The angry tantrum of Nature that raised the
area now representing Ohio, from its lowly position as a hole in the bottom
of the sea to its present altitude thrust upward countless peaks of vertical
rock strata that constituted a gigantic Appalachian fence from present
Maine to Georgia through which any successful westward migration to inland
North America must find the gate.
The pre-glacial rivers that drained the west
slope of this mountain wall flowed north to some such outlet as Hudson
Bay or the Arctic Ocean and, if man had explored North
America from Europe at that time these north flowing streams would have
led settlment toward present Canada and the Arctic Regions, rather than
to inland United States. Ages before recorded history a very large river
flowed in a northwest direction across what is now Shelby County. The headwaters
of that river were on the western slopes of the mountains in West Virginia
and Eastern Kentuckey. Much of the rain that fell upon the area of present
day Ohio finally found it's way into the pre-glacial river, called Taeys.
Then came a time that the climate changed over
much of the earth changed greatly for a long period or periods of time
and the perpetual snow belt extended into lower latitudes so that great
accumulations of snow formed into glaciers and covered the greater portion
of the State of Ohio. As the glacier pilled up to a greater thickness,
those ancient water courses were covered up as far as the glacier extended,
and beyond the edge great lakes were formed, and when they became filled
they broke over into other drainage systems. That was the period of time
when the Ohio River was created.
The great ice sheet, as it advanced from the
Northwest had a tendency to grind off the high places and to fill up the
valleys; and when it finally disappeared, it left a mass of soil, gravel
and boulders called glacial drift, that is less hilly than the southeastern
part of Ohio which had not beewn affected as much by the glacier. It also
left a surface drainage system here that flows generally south instead
of the former one that flowed in a general northwest direction. Thus we
find there were rivers and a river system cut far deeper in the rock of
a former age than we now have in this region.
THE MOUND BUILDERS, or his Mongoloid ancestor
found a rear entrance to the Ohio Country and wandered about the Mississippi
and Ohio Valleys for perhaps ten centuries.
The Leni Lenape (Delawares) lived many hundred
years ago far to the westward. They left their old home and migrated toward
the rising sun, and after a very long journey they arrived at the shores
of the Na Maesi Sippu or Messussipu (Great River or River of Fish). Their
journey was slow and many nights (years) were passed on, the way. The reconnoitering
parties of the Leni Lenape reported that in the country to the East were
many large towns on the great rivers which flowed through the land. The
people were tall and stout. They called themselves Tallegewi or Alligewi.
As the Lerti Lenape pushed on some of the men of their Wetamowi (wise men)
were attacked and killed and war resulted with the Titllegewi. This bloody
strife continued for several generations. To the north were the Talamatan,
who offered aid on the condition that they be in the division of the spoils.
Great battles were fought. The Tallegewi fortified their towns and erected
earthworks but many were slain and realizing that the contest would end
in their annihilation, the remnant of the Tallegewi abandoned the country
and fled to the southward. Scientists believe the Tallegewi or. Allegewi
are the same as the Cherokee Indians but this has never been proven.
THE AMERICAN INDIANS are a member of the Aboriginal
American race and are now regarded as constituting one of the three races
comprised in the Mongoloid stock. They are believed to have entered America
in small groups by way of the Aleutian Islands over a period of several
thousand years, roughly with the end of the Paleolithic Period and the
beginning of the Neolithic Period. There has never been any definite relationship
established between these Indians and the Mound Builder Indians. Eventually
the Indian triumphed and the mound people were killed, driven away or absorbed
by the conquering tribes.
In the oldest authentic accounts of white explorers,
this county, and in fact all the territory in this part of the state was
occupied by a tribe, or a Confederacy of tribes known as the Miami Indians.
Miami in the Indian language means "Mother", so this name is
very appropriate to this "Mother of Tribes". The tribal totems
of the Miamis were the Elk and Crane. There were several branches of this
confederation occupying the greater part of Western Ohio, Indiana, Illinois,
and part of Michigan. One of these branch tribes, called "Twigtwees",
had their town three miles north of Piqua. This village was ruled by a
chief called "Old Britian." During the French and Indian War
this section of Ohio seems to have been the dividing line between the contestants.
Sometimes it was in the possession of the English, allied with the Sbawanoes
(Shawnees), Cherokees, Delawares, Catawbas, Munseys and Senecas; and sometimes
the French occupied it, having combined with the Miamis, Wyandots and Ottawas.
This fighting, from 1752 until 1763, was kept up until the English and
their allies were victorious. After this day the Shawanoes, with Black
Hoof as chief, took possession of all the territory in the vicinity of
There is no evidence tending, to show that
Newberry Township was a resort of the Indians or of their occupancy. Since
the advent of the whites, none but hunting parties and encampments have
been recorded. There was an encampment of Delawares about three miles north
of Covington in 1812. In only one instance is it known that they injured
the whites of Newberry Township, which as the killing of some cattle.
About a mile south of Covington, on the east
bank of the Stillwater River, is a vaulted cave, which was once the stronghold
of the Arrow Maker, a Teller of Tales. He probably came into this area
after the French and Indian War, having been from the Shawanoe tribe, which
was an ally of the English. He was feared by many and understood by few.
He was a giant in stature, and for many years was considered a myth, but
records show that during the occupancy of Fort Rowdy he was killed by Trader
Price. The Indians buried him at the cave, closing the entrance in Indian
fashion, Doctors Coleman and Telford of Troy, Ohio; yearning of the giant's
burial place, in October 1812, together with the soldiers of Fort Buchanan,
repaired to the cave, exhumed the body and took it to Troy for student
medical study. So passed Amokee, a Teller of Tales and Shawanoe Arrow Maker.
THE ENGLISH SETTLERS were content to remain
on the Atlantic side of the Appalachian fence until the streams of German
and Irish immigrants diluted the English strain in the blood of the colonists.
As the tides immigrants flowed in the Germans and Irish, to find free land
had to push on beyond the settled valleys. Early journeys over the Appalachians
were led by Col. William Mayo, Col. Abraham Wood and Doctor Thomas Walker,
who first opened new routes over the mountain barrier.
What is now Ohio was at this time almost entirely
covered with forests of oak, walnut, sycamore, maple, chestnut and beech
with an under growth of lesser shrubs of dogwood, wild plum, crab apple,
red bud, pawpaw, blueberry and raspberry, all inter twined with heavy hanging
grapevines. Through this virgin forest came the first white expeditions.
In 1749, a French expedition under CELERON, which almost defined the present
boundaries of Ohio, attempted to keep the English from settling the Ohio
Country. Celeron completed a journey of about 3000 miles which took him
to the Miami Indian town of Pickawillany where he dispersed the English
traders. His trip, in the name of France, did not retard the English advance.
In 1750, the Ohio Company, which was formed
in Virginia, instructed Christopher Gist to investigate the Ohio country.
During this journey one of his stops was at Pickawillany where he made
a trade agreement with the Miami Indians and English traders.
The French, allied with the Miamis, Wyandots
and Ottawas engaged in a war with the English in 1752 which lasted until
1763. The English were allied with the Shawanoes, Delawares, Cherokees,
Catawbas, Munseys and Senecas and finally emerged victorious, thus driving
the French farther into the northern part of the Ohio Country.
After the French and Indian War the Fort Stanwix
treaty was formed in which the Delawares, Shawnees and Mingoes refused
to sign, therefore creating the disturbances which started the Border Wars
and led to a large expedition of frontiersmen under the command of George
Rogers Clark, who was sent into the Shawnee country for the purpuse of
retaliation and for the destruction of the Indian villages and crops. It
was in the summer of 1780 when Clark's army attacked the Shawnee town of
Piqua, four miles west of Springfield, and after quite a battle the Indians
were defeated, 500 acres of corn destroyed and the village burned. Clark
then returned to Kentucky. Instead of Clark's expedition causing a cessation
of hostilities, the Indians, embittered by defeat, became more aggressive
in their plundering excursions. They became such. a menace that in 1782
another expedition by General, Clark was organized. Leaving Cincinnati,
fording Mad River in Dayton, he marched up the east bank of the Miami River
and crossed the stream about four miles below present Piqua, Ohio. The
Indians were congregating at Piqua for a general pow wow and it seems that
such was the terror inspired by the name of Clark that the Indians fled
at his approach. After destroying everything possible Clark led his army
back to Kentucky.
THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR demolished the Proclamation
Line of 1763, which gave the English all the territory east of the Mississippi,
and ushered in a perod of tremendous western expansion. Even while the
fighting went on, a spirited migration began to fill the upper reaches
of the Ohio River Valley. In 1776 only about 5,000 Americans lived west
of the Alleghenies and by 1790 there were over 100,000. One of the major
achievements of the post war period was the famous Northwest Ordinance
of 1787, the law which established a whole pattern of government for the
western territories. The Ordinance provided that the territory was to be
divided into not less than three nor more than five states, eventually,
Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. It included an area of
1,887,850 square miles.
The desired effect of Clark's last expedition,
however, was only temporary, and in a few years the Indians we're again
on the warpath. In 1790 General Harmar was ordered, to proceed against
the hostile tribes on the Miami and Wabash Rivers. He proceeded from Cincinnati
up through Miami County on Clark's former route and marched on to Fort
Wayne. Here he was defeated by the Indians under Chief Little Turtle.
