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From the 1880 History of Miami County Ohio

Newton Township is situated in the extreme western part of Miami County, belonging to the central tier of townships running east and west, and containing some forty-two sections, eighteen of which belongs to Town 8, Range 4 east, the remaining four and-twenty belong to Town 7, Range 5 east, embracing in all about forty-two square miles of surface, measuring seven miles from east to west and six miles from north to south, so that within its limits are found 26,880 acres, the most of which is tillable. Its boundaries are Newberry and Washington Townships upon the north, Concord on the east, Union on the south, and Franklin, one of the eastern townships of Darke County, bounds it on the west. Possessing as it does a superior system of drainage, fertile soil, ever-living springs and streams of excellent water, ample railroad and shipping facilities, its citizens at the present time are happy in the possession of a country inferior to none in that which conduces to render prosperity accessible to all within its limits. The township is traversed almost centrally-from north to south by the Dayton, Covington & Toledo Railroad, which, though yet in its infancy, is of incalculable benefit to the country through which it passes in affording its citizens traveling and shipping accommodations, thereby greatly enhancing the value of the lands and encouraging industrial pursuits in general. In addition to this, the township is intersected by a perfect network of free pikes, excellent county and township roads kept in good condition, her streams are spanned by numerous magnificent bridges, all of which stand as enduring monuments and attest to the industry and progressive spirit of the people by whom they were constructed.

Inasmuch as the Stillwater River has been one of the most important factors in the early settlement of this and all other townships bordering its banks, we think it is well worthy of particularization. We shall not, however, begin at its source, nor carry it to the month, but shall endeavor to describe it in sections bounded by the limits of the township lines whose history we are recording. Stillwater enters this township near the division line between Sections 5 and page 359 6, and flows in a southwesterly course through Sections 5, 8 and 17, when it bends somewhat abruptly in its course, and flows southwest through the southeastern comer of Section 18, thence turning in its course it flows south to the center of Section 18 ; flowing back, it enfolds the southeast corner of the section, after which it assumes a different direction, flowing in a tortuous channel a southeasterly direction and making its exit from the township at Section 33.

Panther Creek, the northern and most important branch of the Stillwater in this township, has its source in Twin Township, Darke Co., and, flowing east, enters Newton Township, at the southwest corner of Section 10 it then takes a northeasterly course to Section 2, where its waters are increased by the addition of a small stream flowing from the northwest; it then takes a generally easterly course, and reaches the stream of which it is the principal tributary, in this township, in the southern part of Section 6, Range 4 east. As to how this creek received the appellation by which it is commonly known there are two versions, one of which is, that in earlier times, before the curiosity and enterprise of man had led him to penetrate the wilderness , and establish himself a home in this vicinity, when the howl of the wolf and the whoop of the Indian were the only sounds, which struck the tympanum of nature's auditory apparatus, and sent the echoes reverberating through the almost impenetrable forest at such a time as this, tradition tells us the story of two hunters, Abbott and Jones by name, who,led away by the fascinations of the chase, had penetrated thus far in the sylvan solitudes, when, tired and disappointed with the almost fruitless labors of the day, they were preparing, as the shades of night were fast settling o'er the solemn forests, to recruit their wasted energies by "tired nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep" and, without previous warning, their preconcerted plans were suddenly terminated by the appearance upon the scene of a huge panther, whose domicile, it appears, they had unwittingly invaded, and the animal, not willing to retire from the place without asserting her rights to the use of the same, from the legal standpoint of having been the original possessor of the soil, made a vigorous attack upon the hunters, but, after a brief hand-to-hand conflict, which appeared of great length to the tired men, the battle terminated in perfect accordance with the theory of scientist's concerning the survival of the fittest. The victorious hunters throwing the carcass of the brute into the gurgling waters of the little brook, again sought to recuperate their ebbing strength, by passing the remaining hours of darkness in undisturbed repose and since that time, the stream has been called Panther Creek, in commemoration of their struggle with that animal upon its banks. The other version of the story is that long years after the members of the Caucasian race had sought and made for themselves homes in this vicinity, and the wild children of the forest had retired from the hunting-grounds of their ancestors, and had gone to seek a place nearer the Great Father of Waters, where they might hope for awhile, at least, to free themselves from the encroachments of their white brothers, one among their number, a warrior of the Miamis, whose name was Painter, unwilling to quit in his later years the hunting-grounds and graves of his forefathers, refused to follow his people, and, constructing his lodge on the borders of the stream which bears his name, remained upon the spot, watching with philosophic eye the metamorphosis of his childhood's home; and, no doubt, as he saw the primeval forests rapidly fading from his view, he wondered if the change was a reality, or mere delusion caused by his failing senses. Well might he say with the poet:

Is it changed, or am I changed?
Ah, the oaks are just as green,
But the friends with whom
I ranged beneath their thickets,
Are estranged by the years that intervene.

