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A PIONEER HISTORY
of
Wayne Tp., Darke County, Ohio
by
Samuel Long
1901
Table of Contents
pages [3]-5  pages 6-9  pages 10-13  pages 14-17  pages 18-21  pages 22-25  pages 26-29
pages 30-33  pages 34-37  pages 38-41  pages 42-45  pages 46-49  pages 50-53  pages 54-57
Surname Index

PIONEER HISTORY

The Swamp Creek Settlement.

      Of course about the first explorers of a permanent settlement, is the government's surveying party marking off the original towns (block of 36 sections) and section lines. This survey was made about the year 1805, some two years after Ohio was admitted as a state. In the year 1815, a party from the Stillwater Settlement in Miami County, near where now is the town of Pleasant Hill, canoed up the river, Stillwater, to where it forked into two nearly equal branches, and taking up the east branch, found the stream to consist mainly of swamps and ponds whose waters were murky, turbid and still, hence named the country the "Black Swamps," and this East branch of Stillwater received the name of "Swamp Creek," and the early inhabitants of the "Swamp Creek Settlement," were called by these Stillwater neighbors "Black Swampers," not on account of their complexion, but on account of the stream along which they were settled.

The Earlier Arrivals of Pioneer Settlers.

      Our narrative will begin with the old Childer's farm whose successor was David Brandon and of later years owned by a Mr. Kaylor. This was considered the "A" of the Swamp Creek Settlement with the old Metzcar farm as the "Z." Childers was an old Baptist preacher.
      On his farm was the first Baptist church building erected and thc first church building in the settlement as early as 1819 or 1820. Of the families of this congregation were Childlers, Carlock, and McDonald of the border Stillwater Settlement, and Ward, Baker, York, and Jonathan and Chas. Hole of the Swamp Creek Settlement. A picture of one of these assemblies would be a prize, if one had such a picture now. Doubtless tow-linen and linsey were the styles then.

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PIONEER HISTORY

We surmise that the men wore shirt-waists without coats even at that early date, and created no sensation either, and pataloons and suspenders of the same material. While the foot-gear of some, we venture, were the finest ever exhibited, doubtless being such as Nature wove. James Childers, a member of this family, was a resident of the community south of Bloomers, Ohio, a family well known there.
      The church building, adjacent to which was the burial ground of the Baptist people, was removed to a site given them by Mr. York, a triangular piece of ground, beautiful for situation, and now the premises of Dr. J. P. Gordon, and there re-erected, where their services were held for several years thereafter. It was also afterward used as a school house wherein J. C. Reed was a teacher. We are told that it was again moved to the Wood addition part of the town and was the resident of John Morgan, son-in-law of David Ward, who with his family are well remembered and were well known. Possibly in the rear of Harry Didot's place, west of of the City Hall, the relict may be found.
      The older Atchinson owned one-half of a quarter section so far up the murky stream as its western branch or Indian creek, and along the latter stream to the right as you ascend it, of late years known as the Fred Sheffle farm. It has been successively owned by Cemer Craig, Atchison's son-in-law, old Benjamin Reser, Mr. Lenachs, Cushner, and Sheffle. Darke county's history tells us of his tragic death as having died from heart failure or other sudden mishap and was found a mutilated body and was buried near by, the place being the whereabouts of Graceland cemetery and was the first one buried in the Swamp Creek Settlement. But conversing with one of octogenarians years and resident of the settlement from childhood who knew nothing of this tragic event, but knew his relict or widow as "Old Granny Atchison." He was probably the first buried in the old burial ground of the Christians or New-Lights, as this Atchison was either a brother-in-law or wife's uncle of old Billy Hoel who ceded the ground to the church of which he was a trustee of its property. We were informed by one who had passed the three

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score year and ten mark that in early youthful years, the first grave of the settlement was well known and well marked, and that it was the grave of a stranger, who passing by took sick at the said Billy Hoel's and died there, and was buried before the ceding of the burial ground as aforesaid. Whether Silas Atchison of whom we will speak in these pages further on, was a brother or son, and James Atchinson, the preacher, was a nephew or grandson, the writer was unable to learn, but the phrase of eighty years ago as applied to the widow, "Old Granny Atchison," points to the latter conclusion.
      Lewis Baker was adjacent to this deceased Atchison but further up the Indian creek stream and in the years onward was known as the Adam Baker or Martin Marker farm. Of his family there were Adam, Lucy, Alpha, Polly, Maria, Lydia, and Lillian, all of whom were well known citizens in the after years. Baker died in the earlier years of the settlement, and his son Adam was a prominent and active citizen of the period of which we write, the first half of the last century, the 19th. His grandsons, Louis, Henry, and Peter were hard-by the pioneer boys' time. Some of his sons-in-law being of the Early Pioneers will be spoken of further on in these pages.
      Richard Brandon owned the one-half of a quarter section adjacent to and East of Atchison, on the south end and adjacent to the old stream, North Versailles now stands, and his old homestead was hard-by the high clay banks on the north side. He was from Virginia and Scotch-Irish descent, of low stature and stout build, and well along in years on arrival as his children were all married and even some of his grand-children were to maturity grown on arrival. Of his family were Walter, David, Job, John, Richard, Jonathan, Vincent G., and Mary, known as Aunt Polly Hole, consort of the old James Hole. As these were all of the Early Pioneers, they will be further spoken of in these pages. He died in the earlier years and the old homestead was divided, or rather sub-divided among the five or six younger children, and some of the sub-divisions, by the younger progeny, lain off into town lots, which made the second addition, (the James

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Wood addition being the first), to the town of Jacksonville.
      David Ward was to the east of Brandon owning a quarter section of valley and second-bottom lands along the old, sleepy, murky stream of Swamp creek. It was covered with a heavy growth of timber among which were large and numerous sugars, and he had the famous camp or sugar orchard of the settlement. He was a large, portly man and bore the marks of the Indian tomahawk and scalping knife, wounds he received in his early boyhood. He was a successful farmer and died in nonogenarian years, his wife, Elizabeth, dying in earlier years, and they were buried in the old Baptist burial ground. Of his children there were Elijah, George, David, John T., Bousman, Israel, Ann, Jamima, Elizabeth, Mary, Rhoda, and Sarah Jane. They grew to manhood and womanhood years, married, and were prominent citizens in the after years, and of the descent there is quite a generation.
      Silas Atchison was south of the west half of Ward's quarter section and jointly with his brother-in-law, William Hole, owned the eighty acres south of Brandon, and mainly on the east side of Swamp creek, land whereon the chief parts of Versailles now stand. The successive owners were Newberry York, James Woods and Larimore addition to the town of Versailles. Of this family there were James and others. James became a preacher of the Christian denomiation, and a traveling evangelist in Nortwestern Ohio and Northeastern Indiana settlements, and is well remembered by the pioneer children. A younger one met with the mishap of falling in old Uncle Aaron Carson's well. Whereupon, down the wooden wall of that well a mother Atchison went, and taking the young lad by the arm held him up from danger, till stronger help came and rescued both from the perilous situation. Rev. T. A. Brandon referring to the event said, "the lad to manhood years grown, wasn't worth half that effort!" which would be sadder still if some other boys were not built the same way!
      William Hoel, Atchison's brother-in-law, owned a quarter section west of one and south of the other. Atchison at the mouth of Indian creek and on both sides of it and Swamp.

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Table of Contents
pages [3]-5  pages 6-9  pages 10-13  pages 14-17  pages 18-21  pages 22-25  pages 26-29
pages 30-33  pages 34-37  pages 38-41  pages 42-45  pages 46-49  pages 50-53  pages 54-57
Surname Index


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