In 1791 General St. Clair was appointed in
command and marched against the Indians but while encamped on the Maumee
River was attacked and defeated with a loss of 600 men.
George Washington then appointed "Mad
Anthony" Wayne to plan and organize a campaign to counteract the obvious
errors of the St. Clair debacle. Wayne organized an army in Pittsburgh
in June of 1792 and spent nearly a year in drilling and equiping it. In
1793 Wayne's army left Cincinnati (Fort Washington) and pushed north into
the Indian Country. He co-ordinated his advance by establishing forts and
blockhouses one of which was a log and earth breastwork, erected at the
junction of Stillwater River and Greenville Creek, just north of the present
Covington Water Works. This fort was called Fort Rowdy which proved to
be a very strategic point along the important waterways. Canoes and flat
boats carried supplies up the Miami River to Dayton, thence up the Stillwater
River to Fort Rowdy, thence up Greenville Creek to Fort Greenville where
Wayne went into winter quarters in 1793-1794. Fort Rowdy, including the
outposts, probably was contained in the area north of the present water
works, south of Route 36, east of the Stillwater River and west of present
Main Street. Named either after one of Wayne's officers or after the behavior
of the men, Fort Rowdy was short lived and ended with the Treaty of Greenville.
Moving north from Fort Greenville Wayne engaged
in battle and defeated the Indians on August 20, 1794 in the Battle of
Fallen Timbers on the Maumee River. The army then returned to Fort Greenville
where on August 3, 1795 Wayne concluded a peace and signed a treaty with
all the tribes of the Northwest. In June 1795 the members of various tribes
met at Fort Greenville for the purpose of negotiating peace with the victorious
Americans. A treaty was signed by General Wayne, William Wells the interpreter,
William Henry Harrison the aide-de-camp, William Clark, lieutenant, Meriweather
Lewis, ensign, David Jones, chaplain, Henry DeButts, captain and John Mills,
captain, on behalf of the United States; and on the part of the Indians
by chiefs of the following tribes: Delawares, Shawnees, Chippewas, Ottawas,
Miamis and Eel Rivers, Weas, and Piankashaws, Kickapoos and Kask askias,
Potawatomies and Wyandots. Those chiefs signing were: Tarhe the Crane (Wyandots),
Little Turtle (Miamis), Blue Jacket (Shawnees), Buckongehelas (Delawares),
Black Hoof (Shawnees), Leatherlips (Wyandots), Bad Bird (Chippewa), White
Pigeon (Potawatomi), The Sun (Potawatomi) and Isaac Zane a Wyandot by adoption.
The final treaty was signed on August 3, 1795, exchanged August 7, laid
before the United States Senate on December 9 and ratified on December
By this treaty the Indians ceded about 25,000
square miles of territory to the United States, besides 16 separate tracts,
including land and forts. The Indians received in consideration of these
cessions, goods to the value of $20,000 and were promised an annual allowance
of $9,500 to be distributed equally to the parties of the treaty. Chief
Blue Jacket had to be bribed with a $300 annuity. Never after that treaty,
to their honor be it remembered, did the Indian tribes violate the limits
which it established. It was a grand tribute to General Wayne that no chief
or warrior who gave him the hand at Greenville ever lifted the hatchet
against the United States.
The Treaty of Greenville was the signal for
the spread of settlement up the river valleys into the interior of Ohio.
Thus we find that the French ceded in 1763, the English ceded in 1783,
the Northwest Territory formed in 1787, the Indians ceded in 1795 and the
way is now clear for the formation of the State of Ohio.
The year following the Treaty of Greenville
found the citizens of the Ohio Country clamoring for statehood. Subsequently
the population was sufficiently strong to win this recognition from Congress
and in 1803 Ohio became the 17th state of the Union and the first to be
carved out of the Northwest Territory.
THE AREA which now comprises Miami County was
first within Hamilton County which was the second county established in
the Northwest Territory, being formed on January 2, 1790 by proclamation
of Governor St. Clair. Eight years later Ross County was established and
subsequently on May 1, 1803 Montgomery County was formed from parts of
Ross and Hamilton Counties and included all the lands north to Michigan,
west of Champaign County to Indiana, a territory 40 by 170 miles. On January
16, 1807 a strip of land 40 by 45 miles running east to west across Montgomery
County was formed into Miami County with all the land north remaining in
Montgomery County which actually made two different parcels of land, both
called Montgomery County. In 1812 the Legislature of Ohio put all lands
north of Miami County in Miami County taking them from Montgomery, and
so made Miami an area of 40 by 150 miles and extended north to Michigan.
The western portion of Miami was then formed into Darke County in March
1817, leaving Miami with a territory of 20 by 50 miles. Shortly thereafter,
in 1819, Shelby County was formed to the north and the present boundary
was established. Miami County today contains 404.24 square miles with the
greatest east-west distance being 21 miles. The north-south distance is
19 miles on the west side of the Miami River and 22 miles on the east side.
Miami lies between 39 degrees, 55 minutes and 40 degrees, 11 minutes north
latitude and between 84 degrees, 2 minutes and 84 degrees 26 minutes, west
longitude, and is composed of twelve townships; Monroe, Bethel, Springereek,
Washington, Staunton, Concord, Elizabeth, Brown, Newberry, Newton, Union
and Lostcreek of which this book hereafter will deal only with the township
The name Miami was taken from the Indian name
Miami which was the name of one of the oldest Indian Tribes in this area.
The first white settler was Peter Felix, Indian Trader, and his three companions
who built cabins near Staunton in the autumn of 1795 . They were followed
in 1797 by John Knoop who settled east of Troy, Ohio. The population of
Miami County today is 61,309 as compared with 8,851 in 1820.
NEWBERRY TOWNSHIP, organized about 1810, was
prior to 1807 part of Randolph Township, which was that part of Miami County
lying west of the Miami River. At that time only two townships existed,
the other being Elizabeth which was east of the Miami River. Later, present
Newberry and Newton were formed together under the name of Newberry but
increase in population made it necessary to form two separate townships,
Newberry retaining the name and the new township to the south taking the
new name, Newton. The first Justice of the Peace in Newberry was Amos Perry
and the first Constable was John Thompson. The approximate date of these
is about 1816.
Newberry Township contains 42 square miles,
is seven miles from north to south and six miles from east to west. It
is located in the northwest corner of the country, bounded on the west
by Darke County, on the north by Shelby, on the east by Washington Township
and on the south by Newton Township. The northwestern part of the township
is the most elevated in the county with the general surface sloping to
the southeast. The township is drained by the Stillwater River and its
tributaries; Greenville Creek, Trotters Creek, Harrisons Creek, Albaugh
Creek and Rocky Branch.
The first settlers, many coming from Newberry
in Newberry District in South Carolina, found here a virgin forest of many
species of trees, deep rich grass and cool sparkling springs. Deep forests
along the peaceful streams were abundant with all sorts of game with which
the pioneers graced their tables.
During the early settlements the yellow rattlesnakes
made their homes in the limestone ledges along the Stillwater River and
Greenville Creek. Newberry had the reputation of having no rival in the
number of venomus reptiles but the settlers soon made war on them by turning
swine loose and soon the infested streams were cleared of the reptiles.
Newberry Township lies between 40 degrees 5
minutes and 40 degrees 11 minutes north latitude and between 84 degrees
19 minutes and 84 degrees 26 minutes west longitude. The present (1950)
population is 5,678. The township officers at present are: trustees W.
C. Davis, Russel Clark and Edward Driver, clerk, Howard Buchanan, Justice
of the Peace J.D. Huffman and Constable Norman Miller.
Newberry Township, being part of that area
designated as Congressional Lands, slowly commenced its settlements. The
first ten men to receive patents from the government were: David Zeigler
(1801), Michael Ingle (1804), Thomas Hill (1805), John Miller (1805), Sylvester
Thompson (1805), Samuel Nicholson (1806), Phil Swartzell (1806), William
Pearson (1806), David Burnstrager (1806), and Samuel Brown (1807).
David Zeigler, entering his land in April 1801,
cannot be classified as a settler as he was a land agent in Cincinnati
and probably entered land as an inducement to others. The first location
and cabin built in Newberry was by a South Carolinian named McDonald, near
what is now Harrisons Creek, two and one half miles north of Covington.
Although he did not have a land patent he remained here one season, then
returned to South Carolina with John Harrison, another dissatisfied settler
from Union Township, both leaving their lands and cabins.
THE FIRST PERMANENT white settler was Michael
Ingle who came from *Virginia and settled temporarily in Montgomery County.
He received his land patent November 15, 1804 and shortly thereafter settled
at the mouth of Harrisons Creek probably in the vacated cabin of McDonald.
He is said to have prospected north up the Stillwater River before 1800
and in 1804 he entered two separate tracts of land, one in Newberry and
the other in Newton Township; that in Newberry being the Northwest Quarter
of Section 20.
*Later research shows that Ingle was from
Bedford County Pennsylvania.
Michael Ingle, a tanner by trade, is important
in the history of Newberry from the fact that he brought 800 acres of land
into a high state of cultivation. He also produced some very fine leather
in his tannery and, his well, dug through the rock, was the only one in
the settlement for ten years. He also is said to have grown the first wheat
in the township. In 1810 he purchased his third quarter section which became
very valuable for its quarries. He erected the second house in what is
now the confines of Covington, having built a double log cabin where the
Eshleman Funeral Home now stands. He and his first wife raised a family
of seven sons and, four daughters of whom all but three stayed in the township.
