years with commendable industry and success. For years, Mr. Stirewalt had suffered from disease, yet, amidst constant ill health, he never lost his patience or cheerfulness, and when at last the end came, his death was a grand triumph for the principles which he had always advocated and practiced. He died June 16, 1872, in his fortieth year, beloved and regretted by all, admonishing with his last breath those who stood around him to be faithful, to revere and obey the Word of God. His remains were borne to the grave, attended by a vast concourse of people, who assembled in sadness to pay him the last respect of earth. The congregation remained vacant about one year, but having occasional preaching by neighboring pastors. In the fall of 1872, the congregation called the Rev. J. P. Hentz to Germantown, and in this year he paid them a visit, finally taking charge as pastor in April, 1873.
Rev. J. P. Hentz was born in the village of Benern, six miles distant from the city of Giessen, in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, May 5, 1832. He left his native land in June, 1852, for the United States, landing at Baltimore in August of that year, but removed immediately to Pennsylvania, and for several years following lived in different parts of this country. He finally concluded to study for the ministry, and, with this purpose in view, entered Pennsylvania College, Gettysburg, Penn., from where he graduated in 1861. He studied theology in the Theological Seminary of the same place, and, in the fall of 1862 entered the ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. For several years, he labored in different fields in Western Pennsylvania, and, as previously stated, took charge of the Germantown congregation in April, 1873, where he has remained up to the present. His family consists of himself, wife and six children.
What remains to be told of the history of the Lutheran Church of Germantown can be recorded in a few sentences. In July, 1867, was laid the cornerstone of the present home of worship, and by December 15 of this year, the building was so far completed as to enable the congregation to hold services in the basement room. It was dedicated May 15, 1870, but its spire was not completed until 1880, the latter costing about $1,100.
The services were, from 1809 to 1826, conducted in the German language, but since the latter year, both English and German have been used as necessity prompted. Its communicants number from three hundred to four hundred, and they Sunday school has a membership of from two hundred to two hundred and fifty.
The United Brethren Church--The history of this denomination in German Township dates back near the beginning of the present century, as it was here that the first organization west of the Alleghanies was effected. In 1805, Andrew Zeller settled in German Township, about one mile north of Germantown, on Little Twin Creek. He was an active Christian man of sound sense, deep piety and liberality, and contributed much toward the development and growth of Christianity in this valley. His house was one of the first established preaching-places among the United Brethren; the first organization of members was there effected, and that was the nucleus of the many societies now existing in this valley. For a period of twenty-five years, this denomination had its regular preaching services in private houses, and their annual and quarterly conferences, as well as their protracted meetings, were held in barns. On Brown's Run and elsewhere were also established places for the holding of camp meetings annually. Preaching-points were established at the houses of the following members: Jacob Garst, Gabriel Thomas, Walter Cox, Daniel Bruner, George Bruner, Peter Zehring, Rev. Jacob King and others.
In 1815, the Rev. Andrew Zeller was a delegate to the first General Conference of the United Brethren Church, held at Mt. Pleasant, Penn., and at that conference he was elected a Bishop. In his work throughout this portion of Ohio he was greatly assisted by such men as Bishop Christian Newcomer, Daniel Troyer, Henry Evinger, Henry Kumler, Sr., Dewalt Mechlin, John McNamar, John Russell. S. S. Spieer, William Stubbs, A. Shingledecker and John Fetterhoff.
Christian Newcomer was elected Bishop about six months prior to the death of the Rev. William Otterbein, who was the founder of the United Brethren Church, and he was formally ordained as an Elder only a few days previous to the Rev. Otterbein's death. Rev. Newcomer did noble work for his church in its first years in this part of the country, having crossed the Alleghanies nineteen times on horseback after he had passed his sixty-first year.
