From The History of Montgomery County, Ohio by W. H. Beers & Company 1882

Brookville Historical Society, Inc. 2003

MADISON TOWNSHIP

On the 7th of March, 1809, this subdivision was formed from the townships of Jefferson and Randolph, and was named in honor of President Madison. Its boundary lines were changed in the year 1820, and have not since been altered, namely: On the north by Randolph, on the east by Harrison, on the south by Jefferson, and on the west by Perry Township. In size, it is a full township, comprising thirty-six square miles, or 23,040 acres of land, and is known as Township 4, Range 5. The face of the country, generally speaking, is level, sloping to the east, in which direction flows the main body of Wolf Creek, the principal stream within its borders, draining a large scope of county, and, on entering the township, assumes great proportions. The land is broken in some portions, and in others a little hilly, the latter being confined to the northeastern and northwestern tracts. Wolf Creek and Little Bear Creek, with their tributaries, abundantly water this section of the county.

The soil is fertile and well adapted for agricultural purposes. The bottom lands of Wolf Creek, extending for probably a half-mile on either side, are very rich, being composed of that black, mucky soil characteristic of such regions. The soil of the higher country is of a clayey nature. One of the peculiar features of this subdivision is noticed in its topography, there being a ridge of limestone (made up in part of sandstone) extending across its domain from northwest to southeast, averaging in width nearly two miles Along its course are numerous stone quarries, some of which have been extensively worked. The most important and valuable are the Miller and List quarries--the former, located south of Amity, producing the best stone (a brown limestone) for building purposes, and the latter, situated south of Trotwood, furnishing the best flagging for paving uses. Advantage was taken of the abundance of stone in this region by the early settlers, as will be seen further along. The timber is of that kind and variety usually knows to the character of the soil. On the bottom lauds are oak, sugar, hickory, blue ash and walnut, the latter two prevailing. On the higher and poorer lands grew sugar and beech. The Toledo, Delphos & Burlington Railroad crosses the northeastern portion of the township, and the Dayton & Western runs diagonally through the center from the southeast to the northwest corner.

The inhabitants are composed almost exclusively of the German extraction, who are industrious, frugal and honest. In politics, the majority of these people are Democrats. The total number of votes polled at the November election, 1880, was 470--Democratic, 318; Republican, 158. The Democratic majority for the Legislature in 1841 was 51, and the majority for Governor in 1842 was 58. The population of the township, as given by the census of 1880, is 2,312.

Throughout the township may be found many evidences of that mysterious nation who dwelt in this fair land long before the Indian made his appearance, and of whose antiquity nothing is known but that little which is gleaned by archaeologists from these curious mounds, fortresses and other earthworks scattered over the country, and, as footprints of time, showing the great antiquity of the people whose hands formed them, as well as their warlike nature and mechanical skill. These works are sometimes of monstrous size, and built of sand or gravel, in some cases, in localities where neither sand nor gravel can be obtained within a mile of where they were built. Of these people, or the various theories advanced as to their customs, etc., we have not now to deal; suffice it to say that the works of their hands still exist, and that the Indians knew nothing of them further than that they had among them legends handed down through countless generations to the effect that a mighty and warlike people lived here, who built houses, worked metals, and were otherwise as the white men are to-day, and were driven away by their forefathers. One of these mounds stands on the south side of the railroad, one and three-fourths miles below Trotwood, on Stephen Ullery's farm. It was five feet in height and thirty feet in diameter. Growing out of its exact center there was a scrubby tree, three feet in diameter, its roots occupying the whole mound, and extending through it to the ground below, as was discovered by Dr. Shanks, who, with the aid of two horses, scoops, shovels and men, made an extensive excavation of it for scientific purposes. His search was rewarded by finding, at various depths, six or eight human skeletons, with their feet concentrating in the center. Under them there were quantities of charcoal in a perfect state of preservation. There is another mound about a mile east of Trotwood, composed entirely of sand so far as has yet been discovered, but no excavation has been made. Another is to be seen in Maj. Count's woods, one and a half miles southeast of Trotwood, and still another on the farm of William Patton. The latter is the largest in the township, being fifteen feet high. They are built mostly of sand, but one of them has some fine gravel mixed in with the sand. The last three of these have not yet been fully explored, but it is to be hoped that they will soon be examined, and the secrets, if any, that are buried in their bosoms may be brought to light for the benefit of science.