The descendents of Michael Ingle now living in Newberry are very great
in number. He was in the Revolutionary War, died in 1839 and is buried
in Highland Cemetery.
Following Michael Ingle, came in 1805 John
Miller, Elijah Reagan and Sylvester Thompson, followed shortly by Samuel
Brown. Subsequently came William Coats with his son, John Coats, and his
son-in-law, Daniel Wright. Samuel Brown stayed but a short time but John
and William Coats built cabins and stayed. Daniel Wright also built a cabin
which was situated at the southwest corner of Main and Spring streets,
this being one of the first six cabins in the township. In 1810 Jacob Ullery
purchased land but did not occupy it until 1811. This was the southeast
quarter of section 30, later noted for its quarries and proved to be the
most valuable property in the township.
When the War of 1812 broke out the cabins of
nine families dotted the forest. At this time the settlers all left their
clearings for temporary safety from the hostile Indiana who were expected
to invade this area. Some went to Montgomery County, some to the Ludlow
settlement; Ingle went to the stockade in Newton Towsnhip, and Ullery to
Michael Ingle, John Miller, William Coats,
John, Coats, Daniel Wright, Elijah Reagan and Jacob Ullery were seven of
the nine families living here in 1812. The names of the other two are unknown.
Sylvester Thompson shortly after his arrival moved to Newton Township.
Also taking out land were Phil Swartzell, William Pearson and David Burnstrager
but it can not be ascertained whether they ever settled here or not.
On June 18, 1812 The United States declared
war on Great Britain. In Ohio the Americans were vigorously attacked by
the British, supported by the, Indians under the leadership of Tecumseh.
On the 30tb day of April 1812, Brigadier General Edmond Munger sent communications
to Captain George Buchanan of Milton ordering him to form the 2nd regiment,
which would be attached to the 5th brigade of the 1st Division of Ohio
Militia and to see that they were fully equipped and ready to march at
a moments notice. To his regiment were added Lt. James Caldwell of Piqua
and Ensign Gardner Bobo of Spring Creek. By July 10, 1812 this regiment
was composed of, in addition to the three commissioned officers, four sergeants,
four corporals and forty privates. The regirnent was assigned to the Stillwater
Valley and adjoining territory and began almost immediately the erection
of a block house at a point across the Stillwater River from the mouth
of Greenville Creek. This blockhouse was first called "Buchanan's
Block House" and later referred to as Fort Rowdy but this was not
accepted by Captain Buchanan. This fort consisted of a blockhouse and a
tower in the southwest corner with a stockade enclosing a section north
and as far east as the St. Marys Road ( High Street) and enclosing a good
spring under what was later the hotel building. In his communications Captain
Buchanan referred to this as "Fort Buchanan" and so it was thereafter
Orders to muster out were dated July 20, 1812
and all men were dismissed who were stationed west of the Miami River unless
hostile movements of the Indians required their services. Captain Buchanan
and his regiment marched to Troy July 13, joined other companies there,
and all marched to Piqua to remain until the peace council was over. Although
Fort Buchanan was used by the families in the neighborhood as a place of
refuge during emergencies, there is no indication that it was ever again
used as a military post. The war was brought to a close December 14, 1814
by the Treaty of Ghent which provided for joint commissions to determine
disputed boundary questions between the two countries.
Early in 1814, before the treaty with England,
we find the settlers returning, the number of immigrants augmenting and
the clearings increasing. John Cable west of Stillwater; John Hay north
of him; John Harrison and his sons, Richard and Bargitto on the creek that
bears their name; above Cable, John Trotter, on the creek named for him;
the Templeton brothers Samuel, William, and David joining Trotter; John
Carson and Samuel Nicholson in the same neighborhood; Sylvester Thompson
and Joshua Falknor, south of Ullery and in 1816 Amos Perry opposite the
falls on Greenville Creek; and William Knox on Trotters Creek. John Barbour
joined the Trotters Creek settlement in 1817. We cannot mention all who
came, but only such as became prominent and permanent citizens in those
early times whose descendents are with us now.
1816 to 1835---Amidst most picturesque environments
on the Stillwater River, Covington had its beginning as a community on
the east side of the Stillwater when early in 1816, Daniel Wright, in partnership
with Jacob Ullery, laid out 36 town lots in section 30. Wright's portion
covered the site of Wayne's encampment, the timber having been cut off
by Wayne's army. These 30 lots lay between the St. Marys Road (High Street)
and the east bank of the Stillwater. Three streets were laid out and named,
running north and south; first, Water Street, next to the river and on
the bluff; Main Street at the foot of the hill; and High Street, being
the St. Marys Road and also the section line between 29 and 30. Three streets
crossing at right angles were: first on the north, Wright Street, next
Ullery Street and then Spring Street. Wright Street and Ullery Street were
named for the men who laid out the town and Spring Street was named for
the beautiful spring that burst from the rocks beneath the shade of a white
oak grove that grew upon the bluff. The original plot was surveyed by Benjamin
Cox and was called Friendship. It also was called Oldtown, Rowdytown, Stillwater
and Newberry before the name of Covington was adopted in 1835. The first
post office was called Stillwater and was located on Wright Street half
way between High and Main on the south side.
Elijah Reagan built the first house on the
lot now occupied by the Eshleman Funeral Home; on the same lot Michael
Ingle built a double log cabin. These two buildings were built about 1816.
John Ingle built a hewed log cabin on the northwest corner of Main and
Wright streets. A small log house was built on the southeast corner of
Main and Wright streets and on the opposite corner someone built a hewed-log
two story house which was never finished and rotted down. On the site now
occupied by the Burk Drug Store, Noah Hanks put up the first store in Newberry
Township which was also the first frame building about 1826.
At the end of ten years, after the platting
and survey, of this town, it had but three families living in it, two vacant
houses, one house, Daniel Wright's had been burnt, and twelve years elapsed
after the town was laid out before a new house was erected. In 1828, Singer
and Hilliard of Piqua built a frame building for a store room which in
1880 was still standing and was the oldest building in the village at that
time. For years Covington was only important in so far as it afforded the
farming community a chance to exchange their products for "cash or
Michael Ingle tanned the first leather, 1819,
and his reputation as a superior workman lived after him. The Hank brothers
established a tannery in 1820 which was known as the Covington Tannery
and was located on the east side of Main Street and just south of the present
armory grounds. Between 1816 and 1817 Phillip Hartzell settled west of
Greenville Falls and was the first to manufacture pumps. Benjamin Lehman
operated the first wool carding machine in the locality and subsequently;
in 1826 Thomas Bolles added a fulling machine to the industries of the
place. An English syndicate of Smiths first built and operated the large
flour mills and distilleries at Greenville Falls. The copper shops were
no small part of their milling interests, working 40 men, while in their
saw mills lathes turned out a large class of miscellaneous wood work. In
fact this was one of the most extensive and flourishing enterprises of
its day in western Ohio, and taken as a whole, represented a large manufacturing
establishment. In 1817 the first distillery was erected and followed by
four in succession and whiskey was floated to New Orleans in considerable
One of the most interesting phases of pioneer
history was the utilization of the country's water power. Our township
has more than its share of streams on which many mill sites existed. The
first to erect mills were Noah Davenport and his brother-inlaw, Wagner.
He purchased a tract of land from Michael Ingle near Harrison Creek and
Stillwater and in 1815 established a grist mill and started to erect a
saw mill. About the same time Jacob Ullery erected a saw mill on Greenville
Creek in the southeast corner of section 30. He also started on a grist
mill. Davenport was first grinding and Ullery was first sawing and both
mills operated many years before another mill was built. In 1820 more settlers
came, mostly from Pennsyvania; Phillip Hartzell Jr., Bob Casper, The Mohlers,
Shellabargers, more Ingles, Kensingers, Hollopeters, Cassels, Wagners and
Wises. They were followed shortly by the Fahnestocks, Crowels, Whitmers
and Hoovers. All these settlers had very large families and any family
with less than twelve was called a small one. In 1825 the Covington Tannery
went out of business and in 1826 was purchased by Benjamin Lehman who operated
it until 1830 when he sold to John Ross. In 1825 Michael Ingle planted
the first wheat and no longer harvested it when the barn caught fire and
burned to the ground.
NEWBERRY TOWNSHIP had not been long settled
when the need was felt for an educational system. The first house for this
purpose was erected at a spot which is now half way between route 36 and
the Highland cemetery, on the west side of the road. It was built in 1815
or 1816 and did not long remain. The second school house was built about
1819 a half-mile farther north on the east side of the road (Highland Cemetery)
and remained long in use. The first teacher in the house was Andrew Ballard.
In other parts of the township school was held in dwelling and vacant cabins,
one being the Trotters Creek settlement where John Barbour and Benjamin
Dunham taught. In 1824 an acre of ground was deeded to Newberry Township
on whicn was built a hewed-log school house. The first teacher in this
building was William Dowler who taught for several years; other early teachers
were James Perry and Moses Mitchell. As the population increased we find
the township divided into districts each having its brick school house
and an acre of ground for recreation. This system prevailed until 1931
when the last building was abandoned for the centralized system. The buildings
were sold at auction, some being used for dwellings, storage, etc. One,
No. 7 was sold to the American Legion for a meeting house.
