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DARKE COUNTY was formed from Miami county, January 3, 1809, and organized in March, 1817. The surface is generally level, and it has some prairie land. It is well timbered with oak, poplar, walnut, blue ash, sugar maple, hickory, elm, and beach, and the soil is exceedingly fertile. It is a granary of corn, oats; and wheat—the yield immense and the quality excellent—and it is a first-class agricultural county, a large proportion of the land being a deep black soil and apparently inexhaustible. Area unusually large 600 square miles. In 1885 the acres cultivated were 214,522; in pasture, 23,247; woodland, 72,333; lying waste, 7,207; produced in wheat, 996,331 bushels; oats, 472,201; corn, 3,066,476; broom brush, 36,545 pounds; tobacco, 3,152,425; butter, 867,560; flax, 91,457; potatoes, 215,809 bushels; sorghum, 49,559; largest in the State; eggs, 867,493 dozen; horses owned, 13,548 ; cattle, 25,517; hogs, 36,977.School census 1886, 13,881 ; teachers, 255.   It has 158 miles of railroad.


Township And Census.



Township and Census




































Van Buren,






























Population in 1820 was 3,717; in 1840, 13,145; 1860, 26,009; 1880, 40,496, of whom 3,3,062 were Ohio-born, 1,846 Pennsylvanians, and 1,208 in Germany.


Gen. William DARKE, from whom this county derived its name, was born in Pennsylvania, in 1738, and removed at the age of five years with his parents to near Shepherdstown, Va. He was with the Virginia provincials at Braddock’s defeat, taken prisoner in the Revolutionary war, at Germantown, commanded as colonel two Virginia regiments at the siege of York, was a member of the Virginia Convention of ‘88, and was repeatedly a member of the Legislature of that ancient commonwealth. He distinguished himself at St, Clair’s defeat, and died Nov. 20, 1801. Gen. Darke was by profession a farmer. He possessed a herculean frame, rough manners, a strong but uncultivated mind, and a frank and fearless disposition.


This county is of considerable historic interest. The defeat of St. Clair, November 4, 1791, took place just over its northwestern border, near the Indiana line, on the site of the village of Fort Recovery. Under the head of Mercer county, a very full account of’ this event is given, with individual narratives and incidents.


On his march north from Cincinnati St. Clair built a fort five miles south of the present site of Greenville, which he named fort Jefferson. His army left on the 24th of October, and continued their toilsome march northward through the wilderness, which in less than two weeks was brought to its disastrous close.


To the summer of the next year a large body of Indians surrounded this fort. Before they were discovered, a party of them secreted themselves in some underbrush and behind some bogs near the fort. Knowing that Capt. SHAYLOR, the commandant, was passionately fond of hunting, they imitated the noise of turkeys. The captain, not dreaming of a decoy, hastened out with his son, fully expecting to return loaded with game. As they approached near the place the savages rose, fired, and his son, a promising lad, fell. The


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captain turning, fled to the garrison. The Indians pursued closely, calculating either to take him prisoner or enter the sally-gate with him in case it were opened for his admission. They were, however, disappointed, though at his heels; he entered, and the gate was closed the instant he reached it. In his retreat he was badly wounded by an arrow in his back.


GREENEVILLE IN 1846.Greenville, the county-seat, is ninety-two miles west of Columbus, and ten from the Indiana line. It was laid off August 10, 1808, by Robert GRAY and John DEVOR, and contains 1 Baptist, 1 Episcopal, 1 Methodist, and 1 Christian church, 16 mercantile stores, 1 flouring mill, 1 newspaper printing office, and about 800 inhabitants.


Greenville is a point of much historical note. In December, 1793, Wayne built a fort at this place, which he called Fort Greenville. He remained until the


Fort Greenville.