PIONEERS

"They came to the West when the forest stood
Mighty, and solemn and grand,

And built their homes in the shade of the wood,
That covered our Western land,

When the blue, wide waters, crystal clear,
Flowed onward, swift and free,

As the unchained love of the pioneer
Gushed forth for liberty."


From tradition has been handed down the name of John Williams as one of the first settlers in the territory now comprising Madison Township; that in 1800, Mr. Williams lived on land on Wolf Creek, which, later, was entered by him. He became a prominent and influential man. David Ward was another, who, with his family, settled on Wolf Creek, in the same vicinity, in the year 1800, and, on the opening of the land offices, entered that tract of land. In 1801, Leonard Wolf and family left Lancaster County, Penn., for a home west of the Alleghanies, and, after several weeks of slow travel, reached the country now known as Montgomery County, settling in Jefferson Township. Here they remained a few years, then crossed over and entered Section 24, in what is now Madison Township. A saw-mill was erected in this section and carried on by one of his sons in an early day. About the year 1802, John H. Williams, a native of Dover, Del., settled on Wolf Creek, where he entered a tract of land, upon which he lived until 1812, when he removed into what is now Harrison Township, in the history of which more will be said of him. Let not the reader confound this man Williams with the one mentioned above, for they are different men. Among these advance guards is classed the name of Peter Dietrick, who, with his family, composed of his wife, Barbara, and eight children, settled this same year in Section 1, entering the land. In 1803 were added to the thinly settled region the Ullerys, including three large families, hailing from the Keystone State, county of Huntingdon--Samuel, Isaac and John. Samuel married a Gripe, and to them were born nine children, namely, Elizabeth, Barbara, Sue, Ester, Sarah, Catharine, Hannah, John and Samuel. He entered the northwest quarter of Section 35; Isaac entered the northeast quarter of Section 34, and John the south half of Section 35. Isaac's family included his wife, Barbara, and five children, namely, Elizabeth, Ester, David, John and Stephen. Valuable accessions were made to the little colony in the year 1804, when came the families of George and Jacob Kunz. These, too, were Pennsylvania's sons, and men of means, especially the former who speculated extensively in land, and in an early period possessed several thousand acres in the county. George entered Section 28, and there lived in a palace, comparatively speaking, for in those days few were the places of abode other than the rude cabin with its clapboard roof, held with weight poles, its chimney of sticks and mud, and the puncheon floor, and door on large wooden hinges. Yet these humble but comfortable and substantial cabins were their homes, where bright eyes, rosy cheeks and lusty frames were possessed by the inmates, and hard work and happiness and sweet contentment reigned supreme. The house to which we refer was erected in 1808, of stone quarried on that section. It was two stories high and neatly finished, being then "the house" of all this region. It is still standing, and is now occupied by Esquire I. Gulick, one of the substantial farmers of the present. George Kunz was a native of Berks County, Penn., where he married Elizabeth Gripe, and to them were born the following children: John, Jacob, Daniel, David, Joseph, Polly Elizabeth, Ester, Susan and Hannah. The other brother, Jacob, entered portions of Sections 16 and 17. He was the grandfather of J. T. Kunz, now a worthy and respected citizen of the township, in which he has held several offices of honor and trust, and, in the stormy days of 1861-65, was chosen Major of the Third Regiment of Montgomery County militia. The year 1805 witnessed additions to the settlement in the persons of the Shiveleys, embracing, several families--Christian and Susana, with seven children--Christian, Jacob, Daniel, John, David, Elizabeth and Susana--the boys all being married except David and John. They left their Pennsylvania homes with high hopes of finding beyond the Ohio their share of the unquestioned wealth slumbering in the wilds of that land. Going by wagon from Huntingdon County to McKeesport, where they boarded a flat-boat, called a "broad-horn," thence to Cincinnati, and by wagon to the Wolf Creek settlement, where they were hailed with joy, and, with their families, clustered around the little nucleus already formed, adding to its strength and social comfort, as well as facilitating labor. They were industrious, and of that hardy class coming from the Keystone State--large of stature and well developed physically and equal to the occasion of surmounting the many obstacles and braving the dangers incumbent upon those destined to the peopling of a new country. Christian, Jr., married Susan Gripe, and on their arrival, the family was composed of four. He entered the southeast quarter of Section 27, and there built his cabin, and the work of clearing began. Daniel settled on the tract just west, entering 160 acres; David, on the section adjoining on the east, entering the same amount of land; John and his father, in Jefferson Township, entering Sections 3 and 4 respectively. The father was a native of Maryland, and his father of Switzerland. Christian, Jr., was a very useful man among the colonists; his strength and activity were excelled by none, giving him precedence over all at log-rollings and raisings, on which occasions he was generally chosen Captain. He was of an ingenious turn, being a "jack of all trades," and serving as the cabinet-maker and undertaker of the neighborhood; also as the physician, being a natural bone-setter. Up to this period, there was no grist-mill in this section of the country, and the pioneers were obliged to go to Middletown for their grinding. The grain was conveyed to and from the mill, of course, in a manner in keeping with the times. Two horses were made use of, one for the rider and the other to carry the grain, which was fastened on securely by means of straps or thongs, and the horse led through the unbroken paths of the dense forest by the rider of the other. On those journeys an occasional bear was seen prowling about, and the yelp of the wolf heard, which, doubtless, tended to quicken the steps of the pioneer's horse. Christian, Jr., resided in his first rudely built cabin until 1811, when he contracted with David Baker, of Dayton, to build him a two-story stone house for the sum of $100. It was in war times, and mechanics had but little to do, hence the exceedingly low price. There was a good cellar dug and a fine house erected, covered with lap shingles; the stone were taken from the quarry in Section 28. It is now standing, being occupied by David H. Oliver. In this house was born Owen G. Shiveley, a well-to-do farmer of Jefferson Township, and one of the thinking and reading men of the county, who is highly respected by its citizens. In the year 1805 also came from Huntingdon County, Penn., John Gripe and family; his wife was Catharine Wolf, and their children as follows: Susan, Mary, Elizabeth, Hannah, John, Stephen and David. He entered 160 acres of land in Section 26. During the same year, John Wogaman, Sr., and family, emigrated from Somerset County of the State thus far supplying so abundantly this locality with her sturdy yeomanry, and entered land in the vicinity of the village of Amity. Of the five children of this household, but one survives to rehearse to his children and children's children the events of the days of yore--by name, "Uncle John Wogaman," as he is known far and near, who, upward of sixty years ago, left the paternal roof and made happy the heart of Mary Burkett. This venerable couple were, until recently separated by the death of Mrs. Wogaman, the pioneer twain of the township, each close on to the goal of fourscore years and ten of well-spent time, having resided where, more than half a century ago, they reared the log cabin on the brow of a hill overlooking a beautiful stream, the gentle murmur of whose rippling waters these many years comforted them in their lonely moments. Here together these aged folks have shared life's cares and joys, and here, too, were they permitted to pass together the evening of their lives. Her death occurred March 2, 1881.