The Trotters Creek Church was organized in
1820 by Mr. Stackhouse and the meetings were held in homes and barns. Caleb
Worley became its pastor in 1824 and continued as such until 1846 at which
time the congregation merged with the Covington Christian Church.
Meetings of the German Baptist Church were
held as early as 1816 in barns and dwellings under the leadership of Michael
Etter. The Harris Creek Church was built in 1855 due to an increase of
members in that locality. In 1892 the non-progressive branch of the German
Baptists left their church in Covington and built a frame meeting house
east of Covington on the Farrington Road. In 1950 it was torn down and
replaced by a modern brick structure. Prior to this the congregation had
split and part of the m purchased the old number nine school and remodeled
it for their church in 1931.
The Greenville Creek Christian Church was organized
by Caleb Worley in 1843 and their first church was built in 1844, being
replaced in 1882 with the present structure.
The Union Church on the Union Church Road no
longer exists having been recently torn down due to the fact that the building
was no longer safe. This was one of the oldest churches in the township.
The St. Johns Evangelical Church located on
the Shelby Miami County line was organized in 1875 and was mostly served
by the pastor of the Covington Lutheran Church. This church was destroyed
by fire in 1938 and the members united with other Lutheran Churches.
All burials at this time were made in small
family cemeteries or in churchyards, the largest and oldest being that
at Sugar Grove. The family graveyards were very numerous and every section
had two or more. These small cemeteries today are being cared for by the
The growth of Covington in this period was
very slow, the village having only three families in 1826. On August 29,
1828 Robert and William Robertson laid out the plot of New Jefferson which
was a spot between Main and High Streets beginning at the section line
north of the railroad (today) and extending south 57 rods. This was later
added to the Village of Covington.
On the first Monday in April 1835 the first
election was held in Covington which resulted in the election of Gilbert
D. Adams, Mayor, William Robinson, recorder, and Charles Orwan, Joshua
Orr and Thomas McKinzie, trustees (later called councilmen).
On July 11, 1835 a constitution was adopted
and Covington started on its career as a full fledged municipal corporation
of the great commonwealth of Ohio. The officers provided for in the construction
were as follows; mayor, recorder, trustees three, marshall, supervisor
and collector, last three being appointed by the council. On July 30, 1835
seven ordinances were passed providing in many ways for the welfare of
the community. The salaries of the council were fixed at twenty five cents
for each day and twelve and one half cents for each night served in that
Things ran very smoothly until May 3, 1839
when the council imposed the first tax which was twelve and one half cents
per head on swine, over three months old, that were allowed to run at large
throughout the town. This tax created a great howl among the people but
the tax remained.
A re-organization of the corporation
was made in 1850 and on March 22 of that year an act was passed by State
Legislature amending the charter of the village which fixed the corporation
in the 1837 election, the mayor and recorder refused to serve limits and
were fined two dollars each and the council appointed two men to fill their
places. On May 17, 1841 the first ordinance pertaining to side walks in
the village was passed. In 1842 the first hooks and ladders were purchased
for a fire department and the first city fire examiners were appointed.
The office of tax collector. was established this same year with Henry
Carmichael being appointed the first tax collector. In 1945 the council
approved the erection of a bridge at the foot of Pearl Street on Piqua
The mayors of this period were: Gilbert D.
Adams 1835, 1836, and 1837; Samuel Patterson elected in 1837 and refused
to serve; Jeremiah Shade 1838; Noah Dewey 1839; Joseph Leonard 1840; George
Deprees 1841; Andrew Diltz 1842, 1843, 1844, 1845; William Ross 1846; Andrew
Diltz 1847; Joseph Leonard 1848; C. W. Carlton 1849 and James Purdy 1850
but replaced by B. Neff (1850) when the corporation was reorganized. The
councilmen of this day were many but a few held the office for a number
of years; Dr. R.N. Cox six years.; John Patterson six years; John Sowers
six years; William McDowell five years and Hamilton Bartmess four years.
The office of Treasurer was held held by only six men in this period with
Samuel Ullery holding the office five times and Dr. Cox and Andrew Diltz
each three years. The Marshalls were many and only one man held the position
for any length of time, that being Joseph Marlin who was marshall three
years. The office of Recorder also changed hands many times and here, too,
only one man held the office longer than one year, he being James Purdy
who served for four year.
In 1830 the Troy-Greenville Road was, commenced
which was to pass through Covington. This road was mud all the way and
after a short time a few Trojans decided to build a better one. They constructed
a plank road but the plank soon rotted in the swampy ground and forced
the trial of gravel which proved to be a success. This road was finally
completed in 1845 being the first gravel road in the county. It entered
Covington on the east and continued down Wright Street and crossed the
river just north of the present water works building and continued on west
to Greenville. The first road built in Newberry Township was in 1816 but
passed through Clayton to the north, having been the Piqua-Greenville Road.
The Troy-Greenville Road was the first commenced in Covington but not the
In 1838 the businessmen of Dayton, seeing the
importance of the increasing trade of the Stillwater Valley and foreseeing
the danger of its being diverted to the just completed Miami Canal, organized
the Dayton and Covington Turnpike Co., secured stock and began construction
in 1839. When the success of this venture was secure and well under way
Piqua moved to connect themselves with the Dayton-Covington Turnpike in
order to secure the rich farm products from the Stillwater Valley and Darke
Coun ty. They formed a company and bridged the six miles of black swamp
between the Miami and Stillwater Rivers with the Old Covington Pike. The
Dayton and Covington Pike was completed in 1841 and the the Piqua-Covington
Pike joined it in 1843. This made Newberry Township the first in the county
with three turnpikes and gave Covington a daily mail and stage route.
THE BAPTIST CHURCH, the first church erected
in Covington, was built in 1835 where the Shafer and Boehringer Blacksmith
shop now operates. Here also was located the first cemetery in Covington
which was just south of the church and later moved to High land Cemetery.
1836 was a cold summer with frost every month
and a snowstorm in August. The first Methodist Church was erected this
year on Pearl Street but the very next year was destroyed by a huge oak
tree which toppled on the church during a cyclone. School at this time
was held in this church and also in a building on the southeast corner
of High and Broadway.
1837 saw the first school house erected in
the confines of Covington which was a frame structure built on the southwest
corner of Main and Spring Streets. The population of the town increased
rapidly and a few years later larger quarters were needed to conduct classes.
The frame school was sold and a new two story building was build on the
southeast corner of Spring and Pearl Streets' (now Fire House). John and
Ezekiel Ainsworth were the first teachers here. Caleb Worley organized
the Covington Christian Church in a school house this year and the Troy-
Greenville Road was rebuilt.
The Bethel Cumberland Presbyterian Church was
organized in 1838 and the Piqua-Covington Turnpike Co. was formed. This
was also the year of the first Miami County Fair. The largest and most
successful mill was erected at Greenville Falls by George W. Smith and
operated for many years as a grist, saw mill and distillery.
In 1839 work was being done on both turnpikes
and the Dayton- Covington Turnpike was estimated to cost $2,800 per mile.
Aaron Boggs purchased the old Noah Davenport
mills in 1843 from Benjamin Kendall, built another grist mill farther up
on Harrisons Creek and a lath mill on the northwest corner of Route 48
and the Iddings Road. He and his son built another or possibly two others
on a long race which parralleled the Stillwater on the east.
The first Christian Church was built on North
Pearl Street in 1846 and in 1848 a charter was granted to the Masonic Lodge.
In the next few years more mills came into existence; John Cable's mills
on Greenville Creek, David Croft's mill (1830) on down from Cables; the
Clayton mills on upper Stillwater, the Murphy mill site south of Covington
and the Swisher Hartzell Grist Mill.
Among the many enterprises of Newberry was
that of quarrying, both banks of the Stillwater River being underlaid with
a good quality of Limestone. Beginning at the north of the township the
first location was the lime kilns at Clayton. Coming south, the next was
in the present bounds of Covington on the east banks, extending from Broadway
to the south corporation line and destroyed all of old Water Street. It
was owned by David Face. Across the river from Covington was a large quarry
operated by David Martin. A Covington stone quarry operated south of town
and J. M. Ruhl owned a quarry and lime Kiln near the south edge of Covington;
also Levi Falknor had a quarry on his farm along the Stillwater. Many of
the buildings in Covington have been built on foundations of native stone
and laid with mortar made with burnt lime. Thousands of stone were shipped
out on the railroads in the next decades. A loading platform existed in
later years west of the present Covington Motor Inn and on the north side
of the track. After cement and concrete block come into use, the quarries
were abandoned, many parts of them having been filled.
The average pioneer seemed to see no impropriety
in patronizing the local distilleries. It was customary to see the whisky
bottle accompany the water jug on occasion where a few neighbors were called
together. From 1840 to 1850 a strong temperance sentiment developed and
in a very few years whiskey ceased to be furnished on public occasions.