28th of July, 1794, when he left for the Maumee rapids, where he defeated the Indians on the 20th of the month succeeding. His army returned to Greenville on the 2d of November, after an absence of three months and six days. Fort Greenville was an extensive work, and covered the greater part of the site of the town. The annexed plan is from the survey of Mr. James M’BRIDE, of Hamilton. The blocks represent the squares of the town, within the lines of the fort. Traces of the embankment are plainly discernible, and various localities within the fort are pointed out by the citizens of the town. The quarters of Wayne were on the site of the residence of Stephen PERRINE, on Main street. Henry HOUSE, now (1846) of this county, who was in Wayne’s campaign, says that the soldiers built log-huts, arranged in rows, each regiment occupying one row, and each hut—of which there were many hundred—occupied by six soldiers. He also informs us that Wayne drilled his men to load while running; and every night, when on the march, had good breastworks erected, at which the men had been so well practised as to be able to construct in a few minutes.-Old Edition.


GREENEVILLE is ninety-four miles west of Columbus, on the C. St. L. & P. R. R., and seventy miles north of Cincinnati. It is on Greenville creek, also the C. J. & M. and D. & U. railroads. County officers in 1888: Probate Judge, Samuel L. KOLP; Clerk of Court, Patrick H. MAHER; Sheriff, David E. VANTILBURG; Prosecuting Attorney, James C. ELLIOTT; Auditor, Cyrus MINNICH; Treasurer, Henry M. BICKEL; Recorder, Daniel SNYDER; Surveyor, Elliott M. MILLER; Coroner, George W. BURNETT; Commissioners, William M.. SMITH, Reuben K. BEAM, Samuel J. STAPLETON. Greenville has five newspapers: Darke County Democratic Advocate, Democratic, W. A. BROWN, editor; Democrat, Democratic, Charles ROLAND, editor; Journal, Republican, E. W. OTWILL, editor; Die Post, German


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Democrate, George FEUCTINGER, editor; Sunday Courier, Republican, A. R. CALDERWOOD, editor.  Banks: Farmers’ National G. W. SUTDABAKER, president,


Drawn by Henry Howe in 1846.


[The public square was included within the area of the fort.  The old court-house which is see in the center of this view, with and addition and changes, is now the two-hall; the latter is the building shown in the distance, in the new view taken by photograph.  The street on the right is Broadway. The building is the rear of the tavern sign is the site of the Farmer’s National Bank.  The dwelling on the extreme left is now standing, and residence of J. Riley KNOX.]


T. S. WARING, cashier; Greenville Bank Company, W. S. TURPEN, president, G. H. MARTZ, cashier; Second National, A. F. KOOP, president; R. A. SHUFFLETON,



J. Harper, Photo, Greenville, 1886.


[The court-house is shown on the left, the town-hall in the distance.]


Cashier.  Churches: 1 German Reformed, 1 German Methodist Episcopal, 1 German Lutheran, 1 German Evangelical, 1 Baptist, 1 Methodist Episcopal, 1 Christian, 1 Catholic, 1 United Brethren, 1 Episcopalian, and 1 Presbyterian.  The


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largest industries here are machinery and moulding, the lumber business, and wagon making. Population in 1880, 3,535.


On the 3d of August, 1795, Wayne concluded a treaty of peace with the Indians at Greenville. The number of Indians present was 1,130, viz., 180 Wyandots, 381 Delawares, 143 Shawnees, 45 Ottawas, 46 Chippewas, 240 Pottawattamies, 73 Miamies and Eel river, 12 Weas and Piankeshaws, and 10 Kickapoos and Kaskaskias. The principal chiefs were TARHE, BUCKONGEHELAS, BLACK HOOF, BLUE JACKET and LITTLE TURTLE. Most of the chiefs had been tampered with by M’KEE and other British agents; but their people, having been reduced to great extremities by the generalship of Wayne, had, notwithstanding, determined to make a permanent peace with the “Thirteen Fires,” as they called the federal States. The basis of the treaty of Greenville was that hostilities were to cease and all prisoners restored. Article 3d defined the Indian boundary as follows:


