DCOWeb > Title page > Table of Contents > Pages 10-13

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

This is another historic farm on account of the fact that it is adjacent to the Range Line and to the older Atchison. William Hoel ceded three or four acres to the Christian church as a burial ground and site for a church building. This was about the year 1821 and the second church in the settlement as erected thereon in the year 1822, William Hoel, Aaron Carson, and James Whitman, trustees of the said church property and grounds. This farm was ever productive, and William Hoel's corn crib and grainery was a sort of Egypt to emigrants coming later on. Of the family there were John, William, Zachariah, Nathan, Hannah, Polly, Effie, and Sarah Ann. They grew to man and womanhood, and all married, but the latter, who died in young womanhood. Of the descent there were a goodly number, a greater portion going to other parts in after years.
      Having given the Earlier Arrivals in the settlement in years 1815 and I816, and discovered the grounds whereon was thc old village of Jacksonville of the first half of the 19th century, and the Modern Versailles of the last half of said century, we will turn aside from the trail of the Pioneer track to note the site and surroundings of the old village, and a bird's eye view of it, up to, and at the time of, the coming of the "Bee Line" railway, the building of which was completed in 1853.
      The village of Jacksonville was laid out on the northwest part of Atchison's eighty, adjacent to, and south of Swamp creek, and on either side of the State road, and consisted of three blocks or squares south from the near border of said creek. The State road's points were from Bellefontaine by way of Sidney, and Jacksonville to Greenville. This was an established U. S. mail route, carried on horse-back from early years. Upon one occasion, it is said, the mail carrier arrived nearly frozen. He had fallen into a sleepy stupor and very much be-numbed by the cold, He however thawed out and rallied up, when he again proceeded on the route. Another public road came creeping up the stream, the points of which to the southeast was Ft. Rowdy and Piqua and to the northwest to Ft. Recovery, intersecting the aforesaid

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PIONEER HISTORY

State Road near John Grissom, the village tailor's residence, and paralleled it to the Lewis Baker homestead where it branched of on a "bee-line" through the forests to Ft. Recovery. Here (Baker's) the St. Marys and Greenville road joined the State Road also. The St. Mary's end of this road wound down the north end of the settlement on the West side of Swamp creek, while the Sidney, Cyntha Ann, and Jacksonville road crooked down the settlement on the east side of the creek which road tapped the St. Mary's near the homestead best known as the Joseph Yoder farm, and the State Road one-half mile east of Jacksonville village. Thus it will be seen that the old village had egress to the villages of the near-by and farther away settlements by the public highways of the early times, and was accessable by the same as well. These public roads were ungraveled other than the low swamps were corduroyed, and the small streams were hog-backed bridged, while the remainder was, for most part of the year, mud any way from over the felloews of thc vehicle to the hub. Yet one with mercantile insight could see the site as the place of a permanent inland village of a fair surrounding trade in the oncoming years.
      The Atchison ownership of the lands whereon is now the chief part of Versailles passed to one Newberry York, who for some years was the farmer occupant. The village at this date comprised a shoe-maker's shop, on the north side of thc State Road or Main street, now the "Big Four" railway track or bed; a blacksmith's shop on the east side of the State Road; near by a primitive school house, the first in the settlement and of the log cabin type, with its clay chimney, great fire place, huge jams, clap-board and weight poled roof, door of heavy rived boards and wooden hinges, and latch, lifted by a flaxen or leather string, long windows with sticks at short intervals, to which greased paper was fastened to let in the light and sunshine, and puncheon floor and seats of the same lumber.
      John Robison, the first and primitive school master, to whom and in this building. Aunt Sally Wilson, yet a resident of the town and of octogenarian years, went to school eighty

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PIONEER HISTORY

years ago. That was a jolly old pedagogue of the long ago and a school group of scholars of the primitive time that puts imagination to painting pictures.
      With the old tanery, on the very fertile valley land of the north end of the Atchison farm cut off from the village by the creek. Quaint, forest, quiet village, we may be sure, with the farm house and barn, orchard and grain fields near by as adornments.
      York disposed of his lands that surrounded the village to one James Wood, with whom a new and interesting history and enterprise of the village begins. Of York's family there were Nicholas, who became the son-in-law of Ward, and Jerry, who owned the border farm between the Indian and Swamp creek neighborhoods, whose son-in-law is Stephen Hole. York was elected a county judge, was an early justice of the peace of the township, and after him or for him, was the civil township of York named, and he was a pioneer or chief citizen of the upper Indian Creek Settlement.
      James Wood, prior to his purchase of York, was a traveling dry goods and notion peddler through the country, having a sort of depository or agency store at the homestead of Walter Brandon, out on the Cyntha Ann and Sidney road, about a half a mile north of its junction with the State Road, and this is regarded as the first and primitive store of the settlement. Among the other things provided for by Mr. Wood in his addition to the village as given in pages following, was the dry goods country store and he was the progenitor of that line of trade in the village. This Wood addition seems to have been laid out to parallel the trend of the State Road as it ran across his farm and the figure of his door yard, which was somewhat wedge-shape as squared by the section lines, with the thinner end to the northward. The result of this was to make it non-parallel with said lines and original village, and as the creek from the point of juncture of the two plots, curved much toward the north, there was much more valley farm land between this part of town than there was between the creek and the old part. This bend of Swamp creek at its rising clay banks on the north side touched the

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PIONEER HISTORY

section line, and cut off a small triangular piece of the York farm which he sold to the Baptist people, and upon which they erected their second church building in the settlement. They disposed of it, when erecting their third building over in thc village, to Joseph Taylor, the old village tanner, and in the more modern years, it has been owned by, and has been the place of Dr. J. P. Gordon's residence. North of the Wood addition on the north side of the creek, was, what for this reason was called North Jacksonville, laid out by some of the younger Brandons on the south half of the old Brandon homestead.


A Connecting Link, -- Dr. J. P. Gordon.

      This old Baptist church property was a sort of out-let and connecting link between the two parts of the village (perhaps it is to this day,) so too the old doctor is a sort of a connecting link between Jacksonville of the first part of the last century, and the Versailles of the last part, and as he was conversant with, and family physician in many families, the parents of which in their latter "teens" of their early youth, were familiar with the old settlers and their times, the old doctor is a sort of encyclopedia of reminiscences, more modern episodes, and quaint personages, and his descriptions and impersonations of them is both antic and laughable, and when it comes to out-lying neighborhoods and their early times, what he knows is more than a little bit, some of which impressed him with heroism lying in poverty, while others have impressed him with heroic lieing to make their poverty appear to his view. But as the doctor is still living, is of portly figure, tall stature, Scotch blood, and walks with crutch and cane, further an elaborate eulogy had better be deferred till the subject thereof is less active, but as a connecting link, this much is compelled.
      East of the old doctor's property across the section line was the valley land of the Atchison farm, an exceedingly fertile piece of ground, and grounds upon which was the old village tannery. But aside from Joseph Swisher's blacksmithing,

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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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