In the early days wolves were very abundant
and very destructive but under the stimulus of a $3.00 bounty per wolf
scalp they became extinct about 1830. Bears were seldom seen after 1835
but panthers were seen occasionsly unti1 1860. Deer became extinct about
1855 and wild turkeys were deceasing rapidly by 1870. In 1850 the second
Methodist Church was erected at Pearl and Spring Streets: also the advent
of carpets to some of the people of Covington and the year that white granulated
sugar first came on the markets.
The year l850 found Covington with a populationof
451 and served by Mayor B. Neff, Recorder James Purdy, and Councilmen Jonathan
Looker, Hamilton Bartmess, William McDowell, C. W. Carlton and C. M. Gross.
Covington had three doctors; R. N. Cox, M.
R. Shellabarger and S. N. Eaker; four general stores: M. R. Shellabarger
(Streibs), L. Leonard (Pool Room), A. Routson (Burks) and William Minton
(Citizens National Bank). There were two grocery stores; J. B. Dunning
(Bob's Gulf Station) and Peter Nicoloy at the southwest corner of Spring
C. H. Ditzler & Dreese tailors (Flory Ins.),
J. E. Shellenberger groceries and hardware (Maes), Hamilton Bartmess' harness
shop (Building and Loan), J. C. Williams livery stables at northeast corner
of Thompson and High, W. L. Fahnestock had a pump and cradle factory (Crawford's)
and James Purdy operated a chair and cabinet factory at the present Etter
There were two hotels; J. N. Newman on the
southwest corner of Bridge and High and the Mansion House owned by Daniel
Lehman where the old hotel building is now located at the foot of the hill
on High Street. The post office was on the southeast corner of Wright and
High; William Robinson was the notary public, Joseph Hilliard ran a tavern
and John C. Langston and Phillip Hartzell were carpenters.
AFTER 1850 all business of a permanent or temporary
character confined to High Street and all the more aristocratic people
lived on that street. It was customary in this period for all merchants
to carry a general stock of merchandise including a barrell of old rye,
served to customers in good sized glass tumblers. In those days boys were
stout and rugged; good runners, hoppers, wrestlers and boxers; and the
girls lacked but little of being their equal. There was Joe Ullery who
dealt in merchandise and hogs, Daniel Crowell in whose fence was a big
hole and a little hole to accomodate the big dog and the little dog coming
in and out; Doctor Harrison, Pete Nicholay whose place of business was
always known by the smell of "New Orleans Sugar". Pete kept and
sold as many as nine kinds of whiskey all out of the same barrel; Lew Leonard
and Ab Routson were the toniest merchants in town; Daniel Lehmans livery
stable, Dr. Shortell, who took pictures and pulled teeth; Berry Dunning
sold cheese, dried herring and sold lemonade; John Sowers burned lime,
quarried stone, bought wheat and corn and swapped horses; Charley Gross
repaired wagons and carriages and Diltz and Son used to peg soles on rough
Hamilton Bartmess kept and sold leather and
harness; Squire Widener kept the post office and sold merchandise; George
Porter, the violinist; Charles, Aaron and Bill Lindsay owned and operated
large distilleries and did an extensive business; Mr. Rankins blacksmith
shop; John Newman, who always wore a scissor-tail coat and high double
decker hat, kept a tavern and sold good red liquor; Henry Bowman had no
equal as a fiddler; Jack Shade hero of two wars; Mr. Paff who repaired
clocks and watches down near the bridge to West Covington; Campbells' Mills
on Greenville Creek where the first suicide in Covington was committed
by Charles Patty; Charlie Cartwright the Confederate and a tailor; Dave
Martin a lawyer and best looking man in Covington; Tom Clark the Englishman;
the Schillings from way back; Christ Dunkle and Sam Kensinger, millers;
Dutch Wagner who carried on a miscellaneous nickle-in-the-slot business
on Main Street; Tom Hill, David Brandenburgh and Jim McBride drove oxen
and horses for the Smith Mills; The Murrays, Simes and Perrys all well-known
families; Henry Etter who was the first and only man to swim over Greenville
Falls, doing so stark naked and sliding 300 feet; the first murder about
1840 when Greenlee killed Tice, who kept the two-mile tavern stand west
of town and rented the building from Greenlee; Davie Croft who built, owned,
operated and controlled many water grist mills, saw mills and farm; the
Toblases, Weigles, Jakes and Cassels, all prominent families; George Sipes
the stoutest man in Newberry; the colored barber "Nigger Bill,"
also a good fiddler and runner; Mr. Purdy who sold coffins, chairs and
furniture in the days when you were measured for a coffin, and Esquire
Joe Marlin who contributed largely to the legal and civil history of Covington,
also Squire John Shuman.
Thomas Worley sold drugs and medicine; Joshua
Orr burned lime and quarried stone; Squire Branson, the Republican Party
leader; William Reisner carpenter and wheelwright; Old Man Lokie and son,
Al, kept a tavern, balky horses and drove the stage lines. Starting on
the Piqua turnpike at the west end of town and going west the first house
was Old Man Stephenson's, an old crippled sailor who taught school in the
township district for, many years'; next house going west was occupied
by Abe Olewine whose wife, a Tobias, fed all the boys wonderful cakes,
pies, bread and apple butter; a quarter mile farther west old man Corbin
kept and operated the drop pole at the toll gate; Jake Tobias occupied
the next place and Henry Etter the next; one and one half miles west of
town stood the old Botdorf blacksmith shop operated by Botdorf and Kinsey
who also made guns; next was Louis Yingst, another blacksmith; further
on was Yacob Yengling and the next was the two mile tavern stand first
operated by Jack Shade's father, next by Greenlee and from him to Tice
whom he killed, and from Greenlee to Clingenpeel then to Abe Hoover and
finally to Jacob Zimmerman who bought the farm and discontinued the tavern
stand which had operated for more than forty years.
On May 23, 1849 a stock company was organized
to build a railroad from Columbus to Covington and in October of that year
a vote was taken and passed and Newberry Township decided on the proposition
of taking $10,000 of stock in the Columbus, Piqua and Indiana Railroad.
This railroad was completed to the Darke and Miami County line late in
1852 and completed: to Union City in 1859. The original name Columbus,
Piqua and Indiana Railroad was changed to the Pittsburgh, Columbus and
St. Louis Railroad, later to the Pittsburgh Columbus Chicago and St. Louis
Railroad, then to the Chicago Columbus and St. Louis Railroad and finally
became part of the Pennsylvania Railroad system. Originally the railroad
was to pass farther north of Covington but local citizens raised a sum
of money (said to be $1,000) to induce the construction to touch the village
with a depot site to be furnished at the present Armory site, being donated
by Benjamin Lehman. This railroad entered Covington directly behind the
Drees coal yard and angled southwest behind the Lumber Yard and the Brooks
Service Station on Broadway. It crossed present route 36 about half way
between Pearl Street and High Street and then paralleled Broadway to the
river, where it crossed about 60 feet south of the present highway bridge.
During the construction of the railroad through Covington, the work was
done by several hundred Irish laborers. At this time there came to Piqua
the Robinson Circus, which had also, as laborers, a large group of Irishmen.
Subsequently, a "holiday" was declared by the railroad Irish
to attend the circus and enroute to the gala affair, several of them became
highly inebriated and engaged the circus Irish in a clanish war which resulted
in a badly mangled railroad crew. Two days later, as the Robinson Circus
attempted to pass through Covington near the Drees Coal Yard, the railroad
Irish lay in wait with pick handles and a burning desire for revenge but
when John Robinson, the circus owner, threatened to loose the lions and
tigers from their cages, the circus passed, unmolested.
The railroad was standard gauge and the engines
were wood burners. Ballast was gravel taken from the premises of Fort Buchanan.
This railroad, operating on the ground level, existed until 1907.
In March 1862 the Richmond and Covington Railroad
Company was formed, by several Miaimi and Darke County men among whom were
Henry Kitchen, John Gill, John Sowers and John Bradley. These men constructed
a railroad from the end of the Piqua, Columbus and Indiana Railroad, a
few miles west of Covington, to Richmond, Indiana where they joined with
the Indiana Central Railroad at the state line. Early in the spring of
1870, Jack Spade, a daredevil engineer, came speeding across the streets
of Covington, thundered down the grade and was soon over Main Street where
Jot Kensinger was driving the family cow across the street. Spade, perceiving
the animal, opened wide the throttle, trying to throw the cow clear of
the tracks but unluckily, the "cow catcher" did not remove the
obstruction, the cow rolling under the fire box and serving to raise the
engine off the rails as it approached the river bridge. Spade and the fireman
jumped clear of the train as it piled into the river on the south side
of the bridge but the brakeman stayed with the train and was crushed by
In 1853 the most violent wind and rainstorm
of the half century occurred, the following year the wheat crop was a total
loss having been destroyed by the weevil. 1856-1857 was a very cold winter
in which it was still below freezing until May 12 and the apple trees did
not bloom until the last week in May. In 1859 it frosted on June 5, July
3 and 4 and August 29 In 1863 a hurricane hit Covington and the mercury
dropped from 75 degrees to 17 degrees below zero in 10 hours.
Harris Creek Church was built in 1855 and this
same year the first Lutheran Church was started in a rented building at
the corner of High and Dodd Streets. By 1860 the population had increased
from 451 in 1850 to 791, a gain of 340, and school was still being held
in the present fire house and in dwellings.