Bright as ever flows the stream,
Bright as ever shines the sun, But alas!
It seems to me Not the stream that used to be,
Not the sun that used to shine."

However, as to which of the two stories is the more authentic, it is not possible for us, at a period so remote from the time when these events should have occurred, to determine with absolute certainty , although for various reasons, which the limited nature of our work does not permit us to chronicle, we are led to think that the former of the two versions is probably the more plausible. Be this as it may, it is a well-known fact that the portion of the township drained by this creek offered the greatest inducements to the earlier settlers, and by nomeans the least of these advantages was the exceeding fertility of the soil, to which the extreme healthfulness of the climate and bewitching beauty of the location united to make it an extraordinarily desirable place for the heads of families to choose as a permanent home. These advantages, together with that offered by the stream, which was capable of producing power sufflcient to run the various mills, which were very essential, and, indeed, almost indispensable factors in the earlier settlements, account for the first settlements of the township having been made in this locality; besides the streams to which reference has already been made, there are several minor ones, two of which flow in an easterly course through the southern tier of sections, and finally empty into the Stillwater, while another flows, a more southerly course and pours its waters into Ludlow Creek, in Union Township. Excellent springs of never- failing water also well up in various localities, than which, water more sparkling or refreshing is not to be found within the limits of our country. As regards the chorography of this portion of the county, it can be said of Newton that it is mostly level, the township slopes gently from the east of the Stillwater, and no waste land is to be found. The western banks of the river, however, in some places rise abruptly into rather high bluffs, which, in several places, extend some distance west of the river, but a very small portion of this land cannot be tilled, the most of it at the present time being in a high state of cultivation; this productive condition of the soil is not a mere matter of chance, but has been brought about only after spending long years of manual labor at agricultural puisuits, assisted in later years by the mechanical arts. In the beginning of the present century, when the first settlements were made, the township was one densely wooded forest, with but two exceptions as; what to-day is the meadow green , with its abundant herbage, was then an unknown forest, fit home for the wild animal and native Indian, who held a joint proprietorship in the land, and each walked unmolested, as was their wont, the "monarchs of all they surveyed." The purity of the at mosphere was then tainted by nothing save the smoke which curled in fantastic wreathings from the wigwam of the red man; now the airis rendered noxious by the impure vapors rising from the noisy locomotive, as it rushes through with its load of freight , exchanging the products of other climes for the surplus products in this; then the giant oak reared its lofty head deep into the ethereal depths now the monarch of the forest is fallen. and in its place flelds of waving corn and wheat, orchards bending beneath their loads of luscious fruits, dot the landscape here and there as far as the eye can reach. Within the memory of the oldest inhabitant of the township the country has been perfectly transformed-much farther back than this we cannot go; but the old trees, could they speak and tell the history of this township as far back as there are circles by which the years of their growth are numbered, would tell a story that now lies locked in the silent bosom of dead centuries, but their dumb tongues refuse to reveal the secret that inquisitive man longs to know and, although we have many indications of the existence of a people who toiled and lived upon what is now Newton Township long before the advent of the white man or even Indian, what they were, together with their manners, customs and language, remains too deeply buried in the mold of centuries to be soon unearthed by seientific researches. The soil in this section of Miami County is an alluvial deposit of great depth, formed by the slight additions of successive years; it is remarkable for its continued fertility, inasmuch as the ground which has been tilled three quarters of a century has not the least abated in productiveness; on the contrary, the amount of its products is constantly increasing instead of diminishing.

The only exception to the universal forest which occupied the township, and, indeed, the whole county, upon the arrival of the oldest settlers, was what is now known as "Williams' Prairie"; it was a spot of land not encumbered by a single tree, situated east of the Stillwater River, mostly on Section 19. The original tract embraced between sixty and eighty acres now, however, it cannot be distinguished from the adjoining tracts, which have been cleared and form part of the original prairie. How or when this section was cleared, or who was instrumental in its clearing for it, doubtless, was at one time as densely wooded as the rest, can only be theorized upon, and there is a theory contended for by some who have examined the location of which we shall make mention in another connection. Besides this, there was another small prairie in the south part of the township, the main part of which is situated in Union Township. After these, nothing broke the monotony of the wooded depths, which, to the early settler, seemed almost limitless.

This township, as are most of the others in this county, is well provided with numerous excellent roads, offering splendid facilities for traveling or teaming in almost any season of the year these are, however, comparatively speaking, a modern invention the oldest inhabitant of the township remembers well how, in former times, when it became necessary to construct a highway for general utility, the neighbors would collect together with ax and mattock, and persistently chop and grub their way through the forest, till they had reached the place for which they started, These roads, if not so smooth and straight as the beautiful drives of to-day, possessed the redeeming feature of being well shaded, Numerous pikes across the township in various directions; of these, the Covington and Panther Creek traverse a part of the northern portion of the township, Hogpath Pike runs from Pleasant Hill west through the township, while the Troy & Newton Pike extends from Pleasant Hill to Troy. The Newton & Covington Pike is the oldest in the township, and probably as old as any in the county.