The Rev. Daniel Troyer came to this valley as early as 1806. He was a wise and prudent man, and a faithful Christian. His wholesome influence has extended down to the present, as many of to-day cherish fond remembrances of his life and labors. In 1819, Jacob Antrim became identified with church work in this township. He was a good singer, an ingenuous preacher, a great exhorter, had tact, energy and buoyancy of spirit, which bore him onward where stronger men would have sunk down in discouragement, and in the Miami Valley he was remarkably successful in gathering members into the church. At a later day came the Bonebrakes, six brothers, all ministers--George and Frederick preaching on Twin Circuit, which included Germantown. George and John Hoffman, S. Doubler, Thomas Thompson, Isaac Robertson, H. Surface, Jacob Emerick and others labored for this church in the Twin Valley. The first building erected for church purposes by the United Brethren denomination west of the Alleghanies was built in 1829, in Germantown. The Board of Trustees were Daniel Bruner, Jonathan Spoon, Rev. Jacob King, Andrew Zeller and George Bruner. The lot was deeded to them May 6, 1829, by Philip Gunckel and wife. The building on Warren street, occupied by the congregation for fifty years, is the original one, though somewhat enlarged and modernized in after years. Among the active ministerial workers now we find Revs. Jacob King, W. S. Rineheart, John Coons, William Davis, Francis Whitcomb, C. Plinchbaugh, John and Jacob Kemp. The growth of the Germantown society has been rapid. Its results are not limited by the township, county or State, but throughout the whole West are found many who were brought to lead Christian lives through the efforts of this society. As near results of the efficiency of this organization, we have the following churches within a radius of five miles of Germantown: Twin Chapel, Union Chapel, Brown's Run and State Road Chapels, with a membership in all of 300, while the Germantown society has 315 members, and Montgomery County twenty-five organized societies, with houses of worship, aggregating a membership of 3,000 souls. This church has from the first embraced among its membership some of the most influential families of the township and county. The present handsome and commodious house of worship, located on Cherry street, was built by the Congregation in the year 1879, at a cost of $10,000. The work was successfully carried to completion under the direction of a Board of Trustees, consisting Of William D. Emerick, O. M. Oblinger, Ezra Kemp, Joseph W. Shank and A. K. Burtner. Valuable services were rendered by Mr. Kemp in soliciting funds and giving the work his personal supervision. This church has under its care a flourishing Sabbath school, thus guarding well the interests of youth. The life and activity of this society in religious work is also evidenced by its financial exhibit. More than $1,000 is annually expended for the various church interests, $635 toward ministerial support, $120 for the support of the Sabbath school, $200 for church expenses, $100 for missions, and $100 for Presiding Elder and annual conference collections, besides occasional special donations for missions, church erection and educational work. With an increase of membership, and a moral and financial ability to do good, there is a disposition upon the part of the membership to increase the usefulness of the church, and to cultivate well this portion of the Lord's heritage.
The sketch of the United Brethren Church was furnished by Revs. Swain and Burket of said church.
The Methodist Episcopal Church--This is the youngest of all the congregations in Germantown. Ordinarily, the Methodists are the first at work in any new settlement; but here they came in last. The reason of this was that the people who settled in this township were Germans, and for many years the German was the only language spoken by them, and as this denomination for a long time confined its labors to the English-speaking portion of the people of this country, they made no effort to build up a congregation in Germantown until the English language had come into use. Somewhere about the year 1834, they began to talk of organizing a congregation. At this time, they held service regularly in Germantown, and worshiped in the United Brethren Church. They gained ground rapidly, and, in the year 1837, were able to build a house of worship, and this is the same edifice which the congregation is still occupying. It was not finished at once, and for some time services were held in the basement room. It was remodeled and enlarged in the year 1865, and is at present a commodious and comfortable place of worship. At one time, this congregation had a numerous membership, gathering them in from different sources, but at present it is numerically the weakest of all the churches in Germantown. About 1848, a part of this congregation split off and organized a Protestant Methodist Church, one of the leaders of this movement, Mr. William Gunckel, having previously purchased the building which had been erected by the New-Measure Reformed, and this church they occupied as a place of worship. For awhile they flourished, received numerous accessions and made rapid progress, but, after running a short race of seeming prosperity, they began to grow less, until, after the lapse of a few years, the organization was disbanded. Owing to these and other causes, the Methodist Episcopal Church in this township is not strong, but what it will be in the future, time will reveal. Of the pastors of this congregation, so little is known and remembered that it is impossible to give any reliable account of them. They have come and gone in such quick succession that they have made no history for themselves; and where there is no history, there remains none to be written.