This same year, from Frankstown, Penn., came John Vaniman and family, and entered Section 33 and portions of Sections 28 and 29. His wife's name was Catharine, and their children were John, Jacob, Catharine, Betsy, Anna and Polly. The father died on the home farm in 1823, and his remains were interred on the homestead.

Two more of Pennsylvania's sons resisted no longer the entreaties of friends and former neighbors in the old Keystone State, but now, in the far-off West, and in the year of 1807, found them tinkering up the wagon and preparing generally to join the tide of emigration moving westward. These were the Florys--Joseph and Emanuel. They came from Somerset County, Emanuel entering 160 acres of land in the western part of the township. In 1810, the colony was augmented by the family of David John, coming from Little Cove, Franklin Co., Penn., in which State, in the year 1785, Mr. John and Eleanor Powell were married, and became, prior to emigrating to Ohio, the parents of thirteen children. In the spring of the year above mentioned, they settled in the green woods, entering land near the school section. During the war of 1812, Mr. John died, leaving this pioneer woman in a new country, with the charge of a large family, to encounter all the privations of such a situation as best she could; but, being a woman of hale constitution, industrious and economical habits, with a confiding trust in God, she was enabled to bring up her family respectably, and see them settled in life. She was a religious woman, and, on coming here, became one of the constituent members of the Wolf Creek Baptist Church, and the only one, at her death (1848). At this time, her own children were thirteen; grandchildren, seventy-one; great-grandchildren, thirty-seven--making her descendants 121. She was familiarly known as "Mother John." She was extensively loved and respected by both rich and poor.