To give the history of Newton Township and not speak of her first white settlers, would be as impossible as to demonstrate a mathematical proposition by means of ciphers alone, not taking into consideration the more important digits. We shall, the refore, speak briefly of the sturdy pioneers who left the more hospitable East and came to brave the perils of the wilderness in search of homes for themselves and their descendants. Some time between the years 1797 and 1800, Michael Williams, who had removed with his family from North Carolina to Ohio, learned, from Gen. Harrison, with whom he met in Cincinnati, and who had, some time previously, made an expedition through this section of the country, of the existence of the prairie of which mention has already been made. He immediately resolved to remove thither, and, like Jacob of old, he collected together his sons, with their wives and all their earthly goods, and started immediately for the land which was to be the heritage of his children for many generations, and which he reached in safety, and located on Section l9, which embraced the prairie, the only oasis in the wilderness of trees that surrounded him. He was the head of a family of four sons, the youngest of whom, John, was the first minister produced by the township. The remaining five children were daughters.

Marmaduke Coate, the second white settler in the township, was born in the year 1738, in South Carolina, from which place he emigrated in his sixty-eighth year. He was the father of seven sons and two daughters, each of whom reared a large family of children. Moses, Marmaduke's second child, and Samuel, the fourth, came to the Miami Valley on a prospecting tour in 1804. Being well pleased with the appearance of things in this locality, they determined to take permanent homes here, and, consequently, were joined by the remaining members of their families in the fall of 1805. They immediately established themselves upon the southeast quarter of Section 32, in this township. They made themselves as comfortable as circumstances would permit in their new quarters, and proceed at once to remove the forest prepatory to planting in the spring, knowing well, that unless they sowed they would not reap. They plied their axes vigorously, the effects of which soon made themselves apparent in more ways than one. Not only was a spot of ground laid open to the genial influence of the sun, but, one particularly clear morning, when the sounds created by their vigorous strokes sent the echoes rebounding merrily through the surrounding forest, the woodmen were surprised by the appearance upon the scene of Michael Williams, who had been roused from "the even tenor of his way " by the sounds which bespoke the onward move of civilization. Having previously considered himself the only settler in the vicinity, he proceeded at once to investigate matters, and, in company with one of his sons, pushed his boat up the Stillwater to the place from where the sounds proceeded, and was not a little surprised at the sight which greeted his eyes. The emotions of gladness which thrilled him at the prospect of establishing friendly relations with one of his own kind can better be imagined than described. His desire being fully reciprocated by Mr. Coate, for, in those primeval days, a neighbor was an article not to be lightly estimated, they at once became. fast friends, and, probably, the first highway in the township was the simple footpath that spanned the distance between their dwellings, and which was indicated by the blazed trees that marked its course. Mr. Coate died in the year 1822, at the advanced age of eighty-four years, having been a resident of this township some eighteen years. He lived to see much of the land occupied by the enterprising white settlers who immigrated here between the war of 1812 and his death, and to see his sons, the most prominent men in the vicinity, happily situated on, homes of their own, free from any encumbrance, save the trees, the spontaneous, products of the soil.

The wife of Mr. Coate died some time previous to the death of her husband. The life of the lady, could it be written, would make a large and interesting book. She had been captured by the Indians at the age of seven, and, after enduring hardships that but few of her sex could have outlived, finally escaped from her captors after having been in their custody for five long, wearisome years, during which time she became conversant with their customs and language, which accomplishments, if so we may term them, proved very beneficial to the whites during the time of hostilities.

Thomas Hill was probably the third white man who established himself permanently in this township; he came from the East about the year 1805 or 1806, accompanied by his family, which consisted of two sons, viz., Nathan and John, and two daughters, viz. Elizabeth and Sarah. Mr. Hill established himself at once on Section 20, where he resided until his death. He early identified himself with the manufacturing interests of the township, building as soon as practicable after his arrival, the first and only copper still ever erected in this township. This he ran very successfully till the year 1818, when he disposed of the property to Jacob Rench, who operated it till 1831 or 1832, when the whole establishment was destroyed by fire.