There are at present Sunday schools connected with all the Christian congregations of Germantown, and, although all of them have a definite date of origin, and each its own history, they are much involved in obscurity. No written records have been preserved, and the little that is here recorded are the scattered fragments which have been gathered from a few aged people who still remain from among the first Sunday school teachers. Among these, Mrs. Elizabeth Rohrer and Mrs. M. Ayers deserve special mention, because it was they who organized the first Sunday school in Germantown, labored for it and taught in it. They have been teachers during a period of fifty years, and are still at their post, and, though approaching fast their fourscore years, they are rarely absent from their classes on Sunday, or from the teachers' meeting on weekdays. Both teach in the Lutheran Sunday school. The first Sunday school was organized in 1828, in the Lutheran Church, mainly through the agency and exertions of the two ladies just mentioned. They called a meeting, at which officers were elected and the school organized. It was the only school of the kind that existed in Germantown for some years combined all the religious elements of the community, and had no denominational character. When the school was organized, Mrs. Rohrer and Mrs. Ayers canvassed the town for funds to procure the necessary books, but their efforts met with small success. The people at that time knew little of Sunday schools, and were therefore suspicious of their character and aims. They treated the efforts of these enterprising ladies with coolness, fearing that the movement was some new innovation in the church. The Lutherans and Reformed especially mistrusted the movement, for the reason that the first Superintendent, John Pearson, was a zealous Methodist. The school, not having the hearty support of a majority of the people, did not flourish, and in 1830 was discontinued. About 1835, the subject was again agitated, and a school started in the United Brethren Church. This was a union Sunday school, controlled by the United Brethren and Methodist denominations, but the names of the founders and first teachers have passed into oblivion. From 1830 to 1844, no Sunday schools existed in either the Lutheran or Reformed Churches, but in the latter year an agent of the American Sunday School Union organized a school in the Lutheran Church, which was attended by the children of both congregations, and this school has existed up to this time, but for many years was undenominational. In what year the Reformed separated and organized a Sunday school of their own church has not been learned. Since 1865, the Sunday school in the Lutheran Church has been in a process of change, and now if is an exclusively Lutheran school. Before that year, the Superintendents had belonged to different creeds, but none were Lutherans.
It is useless to attempt to give correct statistics of the number of teachers and scholars in the different Sunday schools of the town. The basis of calculation and method of computation differ very widely from one another. The numbers reported can convey no correct idea of the real or comparative strength of these schools. This much, however, may be said of them: They stand numerically as follows: Lutheran, United Brethren, Reformed and Methodist.
It was not until the year 1821 that a law was passed authorizing taxation for school purposes, and, as for some years the school lands were comparatively unproductive, teachers' salaries had to be paid and schoolhouses had to be built by means of voluntary contributions, and this was particularly the case in German Township. The schools were here for many years simply subscription schools. There was originally a school section in German Township, but it was sold, and Section 21, Jefferson Township, was purchased with the proceeds realized. The first schoolhouse in German Township stood on the south side of Stump's Hill. It was a log structure, and had originally been erected by William Eastwood, a squatter from Kentucky, who occupied it as a dwelling. The first teacher who taught in it, and who was probably the pioneer teacher of the township, was the Rev. A. S. Man. The second schoolhouse stood on the Franklin pike, a short distance beyond the present site of Sunsbury. Like the other, it was built of logs, and for a long time received its light through greased-paper windows, glass being too expensive. To this school the children came from three or four miles distance. The first teacher's name was John McNamar, who later became a United Brethren preacher. He lived in a garret room in the schoolhouse. He was succeeded by Jacob Lesley, a Kentuckian. The teachers of this early period were men generally of inferior ability, and were able to teach nothing more than the merest rudiments of the lowest branches of a common-school education. Add to this that the schools were in operation but three months out of, twelve, and it will readily be seen that the children could not learn very much. Soon after Germantown had been laid out, schoolhouses were erected within its limits. The first of these stood on the site at present occupied by the Reformed Church, and another, erected at a somewhat later date, stood on the site of Mr. H. Bear's residence, on Mulberry street. In these two buildings the youth of the town were taught until the year 1847; while in the country, schoolhouses were built, one after another, as the wants of the people demanded. In the year 1846, the two small brick schoolhouses in town were sold, with a view to the erection of a large union school building. After its completion, all the children of Germantown were collected, and were taught in different rooms. The following gentlemen served as Principals of this school: Rev. J. Pentzer, 1852-53; F. C. Cuppy, 1853-54; J. W, Legg, 1854-55; A. Beal, 1855-56; Collins Ford, 1856-60. This building was long ago vacated by the schools, and is at present used as a planing mill. In 1860, the public schools were re-organized and placed under the management of six Directors, and in this same year, the site of the present school building was chosen by vote of the people, and the following year the structure was erected. It is three stories high, has four rooms on each floor, a rotunda in the center connecting all the rooms, and two side wings for staircases. Its cost of erection was $17,000. The gentlemen who have, since 1860, occupied the position of Principal, or what is now known as Superintendent, are: Hampton Bennet, 1860-64; he enlisting in the army, P. S. Turner filled out his unexpired term; J. M. Clemens, 1864-65; H. Bennet, 1865-66; Ambrose Temple, 1866-70; W. H. Scudder, 1870-72; A. J. Surface, 1872-74: E. C. Harvey. 1874-16: C. L. Hitchcock, 1876-78; G. C. Dasher, 1878-80; Benjamin B. Harlan, 1880-82, and is the present incumbent. The school is now in a flourishing condition, and is a credit to the town.