THE FIRST MEETING of the Covington Cemetery
Association was held December 25, 1861 in the store of Flockemer and Kensinger
at which time the following temporary officers were elected: W. M. Fahnestock,
Pres.; J. L. Purdy, Sec.; and J. R. Shuman Treasurer. They purchased five
and one half acres at eighty dollars per acre from David Ingle, and commenced
selling lots at five dollars each. This plot originally was the Ingle family
burying ground. In 1864 the old cemetery at the Baptist Church was moved
to Highland Cemetery, and in 1900 David Face presented the stone and iron
entrance as a gift to the cemetery.
Currently the cemetery embraces 25 acres and
contains approximately 5000 bodies. The avenues or streets in the cemetery
are named with names of trees and flowers. About 1890 the grounds were
given the name of Highland Cemetery. The cemetery is operated solely by
funds from burials and the sale of lots. The present board members are
C. E. Koon, Chairman: Roger O'Donnell sec-treas.; Ed Boehringer; Robert
Perry and Frank Hartle, who are elected and serve without compensation.
Tbe Highland Mausoleum Association was organized
December 29, 1912 and elected the first board of trustees composed of:
W. V. Swisher, A. B. Bashore, Jacob Kendall, A. F. Mikesell and Ben Loxley
Jr. The Mausoleum was erected in 1912. Present trustees are O. L. Hoover,
Pres.; Blanche Hedirck, Mary Wine and Mrs. L. W. Kendell. Revenue is derived
from the sale of crypts and the Mausoleum Association pays the Cemetery
Board each year for caretaker service. The total number of crypts is 112
and at presen t 42 are filled and 70 empty.
CIVIL WAR; On that memorable day in April
1861 when the old flag was struck by traitor hands and a semicircle of
hostile batteries converged their fire on Sumpter, compelling its surrender,
and firing souls to revenge the deed brought Miami County to the front.
In a single day the. Covington Blues had enrolled and responded to,the
President's call. A second day saw them at Columbus swiftly organized as
Company I, Second Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
The number of soldiers raised in Miami County
by the two calls were nearly 4,500 men. These men enlisted in various branches,
chiefly the 110th, Eleventh, Forty Fourth, Seventy First, Ninety Fourth,
147th Ohio Infantry. Newberry Township sent more able bodied vigorous young
men to the war than any township of its size in the United States.
The Covington Blues were organized in 1850
with Jack Langston captain, Jack Shade 1st lieutenant and Dave Martin 2nd
lieutenant. After leaving Columbus in 1861 they went to Washington where
they were formed into Company E of the Eleventh Regiment O. V. M.
The officers at this time were Jack Langston,
captain; Jack Shade, 1st lieutenant and "Hi" Moore, 2nd lieutenant.
The Covington Blues fought at South Mountain, Antietam Creek, Bull Ran,
Monocacy, Sharpsburgh, Nashville, Chattanooga, Gordons Mills, Mission Ridge,
Rocky Face, Buzzards Roost, Resaca and were mustered out of the service
June 26, 1864.
A paper of national scope had its birth in
Covington in 1866 when Elder James Quinter of the Church of the Brethren
began printing a paper which he called "The Gospel Visitor",
today published in Elgin, Illinois as "The Gospel Messenger".
This was the first printing and publishing house in Covington and was located
where the Wright Merchandise Mart now stands.
The inadequate quarters and scattered situations
of the schools impelled the Board of Education to build in 1867-1868 a
three story brick house upon the site now occupied by the present structure.
It contained 10 school rooms and a large hall and was built at a cost of
$10,000. The Board of Education at that time was J. C. Ullery, Isaac Shirtzer,
Hamilton Bartmess, Lewis Leonard, M. R. Shellabarger and Michael Bashore.
In November of 1868 Supt. R. F. Bennett, with his four teachers, moved
into this splendid building and the next year the sixth teacher was added.
Two years later the Covington Schools graduated nine members. This first
graduating class was composed of: Ermina Cable (Mrs. H. H. Bear), Belle
Routson (Mrs. J. T. Bartmess), Belle Quinter (Mrs. Rev. Myers), Hattie
Billingsley (Mrs. Robert Harwood), Angie Harrison (Mrs. B. F. Rhodehamel),
A. F. Hickman, J. W. Reisner, A. L. Marlin and R. W. Himes.
In 1869 the First Church of the Brethren was
built within the village of Covington at Main and Ullery Streets and in
the same year J. R. Shuman laid out West Covington which was that portion
west of the river and southwest of the village. This part of town never
has entered the corporate limits. (The population of Covington in 1870
was 1,010). 1870 is marked as the year the first newspaper was printed
in Covington. Mr. S. W. Ely started the Stillwater Valley Gazette but sold
it in 1874, to William A. Brown who changed the name to the Covington Gazette.
The Stillwater Valley Gazette was first printed on the second floor of
the Widner Building, (Shafer's) later moving to the second story of the
building where the bank stands today. Mr. Brown later moved the Covington
Gazette to the third floor of the Shellabarger Building, now Streibs.
The Stillwater Valley Bank started as a private
institution in 1871 but was not incorporated as a state bank until 1908.
The first officers of the institution, as a state bank, were: Jacob Kendall,
Pres., A. C. Cable, Cashier, A. J. Maier, assist ant cashier. It closed
during the depression of 1931 and never reopened. The last officers were;
R. F. Alberry, president, Levi Warner, vice president; A. J. Maier, cashier;
Robert Weikert, assistant cashier; C. C. Maier, W. S. Routzahn and Herbert
Kendall were board members.
1871; J. M. and S. M. Mohler manufactured
drain tile; S. W. Ely was editor of the Stillwater Gazette; Leonard Ullery
and Kinsinger proprietors of a grist mill and dealers in flour and grain;
David Diltz auctioneer; J. Murlon, Justice of the Peace; G. W . Rauch,
tanner and dealer in hides; Rush Reynolds, postmaster and operator of a
grocery, confectionary and bakery; Dr. R. J. Poisons, proprietor of The
North American Health Institute and Jacob Mohler operated a grist and saw
mill. The corporation limits of the town were about the same as today,
except for the east which was approximately on Grant Street.
1875; marked the building of the second Lutheran
Church which was erected at the corner of Wall and Bridge Street. The 1875
bussiness directory was; W. A. Brown, publisher; H. H. Baer, merchant mill;
J. B. Dunning, groceries; Harrison Fisher, merchant; N. W. Furnas, building
stone and lime; George Kreighbaum, blacksmith; Joseph Marlin, Justice of
the Peace; Hiram Moore, plasterer; Rush Reynolds, postmaster and groceries;
J. W. Ruhl, stone and lime dealer, Jack Shade, bricklayer and Samuel Wiley,
REDMAN, which was a portion of the town lying
on the hillside west of High Street, starting at the north corporation
line and runniing, south 500 feet, was plotted Feb. 19, 1877 by J. R. Shuman
and entered the city March 27, 1885.
The German Baptist Mutual Insurance Company
was formed in 1879 and the Dayton, Covington and Toledo Railroad (narrow
gauge) was incorporated. This railroad was later known as the Delphos division
of the C. H. & D. and it was at one time owned by John Ringling of
circus fame. The railroad entered the village of Covington on the southeast
corner just east of the present Sellman apartments, continued north past
the tobacco warehouse, hub and spoke factory and ran down what is now Grant
Street, cutting a cross the present high school's front yard and passing
between Rudy's elevator and another tobacco warehouse. The depot sat at
the site of the present school. The rail road crossed the Piqua Turnpike,
continued west of the Covington Lumber Co. and on north. It crossed route
48 on the Ebberts farm and followed the Stillwater river for awhile passing
through Blue, Abe Station, Bloomer and on north. It was made standard gauge
in 1891. Last train was in the early 1920's.
By 1880 the population had increased to 1,459,
the first fire engine was purchased, the voters went to the April elections
in sleighs and Mr. Brown sold the Covington Gazette, to R. and W. F. Cantwell.
In 1882 the "Old Order Dunkards" split off from the Brethren
Church and a new Greenville Creek Church was erected.
1883 saw a complete crop failure, the crops
being planted late combined with a bad year and a killing frost on Sept.
9. The next spring (1884) a killing frost occurred on May 29. In 1886 the
Covington Building and Loan was organized and the present Presbyterian
Church was erected. The Lewis Woolen Mills in West Covington started manufacturing
blankets in 1887. It changed hands in 1917 and was called the Covington
Woolen Mill Conipany, and later in 1930 went completely out of business.
By 1890 the population had increased to 1,779
and the business directory was as follows: A. Routson & Co., dry goods;
Cozzens and Brown, dry goods; A. Dreese and Co., dry goods; J. W. Lyle,
Conrad Kriegbaum, W. C. Shuman, Richeson and Ullery, Ed Simes, A. B. Stapp,
all groceries; T. A. Worley and son and Ratcliff and Dollinger, drug stores;
flouring mills were J. S. Mohler and E. Kendell and Son; stone quarries
were operated by G. W. Butt, J. W. Ruhl, Lewis Face, Charles Barringer
and David Martin; two lumber companies were Dreese Brothers and the Joseph
Murphy Lumber Co.; meat markets were C. E. Fashner, C. W. Schmidt and Will
Yount, millinery stores, Mrs. S. Townsend. Miss Mina Purdy and Mrs. Richard
Schilling; bakeries were C. W. DeWeese and Charles Eberenz; F. W. Weeks
was photographer of the Elite Studio; blacksmiths were G. W. Speelman,
Henry Tucker, D. M. Lauver. Louis Speelman, Al DeWeese, and Coate and Shafer;
Thomas Fine operated a feed store; the livery stables were T. P. Covault
and Son (Empire Livery), O. McGowen and Son, and Fosdick and Gross; grain
houses were Baer and McClary, Shuman, and Sowers and Co.; tailors were
Ruhl and Fennemore, John Belser, Harry Fox; the bank was the Stillwater
Valley Bank; Hotels were Central Hotel, Hill House and Leland Hotel; two
dairies were operated by Matt Himes and L. D. Falknor; nurseries were B.