The general boundary line between the lands of the United States and the lands of the said Indian tribes shall begin at the mouth of the Cuyahoga river, and run thence up the same to the Portage, between that and the Tuscarawas branch of the Muskingum, thence down that branch to the crossing-place above Fort Laurens, thence westerly to a fork of that branch of the Great Miami river running into the Ohio, at or near which fork stood LOROMIE’S store, and where commenced the portage between the Miami of the Ohio and St. Mary’s river, which is a branch of the Miami which runs into Lake Erie; thence a westerly course to Fort Recovery, which stands on the branch of the Wabash ; thence southerly in a direct line to the Ohio, so as to intersect that river opposite the mouth of Kentucke or Cuttawa river.


The following are the reservations within the limits of Ohio granted to the Indians by this treaty:


1st One piece of land, six miles square, at or near LORAMIE’S store, before mentioned. 2d. One piece, two miles square, at the head of the navigable water or landing on the St. Mary’s river, near Girty’s town. 3d. One piece, six miles square, at the head of the navigable water of the Auglaize river.4th. One piece, six miles square, at the confluence of the Anglaise and Miami rivers, where Fort Defiance now stands. 8th. One piece, twelve miles square, at the British fort on the Miami of the lake, at the foot of the rapids. 9th. One piece, six miles square, at the mouth of the said river, where it empties into the lake. 10th. One piece, six miles square, upon Sandusky lake, where a fort formerly stood. 11th One piece, two miles square, at the lower rapids of the Sandusky river.


These, with the other tracts, were given for the same considerations, and as an evidence of the returning friendship of the said Indian tribes, of their confidence in the United States, and desire to provide for their accommodation, and for that convenient intercourse which will be beneficial to both parties. “


A second treaty was concluded at Greenville, July 22, 1814, with the Wyandots, Delawares, Shawnees, Senecas, and Miamies.


The commissioners on the part of the United States were Gen. William Henry HARRISON and Gov. Lewis CASS By it these tribes engaged to aid the United States in the war with Great Britain and her savage allies. The prominent chiefs were TARHE, Capt. PIPE, and BLACK HOOF. Both of the treaties were held on the same spot, within the present (1846) garden of Abraham SCRIBNER, in Greenville. On the 22d of July, 1840, just twenty-six years after the last treaty, there was a great celebration at this place, called “the Greenville Treaty Celebration,” at which the many thousands present were addressed at length by Gen. Harrison.


From the year 1805 to 1808 the celebrated TECUMSEH, is brother, the PROPHET resided at Greenville. It was the point where they formed their plans of hostility to the whites. During their residence at this place they were visited by many Indians, who were wrought into the highest excitement by the eloquence of TECUMSH and the cunning of the prophet.


On the plan of Fort Greenville is laid down “Tecumseh Point,” at the junction of the rivulet with Greenville creek, about a quarter of a mile from the court-house. At this place are some Indian graves; here Tecumseh had a cabin, and formerly near it was a spring, called “Tecumseh’s Spring.” In 1833 the remnant of the Shawnees, then moving to their new homes in the far West, from their reservation on the Auglaize, took this place on their route, instead of Cincinnati, as desired by the United States agents. They encamped on Tecumseh’s Point to the number of several hundred, and remained a day or two to take a final farewell of a place so dear to their memories.


In the graveyard at Greenville lies the remains of ENOCH BERRY SEITZ, one of the greatest mathematicians of his time on the globe, and withal a man of


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singular modesty and amiability of character. He died in Missouri in 1883, aged thirty-seven, and was brought here for burial, because he had been a teacher here for a number of years, was endeared to the people, and this was the home of his wife. He was born near Lancaster, Fairfield county, the son of a farmer, and early displayed great aptness for mathematics. He graduated at the Ohio Wesleyan University in 1870. His friend, Prof. John S. Rover, wrote of him:

“Having a special fondness for mathematics, he devoted his leisure hours to the broad fields and hidden beauties of its higher branches, delving deep into the mine of original investigation, and astonishing the world by the aptness with which he unfolded the beautiful and mysterious relations of numbers.