INSTITUTIONS OF A HIGHER GRADE
The first of these was the Germantown Academy, which was organized October 11, 1841. Its officers were: Rev. J. B. Findley, President; Dr. James Comstock, Vice President; and Jacob Koehne, Treasurer.
Rev. Jacob Pentzer was elected its first Principal. This institution continued in existence about ten years, and enjoyed a high degree of prosperity. It occupied first the basement part of the Methodist Church, and later the church on Main street. After it closed, a Miss Coffroth taught a school of higher grade in the basement of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and continued it for about three years. In 1855, J. W. Legg organized a school under the name of Germantown Academy, and conducted it successfully for about two years, he giving instruction in the English branches, and the Rev. Lewis in Latin and Greek languages and literature. In 1874, the District Synod of Ohio of the Evangelical Lutheran Church met in annual convention in Germantown, and during the convention, an agreement was entered into between the citizens of the town and the synod to establish an academy, the citizens agreeing to furnish the ground and building, and the synod to organize, conduct and support the school. A tract of land known as Stump's Hill, and embracing five acres, was purchased in the year 1875, and in the summer of the same year the foundation for the building was laid. During 1876, the structure was erected, and so far completed that school was opened in December of that year. The building and ground cost about $6,000, and the money was collected from the citizens by voluntary subscriptions. The academy had been holding school since April, 1875, in an upper room of the engine house. The institution was under the control of nine Trustees, chosen by the synod, and these elected Prof. G. C. Dasher, of Capitol University, Columbus, Ohio, as the Principal. It prospered beyond the expectations of its friends, entering on its second year with forty students. In the spring of 1877, the synod, without, previous notice, and without assigning any reason for their action, abandoned the school and thus terminated its career, much to the surprise, chagrin and disappointment of the citizens of Germantown, who had hoped to see it grow into a first-class college. The building was sold under the Sheriff's hammer, bought in by the corporation of the town, and is at present used as an armory by a militia company. The academy conducted in this building was chartered under the name of the Germantown Institute.
PLACES OF SEPULTURE
There are in German Township five places set apart for the burial of the dead--one at Schaeffer's Church; the second is on the farm of Jacob Judy, at the head of Brown's Run; the third is on Sunsbury Hill; the fourth is the graveyard in Germantown; and the fifth is Germantown Cemetery. Of these, the Sunsbury Hill Graveyard is the oldest, and was donated for the purpose by Christopher Emerick, on whose farm it is located. The first persons who died in the Twin Valley were buried here, and in it rest the remains of many of the pioneers. When Germantown Cemetery was laid out, many persons removed their dead from the older burial places to the new cemetery, and thus many bodies were taken from Sunsbury Hill, most of which were found petrified. The graveyard in Germantown is next in age, and contains one acre of ground, which was purchased from Philip Gunckel in 1809. It was open to all who desired to bury in it except suicides and murderers. At the time of its establishment, it was outside the village limits, but as the town grew it came to be situated in the midst of residences, and therefore objectionable to the majority of the people as a burial-place. Much trouble was caused by those who still desired to use it as a graveyard. A few private individuals bought a tract of land on the east side of Twin Creek for a cemetery, but, after a few interments, it was found subject to inundation during high water, and was therefore abandoned. Finally, after much bickering, a cemetery association was formed July 1, 1849, a constitution adopted, and the following officers chosen: John F. Kern, William McKeon, John Stump, Samuel Rohrer, Jacob Eminger, Jacob Koehne, Frederick Kimmerling, John D. Gunckel and Henry S. Gunckel as Directors; John Stump, President; William McKeon, Vice President; Henry S. Gunckel, Secretary; John F. Kern, Treasurer. At a meeting held July 3, 1849, a committee was appointed to select suitable ground, and at a subsequent meeting, the purchase of a ten-acre tract, located one-half mile west of town and owned by J. Koehne, was recommended by this committee. At a meeting held August 1, 1849, the Directors agreed to purchase the said tract at the price of $100, per acre, and this was subsequently effected, and the tract laid out for cemetery. In 1861, a dwelling house for the sexton was erected on the ground, and in 1878 an addition of over eight acres was purchased on the north side, from the farm of the Rev. P. C. Prugh.