F. Albaugh, Mesh Cassel and Harry Fox; Greely Furnas was the coal oil dealer;
I. A. Corwin was superintendent of the gas works and telephone company;
Henry Staley and J. B. Metzger ran harness shops; the attorneys were William
Freshour and J. H. Marlin; saloons were operated by Samuel Hoeflich, J.
M. Popp, Henry Schloss and Gottleib Warner; The Whitmer Brothers Company
and the Cincinnati Furniture Company were the two undertakers and furniture
dealers; John Geyer and Wesley Anderson were the barbers; John S. Dollinger
was postmaster and the Covington Gazette was the town's newspaper. R. F.
Bennett was school superintendent and R. W. Himes was principal. Teachers
were Z. L. Ramsey, Bella Dorsey, Agnes Flammer, Lola Fahnestock, Effie
Kinney, Meda Westfall and Kate Marlin The school board was Jacob Kendall,
A. S. Rosenbarger, J. R. Shuman, M. Maier, C. Finfrock and A. C. Hall.
Some of the factories were: Hub and Spoke factory
owned by J. G. Wagner and Joshua Grubb; the Brandt Machine Shop started
in 1879 (burned down in 1902) and was located where the Brethren Parsonage
now stands, here also William Boggs manufactured pin cushions and spool
racks; J. G. Wagner Brick and Tile Factory; Fahnestock and Westfall pump
factory; C. M. Gross Buggy Works; M. Maiers Buggy Works; Maiers Brush Shop;
Elijah Hill manufactured Proprietary Medicines and the Covington Maunfacturing
Company on North High Street operated by William Boggs, manufactured lawn
swings. The largest of the factories was the hub and spoke factory which
employed 40 men who turned out 1200 rims and 2500 spokes each week and
made 2000 hub blocks each day.
In 1895 Judge Dwyer of Dayton, in conjunction
with Colonel Orr of Piqua, promoted gas service to the city of Dayton from
wells on the Judge's farm where natural gas was first found in Western
Ohio (near North Star.) The lines were laid thru Covington and branch lines
served Piqua and Troy. It was organized as the Miami Valley Gas and Fuel
Company and furnished gas to the consumers unmetered until the field near
North Star diminished. When the supply became insufficient, lines were
laid to connect the existing lines with a field at Red Key, Indiana. This
supply also soon dwindled and connections were made with a strong supply
discovered at Sugar Creek in southeastern Ohio. About this time all the
small companies were taken over and reorganized and became known as the
Ohio Fuel Gas and Supply Co., which is a subsidiary of the Colurnbia Gas
System from which source we receive our supply now, supplemented by a supply
of Texas gas, the distribution being made through the Dayton Power and
On January 15, 1896 it was decided by a vote
of the people to build a new school house in place of the one existing
which had been condemned. The old building was torn down and the grounds
prepared for the erection of the new structure, which is the present grade
building. The schools first entered this building on January, 18, 1897.
In 1897 R. M. Alberry and sons built
a dam across Greenville Creek about one and one eighth miles from Covington
at which site they constructed a power plant where the 28 foot water fall
turned the generator to supply the first electric power to Covington. This
plant was one of the first hydroelectric plants in the state and later
furnished electricity to Pleasant Hill, Ludlow Falls and a number of rural
lines. In 1911 the organization was incorporated as the Buckeye Light and
Power Co. with J. H. Marlin of Covington as president, T. Russell Robinson
of Boston as secretary-treasurer, and R. F. Alberry of Covington as general
superintendent. The Buckeye Light and Power Company promoted and built
the first rural electric lines in the United States and filed first rates
with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio for the construction and operation
of rural lines. About 1927 or 1928 the Buckeye disposed of their property
to the United Public Service Company of Chicago. This company in turn was
absorbed by the Dayton Power and Light Company who now own the property.
The Covington Tribune was established in 1898
by J. H. Marlin and O. W. Yount. Mr. Yount stayed one year and sold his
interest to his partner. In l905 J. H. Marlin sold to a brother, A. L.
Marlin and his son W. L. Marlin.
In the year 1900 the population increased to
1,791, the Crampton and Sons Boiler Works went out of business, as did
the Cresent and Metallic Fence Stay Company; the Citizens National Bank
was organized and the Covington Home Telephone Company was started. Some
of the businesses in 1900 were; Covington Gazette, Covington Tribune, Covington
Woolen Mills, Wagner Tile and Brick Yard, Covington Flouring Mills, Sugar
Grove Flouring Mills, The J. W. Ruhl quarries, C. H. Jackson quarries,
Dreese Saw Mills, R. M. Alberry Saw Mills, C. T. Dreese Talcum Powder Co.,
Covington Lumber Company, Covington Telephone Company, Falls Electric Light
Company and the Covington Steam Laundry, Covington Building and Loan and
Lodges were: Masonic Lodge; I. O.O. F., Mildred
Lodge; Langston Post G. A. R., Camp S. of V.; Amokee Tribe I. O.
R. M.; Demoiselle Council D. of P.; Patrons of Husbandry; Stillwater
Lodge K. of P.; Stillwater Grange and the Order of the Gobblers.
The mayors of this period were: B. Neff (1850),
Joseph Marlin (1851, 1852), William Robinson (1853), Thomas Anderson (1854),
C. H. Gross (1855), William Robinson (1856), Charles Wild (1857), Isaac
Sherzer (1858). No dates can be found for the years 1859 to 1871. but the
following men held the office: William Couffer, Thomas Worley, W. G. Bryant,
Isaac Sherzer, David Diltz and J. L. Smart. John V. Griffen (1871, 1872,
1873), Adam Minnich (1874- 1876, 1876-1878, 1880-1882, 1882-1884), David
Diltz (1870, 1878- 1880), D. C. Shellabarger (1884-1886 ), J. H. Marlin
(1886-1888), S. C. Sisson (1888-1890), D. J. Martin (1890-1892-1894), S.
D. Palmer (1894-1896, 1896-1898, 1898-1900), and M. H. Nill (1900- 1902).
Those serving on the council during this period
were: James Fahnestock, John Patterson, Charles Gross, C. W. Carlton, Hamilton
Bartmess, R. H. Neely, James Purdy, John Sowers, R. N. Cox, W. Fahnestock,
L. H. Anderson, Daniel Lehman, John Harrison, Joshua Orr, Johnson Huggins,
William McDowell, John Whitmer, William Holsinger, J. R. Shuman, James
Campbell, G. F. Buchanan, Thomas Marlin, Henry Langston, Joseph Albaugh,
Thomas Latchford, Thomas Worley, William Minton, Jacob Widner, John Smart,
J. A. Corwin , D. C. Shellabarger, O. Rankin, George Davidson, Rush Reynolds,
J. W. Ruhl, Adam Weaver, J. R. Kauffman, David Diltz, John Keister, Ezekiel
Boggs, Conrad Neth, Charles Westhaven, C. Wysong, Conrad Shefbuch, Francis
Dills, Jacob Kendall, Martin Stienhilb er, G. Neth, A. L. Marlin, Michael
Maier, L. H. Kensinger, James Latchford, E. D. Simes, Richard Brandon,
Charles Boehringer, G. W. Butt, Maddison Kendell, Clark Adams, Jacob Wagner,
T. P. Covault, S. D. Palmer, A. M. Ruhl, S. W. Ullery, Alden Boggs, W.
H. Richeson, William Day, J. C. Ullery, George Dreese, Jacob Tobias, Lee
Dollinger, Ephram Pearson, Charles Boyer, Thomas Marlin, L. H. Coate, Oliver
Younce, E. S. Mohler, J. V. Metzger, J. Guy O'Donnell, E. W. Gross, Alex
Brandon, G. W. VanAtta, W. W. R outson, and Lon Conover.
The city marshalls were: Daniel Lehman (1851),
C. B. Maury (1852), William Porter (1853), Jackson Shade (1854), David
Diltz (1855,1856), Phil Hartzell (1857), B. Gilbens (1858), none available
1859 to 1871; Abraham Fisher (1872, 1873), George Speelman (1874, 1875,
1876-1878, 1880-1882), William Gavin (1878, 1879, 1884-1898), Jacob Tobias
(1898-1900). In 1898-1900 William Gavin served as township constable. Harvey
Hake was appointed marshall and night watch in 1901.
The officers in the year 1900 were: M. H. Nill,
mayor; W. H. Richeson, clerk; C. M. Gross, treasurer, Jacob Tobias, marshall;
Alex Brandon, street commissioner; and councilmen were Oliver Younce, C.