Thomas Coppock was probably the fourth white man who conceived and put, into execution the idea of making his permanent abiding-place in this township., He was the second son of a family of nine children, consisting of six boys and three girls. South Carolina was his native State, and there he would probably have remained but being opposed to slavery in any form in which it might appear, he found it impossible to prevent his opinions from conflicting with those of the great mass of the people in that old Slave State, and he determined at last, if he could not assuage their grief nor loosen the fetters with which they were so fimly bound, he would not, at least, remain to witness the miseries of the colored people engendered by the lash of the most cruel task-masters. He believed these people. to be possessed of that spiritual something which philosophers denominate soul; this, however, was an attribute not coincided by the majority of the people to belong to them. Therefore, not being able to coincide in his views of these things with the people of his State, he resolved to quit it and carry his family away from such dangerous influences consequently, with his three sons and five daughters, he left, the land of bondage, and, after enduring the hardships consequent upon so long a journey through a sparsely settled country, he reached this township in the fall of 1805 or 1806, and located at once on southwest quarter of Section 33. He turned his attention at once to the task of clearing the ground, from which he expected to obtain his sustenance ; by trade, however, he was a blacksmith, the first person of that ancient and honorable profession in the township. A short time after his arrival, he built his shop, but, being, as it was, just across the line in Union Township, it cannot be claimed as being the first smithy built in this township; it was run by a tilt-hammer, which piece of machinery is by no means complicated, as it consisted of a simple beam of wood about six feet long, one end of which was attached to a pivot, and the other, to which a hammer was firmly fastened, extended just over the anvil; to this wonderful piece of mechanism a treadle was attached, so that when it was necessary to employ both hands in holding the work, the smith, by means of his foot, which worked the tilt-hammer, was enabled to accomplish the work of two men. Coal was then almost an unknown article here, and Mr. Coppock obtained fuel for his shop by burning charcoal, which answered his purpose very well. At the first election held in the county for Commissioners, in 1808, Mr.Coppock was elected and served in that capacity three years. He was a prominent man in the county, and died at a good old age, mourned not only by his relatives, but by the people of the county in general, who felt that their loss would not soon be replaced. At this period in our history, immigrants began pouring into the township more rapidly than heretofore. The face of a white man, although always beheld with pleasure, was no such a novelty as it had been a few years hitherto, and the sound of an ax did not produce so much astonishment among the settlers as that instrument had been seen to do on a former occasion. In the fall of 1806, the little colony was increased by the addition of three families, originally from South Carolina, but subsequently from Warren County, Ohio, where they had located upon removing from their native State. Upon arriving here, they took immediate possession of three quarter- sections of land, lying in a direct line north and south. The heads of these several families were all brothers-in-law, consequently, as far as family ties were concerned, they formed quite a settlement of themselves. Samuel Teague, the elder, located on the middle quarter, Section 28, Benjamin Pearson on the south quarter, Section 33, while William Furnas took the north quarter, Section 33 the latter died the 21st of December, 1835, and is buried in the cemetery at Pleasant Hill. These men were endowed by nature with a resolute will, which, added to their thrift and unflagging industry, soon enabled them to change the gloomy aspect of the forest, if not into an Eden, - at least into such homes as they learned to love, where they lived happily and prosperously many years with their children, who ha d located themselves comfortably near them. Jacob Embree was a native of Tennessee, from which State he emigrated at a very early day in the beginning of the present century, and located first in Montgomery County in this State. Not being satisfied there, and bearing the wonderful fertility of the soil in this county commented on in the most favorable terms, he determined to remove thither, and consequently, in the spring of 1807, we find him settled on the southeast quarter of Section 29, in this township, on land now owned by J. C. Coppock. Mr. Embree identified himself at once as being an enterprising citizen, and proved a valuable addition to the people among whom he settled. Under his wise supervision, the manufacturing interests soon began to be developed and an important epoch in the history of the township was reached. Mr. E. had resided on his farm many years before he learned that it had not been entered by other parties, and, immediately upon receiving intelligence in regard to this matter, he set off for Cincinnati on horseback, riding all the night and day, when he reached the land office and secured for his own a home such as is calculated to make the heart of man glad.

William Long, one of the oldest settlers in the township, brought his family from Virginia in the year 1806 or 1807 and located himself near the ford of the river, on the northwest quarter of Section 7. He was the head of a family of four sons, one of whom, Stephen, was the third preacher produced by the township.

Alexander Mills, from South Carolina, settled on southeast quarter, Section 20, in 1807, where he remained till the war of 1812.

Benjamin Iddings, from Tennessee, came about the same time as the preceding, and erected his cabin on Section 33, for which purpose land was given him by Mr. Pearson.

Joseph Furnas settled on the banks of the Stillwater in 1808 ; he had a family of seven children, and taught the first school in the township, in his own house.

Two brothers, Isaac and Evan Ballinger, settled on southeast quarter, Section 20, at about the same time in 1807-08.