Years ago he was a subscriber to the School-day Magazine, which had a mathematical department, edited by the great mathematician, Artemus Martin. He displayed great ingenuity and ability in solving difficult probability problems, and when asked what works he had on that difficult branch of mathematical science,


Mr. SEITZ, to the great astonishment of his friend, replied: ‘I have no books on that subject, but what I know of it I learned by studying the problems and solutions in your magazine.’  Here was the secret of his success. He first studied the principle laid a sure foundation, upon which he afterward reared the magnificent edifice. He furnished over 500 model solutions. to the School Visitor, which evinced those striking characteristics of his mathematical work—originality, accuracy, and beauty. Many readers have gathered inspiration and taste for the science by his labor of love and this behalf. He was also a regular contributor to the Analyst, the Mathematical Visitor, and the Educational Times, of London, England.


The latter has a department sustained by the greatest mathematicians in Europe and America. In this everything is found starlight, but our lamented friend represented a most brilliant star, standing upon the eminent plane side by side with Woolhouse, England’s acknowledged mathematical champion, and in his especial ‘Average’ and ‘Probabilities’—Prof. SEITZ had no superior in the world.” In 1880 he was elected a member of the London Mathematical


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Society, being the fifth American so honored. At the time of his decease he was Professor of Mathematics at the State Normal School, Kirkersville, Mo. He died young, but the work he accomplished remains, an endearing monument of fame and honor.


During the years 1827 and 1828 John H. MARTIN and Thomas F. CHENOWITH, by the aid of two four-horse teams, transported all of the products marketed in the county to Cincinnati, and brought back about all of the merchandise sold in the county. In 1886 they were both living, and at the age of about eighty years. The following items are from the “County History:”


Indian Trading—The first permanent white settler in Darke county was Azor SCRIBNER, who in 1806 or 1807 established an Indian trading-house in Greenville township. His goods were hauled from Cincinnati along Wayne’s road by a yoke of oxen attached to a rough sled denominated a mud boot, and a trip usually occupied from three to six weeks. He exchanged his goods for furs and did a thriving business. The manner of trading has thus been described: The Indians, bringing with them their roll of furs, walked into the cabin and found seats, while each was presented with a small piece of tobacco. Pipes were lighted, and the residue was placed in pouches. After some time passed in smoking and talking among themselves, one arose, went to the counter; and taking up a yard-stick, pointed out the article wanted and asked the price.


Payment being made in skins, there was to each kind a recognized value. The muskrat was held at a quarter, the raccoon at a third, a doe at a half, and a buckskin at a dollar. Payment was made following each purchase, until all exchanges were effected. As each retired another came forward in his burn until all had traded. No one desired to anticipate his turn, decorum was observed, and no attempt was made to “beat down,” for, if not satisfied, another article was pointed out and named. It is reported that SCRIBNER not only sold the Indians tobacco, but rum, and they generally reserved some of their furs with which to procure liquor for a final frolic.


In the winter of 1807-8 Samuel BOYD moved in with his family, and in 1810 the three RUSH brothers and some others. A year later the Indians became hostile and committed some murders. Prior to the war of 1813 several dwellings and four block-houses were erected in Greenville. Among those who were killed by the Indians was Andrew RUSH. One day in April, 1812, while going to mill through the wilderness, he stopped at the cabin of Mr. Daniel POTTER, when Mrs. POTTER asked him if he was not afraid of the Indians waylaying and killing him. Upon this he laughed, and running his hand through his hair jokingly replied: “No, I had my wife this morning cut my hair so short that they could not get my scalp off.” That afternoon he was shot from his horse, tomahawked and scalped.


The First School-House—So slow was the settlement of the county, that in 1824 there were entire townships that did not contain a single inhabitant. There were but two meeting-houses, one a Methodist, the other a Hardshell Baptist.