This cemetery is at present almost the exclusive place of burial in the township. In the graveyard in town, no dead have been interred since 1860, and in the remaining ones, only an occasional burial. Germantown Cemetery is a handsome resting-place for the dead, being nicely planted with trees and dotted with beautiful monuments. In all these cemeteries lie buried the remains of the fathers and founders of this township, whose names and graves should be honored and esteemed as sacred.
NEWSPAPERS AND PRINTING
The first newspaper published in Germantown was called the Germantown Gazette, and was started in 1826 by Conrad Schaeffer, a German, from Alsatia, France. He was a pioneer newspaper man, and, previous to his advent here, had published papers in Lancaster and Canton, Ohio. One-half of the Gazette was printed in German, and one-half in the English language. He remained here but one year, then went to Hamilton, Ohio, and, in partnership with John Woods, established the Hamilton Intelligencer. In 1839, George Walker, a German, came to Germantown, and, in partnership with Dr. Espich, began printing the Laws of Ohio in the German language. They issued several volumes, but found few purchasers, and the enterprise proved a failure, and their labor and investment a total loss. This was the only attempt at the publication of books in Germantown.
The next attempt in this line was made by William Gunckel in 1845, in partnership with Moses B. Walker, but the latter soon withdrew from the firm, and Gunckel continued the work alone. He began doing job work, and, after an experience of three years in job printing, started the Germantown Gazette, which was a large-sized, well-conducted weekly journal. It was regarded as a good family newspaper, and hence enjoyed a large circulation. In 1849, Mr. Gunckel disposed of this paper to Joseph Reeder and Josiah Oblinger. The firm of Reeder & Oblinger changed the name to Western Emporium, but, after a two-years' trial, they sold out to Solomon Miller and Henry Brooks, which partnership continued until 1854, in which year Brooks retired and Miller became sole proprietor. It was in 1854 that the question of building a railroad was agitated, and work was soon begun on the road, but, after a large amount of money was expended, the scheme fell through and was abandoned. Imbued with the excitement which the proposed railroad created, Miller changed the name of his paper to Twin Valley Locomotive. About this time, the Know-Nothing craze struck the country, and, the railroad failing, Miller put his locomotive on the Know-Nothing track, but, after one year's trial, it ran into the ground and became a wreck. The Twin Valley Railroad, the Twin Valley Locomotive and the Know-Nothing party all "played out" about the same time, and all three left behind them an equally ugly stench. What was saved of the Locomotive from the wreck was sold to a man named Pepper, who changed its name and advocated the principles of the Democratic party; but, not meeting with sufficient encouragement, its publication was discontinued after a year or two. In 1855, the same Miller who had previously failed, started the American Republican, which was strongly partisan in its political views. Miller issued this paper until 1857, when he moved his press to Kansas, there to take a hand in the contest then raging in that quarter. The press owned by Pepper was purchased by J. F. Meyers in 1858, who this year started the Germantown Independent, which he operated until 1860, when he sold out to James Cumback, who continued the publication of the Independent until 1863, when he moved his press to Shelbyville, Ind., and there published the Shelbyville Republican.
Soon after Cumback left Germantown, Cyrus Heister and James Gray began doing job work on a second-hand press which they had purchased, finally issuing a small paper. In 1869, they disposed of their interests to C. W. Dunifer, who started the Dollar Times, which he sold in 1874. The Germantown Press was established in 1875 by its present editor and proprietor, F. D. Harkrider, who has exhibited much tact and energy, and made the Press one of the live, newsy papers of the Miami Valley.