The first settlers west of the river were William and David Miles who hailed from South Carolina in 1807. The former died in the same year of his arrival. At this period, settlements began to be made in the northern part of the township, on PantherCreek. Robert Leavell, from South Carolina, settled on Section 2, in 1808, and William Perry, from Tennessee, located himself on Section 6 at about the same time, while Robert Dickson, the father of two sons and several daughters, located himself on northwe st quarter, Section 7, in 1808-09.

Inasmach as the township, at this date, was rapidly filling up in every direction, it would be impossible in the limited space allotted us, to follow each family through the perils of the wilderness to the spot where they located; among the later settlers we might mention Samuel Falkner, Jacob Rench, George Freshour an many other men of indefatigable perseverance, who rapidly transformed the forest into productive farms, and laid the foundation for that high degree of prosperity enjoyed by the present population. From the result of their labors, we imagine their motto must have been:

"Trust no future howe'er pleasant,
Let the dead past bury its dead;
Act-act in the living present,
Heart within, and God o'erhead."

Jacob Enbree may be legitimately credited with being the father of the manufacturing interests of the township; prior to his arrival, the power offered by the streams had not been utilized it was not long after this, however, till the grating of the crank as it turned the hopper of the old mill, and the whirring sound of the saw as it passed rapidly through the ponderous logs, whispered a story of better days, when the puncheon floor and split-slab door would give place to smooth, oaken boards, and flour for family use could be obtained at home.

A short time after Mr. Embree erected the saw-mill, in 1808, he attached to it a flouring-mill, or corn- cracker, as it was then called. It was a very simple piece of machinery, consisting of a hopper around which four forks were set in the ground, held together by cross-pieces and covered with brush, in order to serve as a shelter for the grinder while the mill was being operated. On so small a scale as this began the milling interests of the township, which have since assumed in comparison almost gigantic proportions. These mills were operated by Mr. E. for several years, but have long since been replaced by more modern and pretentious structures, the products of which are more satisfactory than those of their predecessors. The mill now owned by J. C. Coppock was built by Mr. Embree in 1828, and occupies the site of the first mill in the township. Robert Dickson built the second saw-mill in the township, and the first one on Panther Creek. Deeter's Mill now stands upon the spot formerly occupied by this. George Freshour also built a saw-mill on Section 10, Range 4, in a very early day. This mill has not been operated for many years, but the frame still stands, a lonely landmark of the past, bent and tottering beneath its weight of years. An oil-mill was established below the falls on Panther Creek, by Abraham Deeter, some time prior to 1840. Jacob Rench built a distillery in 1818. This was the first establishment of the kind on the Stillwater; in the northern part of the township. Mr. Rench ran this business successfully until his building was destroyed by fire, in 1831-32. He immediately erected another structure, on the west bank of the river, where the Sugar Grove Mill now stands. He was again burned out, in 1837, but rebuilt a second time, and devoted his attention to this work till the spring of 1848, when he disposed of the business and property to the Deeter brothers, who shortly abandoned it. The second regular grist-mill in the township was built by Mr. Rench in 1833. In the spring of 1848, he sold this also to the Deeter brothers. This mill was run till about one year ago, when it was destroyed by fire, and the present Sugar Grove Mill was then built by John Crumrine, who, at the present time, is doing a good business.

F. and I. Deeter started a tile factory, about one mile east of Pleasant Hill, several years ago, since which time they have been in successful operation. They burn a kiln each week, and constantly employ in their factory five or six hands. The grain-mill of Patty, Whitmore & Co. was built in 1879, and is of inestimable value to the farmers in the vicinity, as it fills a want long felt, and offers a ready market for their grains. They have a capacity for shelling 4,000 bushels of corn per day.

The war of 1812 put a stop for awhile to the stream of immigration westward, and this township proved no exception to the general rule. Wars and runiors of wars, with blood-curdling stories of Indian barbarity, began to reach the ears of the people, so that many settlers in the northern part of the township, fearing an invasion, collected together their families and household effects, and removed to various places in the State, where the danger was less threatening. Many removed their families only, and returned themselves to care for their growing crops. The majority, however, disdained to flee before an imaginary foe, and instead, made preparations for self-defense, for which purpose the neighbors collected and began constructing the "block house." It was built on Section 19, west of present site of Pleasant Hill. A trench was dug enclosing a sufficiently large space of ground to contain the people, and inside of this, palisades were driven in the inclosed space several cabins were erected, and this formed the fortification, which was by no means inaccessible. Here, however, the families would congregate at night for their mutual support in case of attack. Nothing appearing to disturb their usually peaceful lives, the "Fort " was soon abandoned without the necessity for its construction having been verified in a single instance. The building has long since crumbled away, but the spot upon which it stood is readily pointed out by the old settler, through whose sluggish veins the blood flows with almost youthful vigor, as he recalls the excitement which I existed during that warlike period.