Shafer, Harry Furnas, Lon Conover, Clark Adams and J. V. Metzger.
Some highlights of the council meetings: In
1852 the council approved the erection of a market house which was built
by Sam Barnhardt on ground purchased from James Fahnestack. This market
house was made of frame and was 40 feet long, 18 feet wide and 16 feet
to the eaves. 1853 saw a dry ordinance passed prohibiting anyone selling
intoxicating beverages in quantities less th an one quart except the taverns
and drug stores. In 1854 an ordinance was passed to elect the marshall,
treasurer and supervisor instead of the heretofore appointments. In 1856
the market house was sold to Lewis Face. 1870 was the first election for
st reet commissioners. 1873 was the first election for fire wardens. 1872
the ditch or branch running through town was constructed and Wall and Pearl
Streets first graded. On December 2, 1874 the council voted to purchase
20 globe gaslight lamps from the Globe Gas Light Company of Boston, Mass.,
not to include posts and baskets. These were the first street lamps and
were purchased for $17.00 per lamp. The first lamp lighter was, Maddison
Kendall, appointed in December 1874. In 1887 the council created a Board
of Health with Dr. Reinhart in charge. In 1889 a permit was granted by
the council to the Dayton Natural Gas Company to lay gas lines in the village
of Covington. In. 1896 the first, electric light contract was made between
the city and W. A . Shelt and W. H. Deeter on April 15. Also in this year
the position of city solicitor was created. On June 9, 1898 the council
passed a resolution to build a bandstand. 1901 the council ruled that all
future sidewalks must be concrete.
The last 25 years of the 19th century saw the
city officials very busy improving and creating the fire department, making,
improving, grading and graveling the streets, erecting and maintaining
street lights, and building sidewalks, gutters, sewers and ditches. The
railroads came, schools were built, fire department was organized, population
was increasing and there was considerable talk for several years for a
IN JULY 1901, The Dayton, Covington, and Piqua
Traction Line was started and in October of 1902 the first cars entered
the village. This electric railroad entered Covington at the South corporation
line and followed High street north to the intersectio n of the Greenville
Turnpike where it turned east and followed the Piqua Pike (route 36) to
Piqua. The depot stood on the southeast corner of the intersection.
On March 10, 1903, the village council approved
the construction of the Covington, Bradford and Versailles Traction Line
which was to be called route 2 and joined the D. C. & P. Traction .
Line at the intersection of High and Broadway. This electric railroad never
The Covington Water Works was first conceived
in the summer of 1903. Test wells were drilled and land secured during
the fall and actual construction started in 1904 with virtual completion
in the spring of 1903. Superintendents of the water works have been: Charles
Rudy (1905-1936), John Hecker (1936-1940, Alva Mutzner (1941-1942), C.
D. Kellenbarger (1942-1949) and Leslie Zimmerman appointed in 1949 and
still serving in that capacity. The water works is governed by the Board
of Trustees of Public A ffairs, a three member board duly bonded and elected
for a term of two years. (The current board is composed of C. E. Peiffer,
C. R. Crawford and W. C. Flory.) Operation and maintenance costs are financed
by water rents collected quarterly. Water rates are established by the
board and adjusted when necessary with the view of meeting regular operating
expenses with a surplus sufficient to meet the requirements of equipment
replacement. Currently, the village receives its water from three artesian
wells (a fourth held for reserve) approximately 50 feet deep. The average
24 hour pumping to 835 metered customers is 300,000 gallons distributed
from two water towers.
The Village Council on February 12, 1906, passed
an ordinance permiting the P. C. C. & St. L. RR to construct a new
railroad through Covington about one block north of the original tracks,
said railroad to be elevated and to cross Main, High, Pearl and Wall streets
with overhead bridges. Consruction was started in 1906 by the Hoover-Kinnear
Co. and the railroad was completed in 1907. A brick depot was erected on
the south side of the overhead on the west side of High street but has
since been torn down.
On May 12, 1907, Miss Florence Floyd was shot
and killed near the present residence of Lawrence Supinger on West Broadway
by Danny Dallulio, a worker for the Hoover-Kinnear Co. Dalltilio then attempted
suicide but lived to be convicted and died in the State Pen Hospital.
1913 Flood; During the latter part of March,
1913, rain came in torrential quantity for four days in succession and
toward evening of Monday, March 24, the water had reached flood crest.
The 1913 flood caused property loss in Covington of $50,000 although no
lives were lost. Total loss to the Miami Valley was 361 lives and $66,765,574.
By a vote of 283 to 249, in a special election,
the village voted to stay "Wet" in 1916. The Armory was built
just before Company A was called to the Mexican Border. They were sent
first to Camp Willis, Ohio on July 3, 1916, moved in September to El Paso,
Texas where they remained until March of 1917.
On January 17, 1917, Marshal Harvey Hake was
shot and killed by Bert Warren, alias Bert Clark at the present site of
Weaver's Barber Shop, which was at that time a pool room. Warren was convicted
and died in the electric chair.
WORLD WAR 1; Company A left El Paso, Texas
and entered Fort Benjamin Harrison to be mustered out but as world war
was imminent, the order was recalled. After a short stay at Fort Benjamin
Harrison, they were sent to Ohio on guard duty. On August 14, 1917 they
were ordered to Camp Sherman near Chillicothe and later became part of
the 148th Infantry, 37th Division, U. S. Army. They were also stationed
at Camp Sheriden (Montgomery, Ala.) and Camp Lee at Petersburgh, Virginia.
On June 23, 1918, they embarked for overseas service on the U. S. S. Susquehanna
and on July 5, 1918 landed at Brest, France and a short time later were
detailed for. service on the Alsace- Lorraine front. They also served at
Vosges Mountains, Robert- Espange, Verdun, Meuse-Argonne, St. Mihiel, St.
Jean, Weltje, Belgium, Olsene, Bellow Wood and Ypres. They returned to
the United States March 28, 1919 and were discharged in April of that year.
From this period on, the village grew rapidly
and as the population increased, the town expanded with it. In 1931 the
present high school building was erected and equipped at a cost of $140,000,
a sum which was stretched to the limit and necessitated buying secondhand
equipment such as the present seats in the gymnasium which were taken from
May's Opera House in Piqua. Once again our schools are inadequate, currently
absorbing 839 pupils, 439 being transported from rural districts by six
school buses. The administrative and teaching staff totals 29 and in 1952
the cost of administration was $175,135.41. The schools are governed by
the Board of Education, a 5 member body, duly elected to serve terms of
four years at a compensation of $3.00 per meeting, not to exceed 12 meetings
a year. Present board members are: Helen Etter, clerk, Leslie Zimmerman,
William Trembly, Kermit Stade, and Clarence Millhouse. J. L. Baker is Superintendent
of schools, and Louis Apwisch, principal.
The local contingent of the Ohio National Guard
was mustered into federal service October 21, 1940 and trained at Camp
Shelby, Miss. before serving in World War 11. The company was again federalized
in January of 1952 and sent to Camp Polk, La. to train for service in the
The present sewer system, formerly owned and
operated by three independent companies, was combined in 1942 when the
treatment plant was constructed, and has been under the control of the
Board of Public Affairs since that time. The cost of construction of the
plant and the tie-in of sewers was financed jointly by the PWA and sale
of general taxation bonds, but before completion it was discovered that
these funds were insufficient, and $17,000.00 in mortgage revenue bonds
were sold. The debt as of December 31, 1952 was $17,000.00 in general taxation
bonds and $7,000.00 in mortgage revenue bonds.
Rates are established by the Board so as to
provide sufficient funds for operating and maintenance, and retirement
of the revenue bonds as they become due. Until the revenue bonds are paid
in full, it is illegal to use funds received for sewage treatment for any
purpose other than operating expense, maintenance and repair, and bond
retirement. Sewer extensions cannot be made with funds received from this
City officials since the turn of the century have been;
1901---H. Nill, mayor; G. Dreese, H. Furnas,
J. Metzger, O. Younce, C. Shafer and Lon Conover were councilmen.
1902---Election Results---N. H. Nill, mayor;
J. G. Wagner, L. Simes, and E. Furnas, councilmen (only three elected).
Harvey Hake was appointed marshal and served in that capacity until his
death in 1917.
1903---Election---N. H. Nill, mayor; L. Simes,
J. Metzger, Charles Boehringer, Jacob Kendell, D. D. Wine, and O. M. Finfrock.
J. Guy O'Donnell was appointed solicitor.
1904---Election---John Weaver, Hamilton Bartmess,
and Albert Miller to the council.
1905---Election---R. F. Alberry, mayor; A.
W. Minton, John Bashore and Forrest Hoover, councilmen.
1906---Officials were---R. F. Alberry, mayor;
Dan Knoop, Forrest Hoover, John Bashore, A. W. Minton, John Weaver and
Albert Miller. From this point on, a full council was elected every two
1907---Election---N. H. Nill, mayor; William
Swisher, Willis Minton, Robert Himes, Charles McMaken, William Vandegrift
and A. S. Rosenberger, councilmen.
1909---Election---R. S. Van Hise, mayor;
J. ff. Hecker, W. A. Reed, A. S. Rosenberger, L. A. Ruhl, E. W. Thomas
and Henry Zollinger, councilmen.
There are a few more pages to go and they will be
Photos will also be added.
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