The above account would be incomplete without the mention of the name of Lewis Dill, who has been a compositor on every paper that has been published in Germantown, and who can still be found at his post in the office of the Bulletin, in Miamisburg. He is the son of the Rev. John Casper Dill, and came to Germantown with his father in 1815. He learned the printer's trade when quite young, and, though approaching his fourscore years, his health is robust and his mental faculties are as vigorous as ever. He remembers as much as any man now living of Germantown history, his position as printer affording him opportunities of becoming familiar with current events, and with men and their doings.
The distillery of D. Rohrer & Co., located one mile southwest of Germantown, was established in 1864, but was the legitimate offspring of the distillery built by his father, Christian Rohrer, about 1847, and which was operated by him for many years. There David learned the art of distilling, finally succeeding his father in the business. The present distillery has a capacity for manufacturing daily thirty barrels of choice whisky, which has an enviable reputation all over the country. The buildings cost $60,000, and the capital invested, exclusive of real estate, is $150,000. It employs thirty workmen, fattens about 400 head of cattle and 1,200 hogs annually, and the daily expenses of running the establishment amount to about $1,150. Mr. Rohrer's partner is Charles Hofer, of Cincinnati, who attends to the sale of the liquor, while he gives the manufacturing interests his personal supervision.
The manufacture of cigars has been a leading business of this town for many years, and the tobacco from which they are made is almost entirely produced in German Township, a small quantity only of Connecticut and Havana tobacco being used for flavoring purposes. More than three million cigars have been annually manufactured in Germantown, employing a large corps of workmen, clerks and salesmen, the Government revenue amounting to over $180,000 annually. The revenue collected by the Government from the industrial establishments of this township have amounted, during One year, to $545,000--quite a snug sum for Uncle Sam's money drawer to receive from one small township.
The sash, door and blind factory of Holcomb Snyder was begun by him in 1875. He employs six or eight hands, is a first-class mechanic, and enjoys an extensive patronage.
THE LEGAL PROFESSION
John Kelso, who came to Germantown in 1828, was the first of Blackstone's disciples who located in this town. In connection with his practice, he taught school from necessity, and in 1836 removed to Iowa. A lawyer by the name of Wright lived a year or two in Germantown during Kelso's time, but, unable to eke out a living, he left the town in discouragement. In 1841, Moses B. Walker made his appearance in Germantown, and had charge of an academy for the first two, years, after which he was admitted to the bar and began practicing law. For some years he was in partnership with H. V. R. Lord, who was an able lawyer. From 1848-49, Mr. Walker held the seat of a Senator in the State Legislature, and in 1861 he raised the Thirty-first Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, of which he was appointed Colonel. At the battle of Chickamauga, he was wounded, and soon after was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General of volunteers for gallant services. When the war closed, Gen. Walker went to Texas. From there he returned to Ohio, and began his law practice in Findlay, at which place he still resides.
G. F. Walker was a nephew of Gen. Walker; practiced law in Germantown previous to the rebellion; became Captain of a company of his uncle's regiment; served throughout the war, after which he abandoned law and entered the ministry, and is now preaching in Iowa.
J. Sharts opened a law office in Germantown in 1868, remained a few years, and then removed to Kansas. William Shuey, a native of Dayton, came shortly after Sharts left, in order to supply his place, but, after a residence of a year or two, he returned to Dayton.
Adam Frank is at present attending to a such legal business as Germantown requires, and is giving entire satisfaction to his patrons.
THE MEDICAL PROFESSION
Dr. Boss is the first physician who is known to have practiced medicine in German Township. He was a German, who came from Kentucky to this township in 1805 and resided with John Pauly, who lived where Sunsbury now stands. He died in 1807, and was buried on Sunsbury Hill.
Adam and Michael Zeller came from Pennsylvania in 1805; opened a drug store in 1824, and, although not regular physicians, they gave medical advice and practiced the healing art. To Dr. Adam Zeller we are indebted for the discovery of extracting oil from the hickory nut, which, in those days, was believed to possess great healing qualities.
Dr. George W. Miller came to this place in 1816. He was a German by birth, a fine classical scholar and a good physician. The practice of medicine not proving remunerative in this field, after a residence of three years he returned to Pennsylvania.
Dr. Emanuel Rusk was a single man, who located here in 1820, and died in 1823. He had been a Surgeon in the army of Napoleon the Great, but nothing further is known of his history, and he sleeps in an unmarked grave in the Lutheran Graveyard of Germantown.