This year also came Benjamin John and wife, Rhoda, the former of Welsh and the latter of English descent, from Fayette County, Penn., coming by way of Cincinnati, where they landed in April, thence traveling by horseback to the vicinity of the village of Trotwood, where he entered land, and there died in the year 1814, from exposure in the war of 1812, in which he served. Mr. John was born May 19, 1786, and his wife April 18 of the same year; she died in 1835. Joseph John, now a resident of Van Buren Township, who was born in this county in 1813, is their son.

The spring of 1811 brought another from Pennsylvania, John Olinger and family, settling near what is now Post Town, on the John Vaniman farm, entering the southwest quarter of Section 22. The land patent, which is now in existence, was granted by President Madison, and bears date of 1812, given over his signature. Olinger was united in marriage, before leaving the East, with Eve Hay, and to them were born eight children-two in Pennsylvania, and the others in the State of their adoption. The stone house, two stories in height, now occupied by John Vaniman, another model piece of architecture of "ye olden times," was built by Father Olinger in the year 1816. Beneath the sod of the Bowman Burying-Ground rest his remains.

Virginia responded to the call from the West, and sent forth a son in the fall of 1811, David Heck and family coming to join former acquaintances. He settled on eighty acres of land formerly entered by his father-in law, Jacob Spitler, situated in the southwest corner of the township. Heck built his cabin and cleared some two or three acres, but, becoming dissatisfied, and likely a little timid at the aspect of things--it being a period when numerous reports were in circulation as to all manner of depredations that would be perpetrated by the Indians during the war--left for his native State during the winter. However, he again returned to his cabin in 1818, and in this vicinity ended his days, living a life of usefulness through the long period of fourscore years. His children were Samuel, John D., David L., Annie, Elizabeth, Susan, Polly and Andrew. Mr. Heck was a very stout and active man, and, with his sons who settled around him, cleared much land. On his way to this locality in the year 1811, he was offered, when passing through Dayton, the corner lot where the Phillips House now stands for a fine gray horse, included in his team. Sebastian Heeter and family came from Huntingdon County, Penn., in 1814, and purchased 160 acres of land in Section 32, of John Wertz. Heeter married Elizabeth Rarich, and to them were born fifteen children. The descendants of this couple were over one hundred, many of whom settled in this township and county, and did much toward converting the former wilderness into the cultivated fields of the present. The father died in 1846, and the mother in 1867, the latter reaching the remarkable age of ninety years. A family of Garbers came with Heeter. The Stutsmans and Martins were early settlers. Prior to the year 1813, from Bedford County, Penn., came the Metzgers; among them were the families of Jacob, Andrew and Henry; also the Whitmores and Brumbaughs and Wagners were here in an early day. It appears of record that among those entering land prior to 1812 in what was then Madison Township were the following named: Robert Wilson, Philip Bowser, James Bowman, John Miller, John Gripe, Henry Hess, Jacob Kunz, John Miller, Daniel Murtin. Adam Replogel, Daniel Miller, Martin Wibricht, David Gripe, William Bowser, Leonard Wolf, J. Ditmer, George Kunz, William Bruce, Andrew Hood, Peter Krumine, Ephraim Owen, Benjamin Owen, Jacob Shiveley, Stephen Ullery, William Wilson.

We here end a brief sketch of some of the early settlers, who have nearly all been called from their toils and privations to final rest. Peace be to their memories. May the present generation preserve inviolate and carry to perfection the sacred heritage bequeathed by them.

EARLY ENTERPRISE

In this, as in nearly all newly settled countries, the industries dependent upon trade were slow of development. Pioneer wants were proportionate to their abilities to satisfy them. Milling was principally done on Wolf Creek One of the early mills--and this appellation is scarcely applicable to it--was erected on a branch of this stream, in Section 18, by a Mr. Fryman, but it was nothing more than what was in those days styled a "corn-cracker." Another of the ancient mills was the Isaac Hyer, later known as the Weybright Mill, which stood in that vicinity; and still another was the old grist, saw mill and still house combined, erected about the year 1824, in Section 15. "To be or not to be" seemed with this enterprise a question for several years. Its construction was commenced by Daniel Weymeyer, but ere the frame-work was up, he was overtaken by misfortune, and the mill sold at Sheriff's sale, and purchased by Jerry John, who added a little toward its completion, roofing it and placing one set of chopping stones--the old gray, or nigger-heads; then it went into the hands of Amos Higgins, who pushed it to completion, giving the neighborhood the benefit of a good mill. This mill, though somewhat remodeled, is still standing and in operation, now known as the Trotwood Mill, carried on by Fred Herter. A carding and fulling mill was operated in Section 14 by Joseph Ullery, and one of the very early saw-mills by Leonard Wolf. Samuel Ullery was probably the first blacksmith in the township. His shop stood on the northwest quarter of Section 35. Blacksmiths of later years were Jacob Kimmel and John Marker.