To those persons who delight in evolving theories in regard to the existence, in America, of a prehistoric race, and in wiping the dust of centuries from the pages of the past, Newton Township offers them a field, wherein their inventive as well as imaginary powers can be exercised to their utmost capacity. West from Pleasant Hill, just across the river, stand a number of fortifications, which have. stood so long that, in the words of Blackstone, "The mind of man runneth not to the contrary." The largest one is inclosed on three sides by a ravine, in most places 100 feet deep, while the remaining side is provided with breastworks, at the present time about six feet high, but, inasmuch as there are trees on this which are about two feet in diameter, and must have grown after the ground was thrown up, we are led to believe that the wall of earth was formed many hundred years, ago and, if this is the case, it was at least fifteen feet high when flrst built. About one acre of surface is inclosed, now covered with saplings, but it must have been almost entirely free from trees when the fortification was formed. Numerous articles denoting, the presence of a race that had some knowledge of the fine arts, have been found, among these are pieces of pottery, curved in form, showing that, the vessels, of which they are pieces, were circular in shape. Human skeletons have been found near at hand, and many things go to show that this almost impregnable fortress was occupied by a people of more than the ordinary intelligence of the Indian. As to who these people were, or when they lived upon the, spot, we pretend not to determine, but, leave for more speculative minds the agreeable task of creating the hypothesis, from which the origin and destiny of this people may some day be ascertained. The prairie of which previous mention has been made, was just across the river from this fort, and probably was used by this people as a burying-ground. It may, indeed, have been cleared by them in the beginning. Many skeletons have been found here, and the fact that this spot of prairie-land was partially surrounded by sycamore trees, goes to show that they were planted by human hands, for this species of tree is usually found only upon the banks of streams. We can be positive in regard to several matters: First, the human skeletons show that a people did really exist; secondly, the earthenware vessels, that they were creatures of intelligence ; thirdly, the existence of the fortification proves that they had an enemy. Who that foeman was that inspired the erection of such a fortification, is not explained even by tradition, and probably never will be known, but to those who have long since gone to the land of spirits.

Pleasant Hill, the only village in this township, has a population of about 500 inhabitants, and includes one square mile of surface in its corporate limits.

The town was for many years called Newton, after the township, which, by the way, was named in honor of the philosopher, Sir Isaac. The ground upon which it is situated was surveyed by James Hanks, and laid out by J. K. Teeter, May 26, 1843. The origin al plat consisted of eight lots, all west of Main street, which bounded them on the east, and which was sixty-six feet wide then, but subsequently had its width increased to eighty feet. The lots were 132 feet deep, with seventy- five feet front, and were divided by two cross streets, viz., High and North, each forty-nine and one-half feet wide. These streets are now eighty feet wide, while the cross-streets which intersect Main on the east, are sixty-six feet wide. After having been laid out, the growth of the village rapidly increased, and in 1850, became of so much importance that it was decided, for general convenience, to move the post office from Coppock's mill to Newton. The post office had flrst been kept about one mile southeast from. town, and, from the peculiarly beautiful spot of its location, was called Pleasant Hill. It was moved from here in about 1840, to Coppock's mill, and was kept awhile in the mill, but it still retained its first name, and, upon its being removed to Newton, it was decided, in order to prevent all irregularities in regard to postal matters, to change the name of Newton to Pleasant Hill, which was accordingly done. After the removal of the office here, John Whitmore became Postmaster, which position he retained five or six years. At present, the position is filled by Mr. J. Reiber, a brave soldier in the late rebellion, who, in a single engagement, was the target which received five leaden bullets while battling for the Union under the banner of the old Stars and Stripes.

The village was incorporated June 30, 1866. The first officers were as follows: Mayor, Charles W. Davis; Recorder, N. B. Teeter; Trustees, William Patty, M. D., John.H. Williams, D. Minnich, John Whitmore and Joseph Pearson Treasurer, Fred Deeter -, Marshal, J. G. Ritter. The number of business establishments are as follows:

Three merchants, one boot and shoe shop, three blacksmiths, one silversmith, one agricultural implements, two wagon-makers, five physicians, one grain dealer, one furniture dealer, one confectionery, two milliners, and one saloon.