Dr. C. G. Espich is the first physician who acquired a long and permanent residence in Germantown. He came here, a single man, about the same time as Dr. Rusk made his appearance, but, soon after, was married to Elizabeth, youngest daughter of Philip Gunckel. He was a popular and successful practitioner, and died November 24, 1853. Dr. Brasacker was a native German, a partner of Dr. Espich, and practiced here from 1824 to 1827.
Dr. M. Trout began practice here in 1831; removed soon after to Indiana; returned in 1837, and has lived here ever since.
Drs. Bossler and Pennel located in Germantown in 1835, remaining but a short time.
Dr. Watson, soon after the last two left, made his appearance, but, having no love for his calling, his success was indifferent, and he left after a few years' residence.
Dr. James Comstock was a native of Connecticut, who located in this place in 1838. He lived and practiced in Germantown twenty-two years, and had a previous practice of nearly thirty years. He was a man of great energy, and was thoroughly devoted to his profession. He was identified with the Methodist Church, and died in 1860, in the seventy-eighth year of his life.
Dr. James Lawder began his practice here in 1836; was a son-in-law of Dr. Espich, and died in 1849. During a part of this period, he was in partnership with Dr. Espich.
Dr. W. B. McElroy practiced medicine in Germantown from 1843 to 1847, then removed to Franklin, Ohio, where he is still residing.
Dr. J. E. Donnellon came in 1853; was a partner of Dr. Espich's until the latter's death, since which time he has continued alone, and enjoyed a lucrative practice.
Dr. Daniel Eckert practiced his profession in Germantown from 1854 to 1856, then moved to Indiana.
Drs. Longenecker and Miller were here from 1850 to 1860.
Dr. J. J. Antrim commenced his practice in Germantown in 1857, and is giving special attention to cancer patients.
Dr. John Robinson located here in 1869. In 1875, he was elected County Clerk, and re-elected in 1878, living in Dayton during his official career. He has now resumed the practice of his profession in Germantown.
Dr. J. W. Cline began practice here in 1869, and has since continued his professional duties at this place.
Dr. J. A. Brown opened his office in 1878, and has a good practice.
Sketches of Drs. Trout, Donnellon, Antrim, Robinson and Brown will be found elsewhere in this work.
The following prominent dentists practiced here: J. Jones, from 1836 to 1841; G. W. and William F. Gunckel, for several years; John H. Payn, from 1857 to 1864; V. B. Stephens, since 1866; and W. M. Hineman, who was associated for several years with Dr. Stephens, then removed to Indiana.
A number of other dentists came from time to time, but they did not acquire permanent residence, and were merely squatters in this dental field.
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE
There has been some difficulty experienced in obtaining a complete list of these officials and their time of service. The following, however, is all that can now be gathered of the names and dates for German Township magistrates:
Philip Gunckel, from 1805 to 1812; Henry Duckwall, John S. Schenck, 1813-19; G. W. Miller, 1816; George Rowe, 1819-1840; W. Schwartz, John McClure, 1826-1835; William C. Emerick, 1835-1850; Jacob Emminger, 1850-58; William Gunckel, Christopher Taylor, Daniel Izor, John F. Kern, John Zehring and Adam Frank, the last of whom is the Mayor of Germantown, and a respected, popular official.
German Township has many citizens who have done much toward the growth and development of its best interests, whose names will not appear in this list, for to give every name would require more space than we have at our disposal, would make very monotonous reading, and history would not gain much by it. In the following are the names of those whom we have selected as the men who have done most to build up Germantown, outside of the pioneer fathers:
Col. John Stump, born in Berks County, Penn., March 29, 1794, came to this township with his father, Leonard, in 1805, and served in the war of 1812. He married Maria C. Emerick, daughter of Michael Emerick, and followed farming for some years. He erected a residence and grist-mill one mile southwest of Germantown, at present the property of Christian Rohrer, and there kept a kind of hotel. He raised a family of five daughters and one son. About, 1840, he engaged in mercantile pursuits, which he followed about twenty years in Germantown. He then sold out, and established the Germantown Exchange Bank, which, in 1863, was merged into the First National Bank, of which Col. Stump served as Cashier until 1869, when he retired to private life. He was a life-long adherent of the Lutheran Church, and died April 10, 1875.