CHURCHES

The earliest religious societies in this section were those of the German Baptists and the old Regular Baptists. Of the latter we know but little--merely that such an organization existed in the early settlement of the town ship. In the pioneer cabins and barns, the people of old met and raised their voices in unison and praise in magnifying the name of their Great Preserver. The names of Jacob Miller and David Bowman, a sketch of whose lives is given in the history of Jefferson Township, were early Elders in the German Baptist Church. The first meeting-house in the township was built by this denomination in about the year 1832. It was a brick building, and stood in Section 12. Joseph Garber was then the Elder in charge. This church, in the course of time, was deemed too small, and a larger one was erected, which, when about ready for occupancy, was destroyed by fire, but was soon rebuilt, just over the line in Harrison Township. The Christian Church was organized with five members, namely, Solomon Bookwalter, Joseph Smallwood and wife and Isaac Piatt and wife, in August, 1848. The following year, a small brick church was erected in Section 9, which was dedicated by Rev. Isaac N. Walter, the regular pastors being Caleb Worley and Thomas Wells. Here they worshiped until the building of the new church at Trotwood, in 1872, costing $4,000. The lot upon which this building stands was purchased of William Worley. The present minister is Rev. B. F. Vaughm, and membership, eighty-three. The former building of this sect was sold in 1872, to a congregation known as the "Albrecht Church," who occasionally hold services there. Many of the people in this region worship at other churches in the adjoining townships.

SCHOOLS

The pioneers early began to realize the importance of giving attention to the training and education of their children, and, as soon as they made proper provision for more pressing wants, began the erection of the rude log house as their temple of learning. We are unable to give the first house built in the township, but one among the first stood in Section 35, in which was taught both English and German, by John Singer. The Shiveley Schoolhouse was another early one, built prior to 1818, and the "masters" were Peter Bright, and, later, Jesse Higgins. These crude schools have steadily advanced, until they have reached a high degree of excellence, there being now twelve school districts in the township, and as many fine brick buildings, three of which were built in 1880, two containing two rooms each. The value of school property is $20,000. The annual appropriation for school purposes is $3,500. School is held eight months during the year.

VILLAGES

Amity, a small village located in the western part of the township, was laid out October 6, 1840, by William Towman. The original plat shows sixteen lots. The land was purchased by Robert Brooks, who was instrumental in having the town laid out. This gentleman was thee first merchant of the place, and David Stillwell the first blacksmith. There, are now in the village about fifteen houses, among them one general store, it answering the purpose of a grocery, shoe shop, post office, etc. The post office was established here in 1879, the first Postmaster being G. Weidman.

Trotwood, another village, or hamlet, is situated in the center of the township, on the Dayton & Western Railroad. It is indebted for its existence to L. R. Pfoutz, who, in 1854, after the completion of the railroad mentioned, built a business house, opened a store and inaugurated the village. He became the first Postmaster, and is still in office. The American Express Company opened an office here in 1866, and the United States Company a few years later. There is quite an extensive warehouse for storing away grain previous to shipment at this station. J. B. Piatt was the first blacksmith, and his hammer still rebounds against the heavy anvil. A carriage manufactory was opened in 1879. The village can boast of a first-class hotel, kept by E. Sleight, the "jolly Englishman," and of a job printing office, carried on by J. W. Sleight. Airhill is a small station on the same road, in the northwestern part of the township.

McAFFEE MURDER

In the year 1824, the John Keener farm was the scene of the murder of Mrs. McAffee by her husband, John McAffee. This grew out of the intense love of the man for a Miss Hettie Shoup, then a resident of the neighborhood. The deed was committed while the wife lay sick in bed, and was accomplished by choking her. McAffee was tried and found guilty of murder in the first degree, and hanged at Dayton, near the Great Miami River, in the presence of 5,000 people, the execution taking place at 3 o'clock in the afternoon of the 28th day of March (Monday), 1825.

The prisoner addressed the crowd from the scaffold, confessing his guilt. The sentence was pronounced by Judge Crane, and the execution performed by Sheriff George C. Davis. This was the first murder in the township, and the first public execution occurring in the county.

Brookville Historical Society, Inc. 2003

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