The progress made by a country in civilization is denoted in a great measure by her educational advantages. The mighty strides taken in this direction, may well be regarded with pride by the enterprising citizens of Newton. The first school in the township was taught by Joseph Furnas, in the year 1808, in his own cabin, which stood on the banks of the Stillwater. The greater part of his pupils consisted of his own children, seven in number; to these were added the children of the neighbors when they could be spared from home. The house was warmed by a fire-place, and gathered around this, seated on sticks of wood, an inverted basket or some other article equally comfortable, the young hopeful conned his daily lesson, and was glad when the task was completed and he might indulge in sports more congenial to his nature, In l8ll, a schoolhouse was built on Furnas' land, and was probably the first in the township ; it was not particularly noticeable for architectural beauty, neither for the convenience of its furniture. The roof was made of clapboards so put together as to provide such a ventilation as would now be considered neither pleasant nor healthy ; the door was a rude affair of oak swung on wooden hinges, which, upon being opened, produced such a screeching noise as sent the blood curdling through the veins of the strongest; the patent bench with stationary inkstand had not yet made its appearance, but in lieu of this, the pupils were seated on benches rudely hewn from saplings and held up by wooden legs driven through auger holes provided for that purpose. In such rude and homely edifices as this did the children of the old settlers receive their early instruction and fit themselves for the business of life. The second teacher in the township was Richard Clegg, who taught in 1813. Amos Perry was the third and John Pearson the fourth man who taught "the young idea how to shoot" in Newton. At about this period, schoolhouses began o spring up in different places, the second was built west of the river; and as soon as practicable the log house gave way to more convenient and comfortable structures, and at the present time there are thirteen neat schoolhouses in the township, giving employment during thirty-six weeks in the year to thirteen efficient te achers, while the whole amount of school property is valued at $22,000. The amount of funds on hand September 1, 1879, was $2,337.98, after all expenditures had been deducted. From the Clerk's report for the year ending August 31, 1879, we learn that t he number of pupils enrolled that year was 669 ; average monthly enrollment, 490; average daily attendance, 354; pupils enrolled between sixteen and twenty-one years, 103 ; number of different teachers employed during the year, 23, average wages-gentlemen $38.97; ladies, $24.95.

Subdistrict No. 7, which included the village of Pleasant Hill, was organized into a special district November 3, 1866. The first Directors of this district were William Patty M. D., C. W. Davis, J. K. Teeter, George Shoemaker, Nathan Hill and David M innich. The different grades were taught the first year by 0liver Furnas and Harriett Moore, Owing to the rapidly increasing population, the house became too small to accommodate the pupils, so that in January, 1875 it was decided to erect a more commodious structure. Obed Macy was chosen architect, the old schoolhouse and lot were sold for $400, and the new house, 6Ox62 feet, begun immediately. The building is heated by steam, contains six large and well-ventilated rooms, with a hall in third story capable of comfortably seating 300 people. Horatio Pearson was elected Principal in April, 1875, which position he has faithfully and satisfactorily filled ever since. The subordinate teachers for the year 1880-81 are Miss Mattie Iddings and Miss Dora Deeter. The present officers are: Chairman, Fred Deeter - Clerk, William Patty, M D.; Treasurer, G. W. Whitmore; Directors, J. A. Landis, John Jay and A. Reiber.


The oldest settlers in the township were members of the denomination of Friends, who immigrated here from the East to free themselves from the peraecutions of the Puritans, and many of the people of the township to-day, trace their relationship back to Macy, the good Quaker whose sufferings and name have been immortalized by Whittier in his beautiful poem, "The Exile." For many years, Divine services were held in barns, dwelling houses and in the open air. The first church was a log building erected in 1820, and was called Union Church, because formed by the union of members from so many different congregations. This denomination was organized in 1813.

The Second church in the township was a log house built by the Christians in 1820; it was situated south of the cemetery of Pleasant Hill. This house was, afterward taken down, and a frame building occupied its place. This denomination was organized in 1815, when, a discussion arising as to what the church should be called, Mrs. Kyle said she "hoped the church might do well," and suggested the name of Hopewell, which was unanimously adopted, and it has been known by that name ever since. After the old frame building fell into disuse, the present brick edifice was built in Pleasant Hill. The denomination at the present time has no regular minister, but the membership is, perhaps, as large as any in the township; they maintain a Sunday school throughout the year, and have a general attendance of about 150.

The third church in the township was of logs, built by the German Baptists, about 1841. This was replaced in 1849 by the "Old Stone Church." It was, remodeled in 1873, and is now known as the Sugar Grove Church. The Congregational Brethren Church of Pleasant Hill was organized in the fall of 1876. The officers were as follows: Presiding Elder, John Cadwallader; Elder, Jacob Crumrine Minister and Secretary, Elias Teeter; Deacon, Daniel Deeter. Present officers: W. G. Ullery, Elias Teeter and Jacob Crumrine, Elders M. Deeter and Samuel R. Deeter, Deacons W. H. Cadwallader, Secretary; William Mikesell, Treasurer. The present frame edifice was built a few years since and is a neat structure, whose congregation consists of a goodly number of devout worshipers.

It is a substantial structure, size 50x70 feet, the upper part being of brick, and the basement of stone; this denomination also has a church edifice in Pleasant Hill with a membership of more than 100, which, in conjunction with the members of Sugar Grove Church, in numbers exceed any other single denomination in the township.