Col. Michael Gunckel, the second son of Philip Gunckel, was born in Berks County, Penn., September 22, 1787, and came to this township with his father in 1804. He married Barbara Shuey, daughter of Martin Shuey, who bore him a large family, among whom are William, Lewis B., Henry S. and Michael S. Gunckel, the latter of whom raised a company during the rebellion, and was promoted to the rank of Major. He erected the building now occupied by John Zehring, in which he conducted his business. During the war of 1812, he served as a Captain in the army; was afterward brevetted as Colonel, and was always a prominent, influential and useful man. He also served one term in the State Legislature, and died September 17, 1857.
Capt. John C. Negley came to the Twin Valley from Kentucky in 1808, but was a native of Pennsylvania, born in Cumberland County July 21, 1783. He removed to Mercer County, Ky., with his parents, when but twelve years of age, and there remained until his removal to this county. He was married to Mary Shuey, daughter of Martin Shuey, October 11, 1811, and settled east of Germantown, on land which he and his father, Philip, had previously entered. Early in 1812, Mr. Negley entered the service as Second Lieutenant in Capt. Sunderland's company, and was stationed at Greenville, Ohio. After the war closed, he was chosen as Captain of a militia company, and held many official positions, such as Township Trustee and County Commissioner. During his whole, life, he was active and prominent in township affairs, until old age and feeble health impaired his usefulness. Capt. Negley died in his eightieth year, leaving; a widow, who still survives him. His children are Mrs. Henry Hoffman, Mrs. Abia Zeller, William H. Negley, Mrs. J. S. Artz and Mrs. William H. Schaeffer.
Tobias Van Skoyk was of Dutch descent, and came here from Franklin about the year 1812, He was for some year engaged in the saddler's business, and later in the dry goods trade. He became wealthy, was a man of enterprise, and took an active part in building up the town. His only child married Gen. Moses B. Walker.
Charles O. Wolpers was born in Germany in 1795, and came to Germantown in 1817. He opened a store near Gunckel's Mill, on a small scale, but, after a few years, erected a more commodious building on the lot at present occupied by Wolper & Oblinger's dry goods store. About 1824, he married Louisa Schwartz, and died in December, 1868.
Henry S. Gunckel was the second son of Col. Michael Gunckel, and was born in Germantown September 20, 1810. Early in life, he entered upon mercantile pursuits, and for some years clerked in the store of Col. John Stump, whose daughter, Sarah, he married in 1834, and soon after became a partner of Col. Stump's. He early became prominent in public affairs, being a clear and forcible speaker, and taking a warm interest in State and national politics. He was a well-read man, familiar with the history and laws of his country, courteous in manners, possessed of rare conversational powers, and enjoyed universal popularity in the community where he lived. In 1842, he was elected to the State Legislature, and re-elected in 1844, serving his constituents with entire satisfaction. During the last twenty years of his life, he gave his attention to the purchase and sale of leaf tobacco. He died February 8, 1873, and thus terminated the career of one of Germantown's most eminent and useful citizens, a man who was beloved by all who knew him in life. His only son is Patrick H. Gunckel, of Dayton, Ohio.
Besides those mentioned, the names of the following are given as men who did their share in building up the moral as well as the material interests of Germantown: Augustus Schwartz, George Rowe, Jacob Emminger, Jacob Koehne, Samuel Rohrer, Lewis Schenck, Lewis Hasselman, Albert Stein, Elias Ligget. These were all worthy and highly influential men, who, by the part which they have acted, exerted influences which will not soon die. They have aided in giving direction to the affairs and in shaping the character of the people who at present reside in this township, and for that reason their names deserve a place in the pages of its history. To the above list might have been added the names of other men equally worthy of mention, some of whom are still living, but the want of space compels us to close the list by saying that all are men who do honor to the pioneer fathers of the Twin Valley.
STATISTICS OF THE YEAR 1881
According to the last official census, the population of Germantown is 1,618; of Sunsbury, 135; and of the township outside the corporate limits, 1,698. Germantown has four public buildings, valued at $20,000; four churches, at $21,150; and a public school building, at $8,500. The township outside the town contains twelve public schoolhouses, valued at $13,671, and three churches, at $1,300. There are 24,132 acres of land in German Township, valued at $204,703. The above valuations are those of the Assessor, and are considerably below their real value.
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