The Disciples' Church was organized here in 1872, at which time the congregation consisted of about 12 members; it is a branch of the Miami Church at Frederickstown. At present, services are held monthly in the Disciples' Hall. Only about six persons are now connected with the church.


A.F.& A.M.-Pleasant Hill Lodge, No. 361, received its charter from the Grand Lodge of Ohio the 17th October, 1866. The charter was signed by Thomas Sparrow, of Toledo, Ohio, as Most Worshipful Grand Master, and John D. Caldwell as Right Worshipful Grand Secretary. The following were the charter members: Joseph Marlin, Thomas H. Coate, Nathaniel Hill, Matthias D. Myers, John Whitmer, William Furnas, Jacob Reiber, Joseph Coppock, Joseph Cox, H. J. Byrkett, Jacob K. Teeter, William Anderson and Amos E. Duncan, four of whom are. members in good standing at present. The lodge now numbers fifty-six members of these the youngest is twenty-one years of age, while the years of the oldest number fourscore. The present lodge-room was completed at a cost of $1,153.08, and was dedicated November 13, 1867. It is 45x22 feet in size, and, being nicely furnished, forms one among the best, for so small a place, in the State. Present officers are as follows: Thomas N. Coate, W.M.; Samuel Yount, S.W.; Henry W. Miles. J.W.; George K. Harshbarger, Treasurer; Jacob Reiber, Secretary; Reuben L. Shoe, S.D.; Joseph Cox, J.D.; William R. Sloan, D.W. Debra, Stewards; John F. Shoe, Tiler; D. M. Coppock, Joseph Cox, Jesse M. Coate, Trustees. I.O.O.F. - A charter was granted to Pleasant Hill Lodge, May 16, 1874, at Cincinnati, by the Grand Lodge of Ohio. The charter members and first officers were as follows: Jasper Jones, deceased; J. G. Ritter, N. G. Aaron Heft, V. G.; S. Barton, P, Secretary; M. Myers Treasurer; S. B. Reiber, Warden; Fred Deeter, I. G.; J. K. Hittle, R. S. S.; W. H. McCain, L. S. S.; William R. Sloan, R. S. V. G.; D. M. Murray, L. S . V. G.; J. P. Fenner, R. S. N. G.; Isaac Deeter, L. S. N. G.; Joseph Cox, R. Secretary; J. W. Cable, Conductor.

Present. officers Joel Rothermel, N. G ; L. A. Teeter, V. G. ; S. G. S. Barton, P. Secretary; James P. Fenner, R. Secretary; M. Myers, Treasurer; G. W. Whitmore, R. S. N. G.; A. J. Hunt, L. S. N. G.; James Coate, Warden; N. L. Hill, Conductor ; W. F. Lo ng, R. S. S. ; T. N. Hunt, L. S. S. ; A Heft, I G. ; G. P. Huffman, R. S. V. G.; J. W. Whitmore, L. S. V. G. The present hall, 24 x 54 feet, was built at a cost of $625, and was dedicated, December 2, 1879. The fund for building was obtained by the donations of 121 different persons in the township. Patrons of Husbandry.-The lodge known as Pleasant Hill Grange, No. 175, was organized October 23, 1873, at which time there were thirty-three members.. Since this time there has been more than one hundred initiations and three deaths. The society at the present time is in a prosperous condition.

The first temperance organization was known by the name of the Sons of Temperance, which flourished here several years, when it was supplanted by the I. O. G. T. This lodge finally emerged into the present society, known as the Temperance Society, which meets weekly, and its pledge has been signed by a great number of persons in the township. The officers are : I. H. Menges, President; J. K. Teeter, Vice President; Mrs. J. K. Teeter Mrs. McCarter, Secretaries; Joseph Rothermal, Treasurer.


The oldest in the township is Union Cemetery, the property of the Friends, and it was established as early as 1807 or 1808. The first person buried here was Mrs. Pearson. The town burying-ground was laid out in l808 or l809; a few years since, it was enlarged. The third place of interment belongs to the German Baptists, and is near the Sugar Grove Church, in the northern part of the township. In wandering through these various cities of the dead, we notice that most of Newton's old settlers are freed from the trials of earth; not only, however, on the moss-grown headstones are the names of Williams, Coate, Hill, Coppock, Furnas, Inman, Teague, and scores of others, engraven, but upon the hearts of the people their names and the story of their manly deeds are inscribed in characters not to, be effaced by the finger of Time. The tired hands, once wearied with the toils of earth, are now at rest. The feet, aching neath the burdens of this world's cares, have reached the wayside inn, and are at peace. The hearts that beat so anxiously with the hopes and fears of life, are stilled forever. It remains for you who now live to carry on toward completion the goodly-begun work of your fathers, and, when your task is ended,

Be gathered to their side by those
Who in their turn shall follow them."

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