The roads of the county consisted of the old war traces of St. Clair and Wayne some Indian paths and some few other traces cut by the early settlers. Educational advantages in town and county were for many years quite limited. There were a few crude school-houses widely scattered, and these were occupied three months of each winter by teachers whose qualifications better adapted them for burning brick than solving problems in mathematics, and consequently there was little learned. Schools were taught by subscription.


Settlers built houses as they were needed. Many settlers had large families—as many as ten children were found in a single cabin—and to provide for the future of these young people, the parents came to this county. There was always work to be done, and the services of all hands were needed; it was only during the winter months that schools could be attended. At these only the elementary branches were taught, and the predominant idea of the school-master was discipline first, learning afterward. No grammar nor geography was taught. Few studied arithmetic, and these did not proceed much beyond the rudiments; and when at length grammar was introduced, such pupils were thought well advanced.


In any locality, whenever sufficient families had moved in to form a school, the settlers stood ready to build a house and engage a teacher. Tall, strapping youths attended, school, and the master had need of decision and courage as well as method and erudition. It was the custom for the person applying for the school to call upon the parties within sending distance and canvass for scholars. If enough were secured school opened. An illustration of the old-time method is given as follows: About the year 1815 a man came into the Rush neighborhood and offered his services as a teacher. The settlers located along Mud creek, West Branch and Bridge creek talked the matter over and concluded to employ him. It was a light labor for all to turn out with axes, handspikes and oxen, upon a day appointed; to chop and draw logs to a chosen site for the purpose of putting up a school-house. The location was near Rush Fort, on Mud creek  while some put up round logs, notched down one layer upon another, until they were of sufficient eleva-


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tion to form a story, split clasp-boards for the roof, chamber floor and door, and puncheons for the floor, others drew stone for the fire-place, and prepared sticks and mud for the chimney. The floor being laid, next came the desks and the seats. Large holes were bored in a log on each side of the room, wooden pins were driven in, and a slab or unplaned plank laid on these pins. For seats, holes were bored in puncheons and legs driven in, two at each end. Windows were made by cutting out a log nearly the whole length of the house, leaving a hole a foot wide. Into this was foiled a sort of lattice-work of sticks, and upon this greased paper was pasted to transmit the light. Such was the school-house of sixty-five years ago. It was not much of a structure, but there was no great contrast between it and the homes of the builders. There was no lack of ventilation, and the wood was not too long for the fire-place.


Love-Making and Marriage—The arrival of a family occasioned eager inquiry by the young men as to whether there were any marriageable daughters of the number. The demand was in excess of the supply. The same maiden had sometimes several suitors; this involved the delicate matter of rejection as well as choice.


Sometimes the girls were betrothed before leaving home, and a knowledge of this fact caused disappointment. For a long time after the first settlement of the county the people generally married young. The parties differed little in fortune, and none in rank. First impressions of love resulted in marriage, and a family establishment cost only a little labor.


The marriage ceremony was arranged to take place before dinner which was a substantial feast of beef, pork, fowls, and sometimes venison and bear meat, roasted and boiled, with abundance of potatoes and other vegetables. Dinner was free from formality, and a time for mirth and enjoyment. There was dancing after dinner. “The figures of the dance were three and four handed reels or square sets and jigs. The commencement was always a square four, which was followed by what was called jigging it off; that is, two of the four would single out for a jig, and were followed out by the remaining couple. The jigs were often accompanied with what was called cutting out, that is, when either of the parties tired of the dance, on intimation the place was supplied by some one of the company without any interruption to the dance. In this way the amusement was often continued till the musician was heartily tired of the situation.”


Among marriages in pioneer days was that of ULLRY to his brother’s widow; they had lived together some time during the inoperative period before the election of justices, and when a justice was chosen they were legally married. In a spirit of joviality a party of young people, being resolved to have a marriage, seized upon a man named Israel WERTZ and fitted him out with a suit. One of the party furnished leggins, another some other article of dress until he was properly clothed, and then calling upon a woman named Jane DUGAN, asked her if she was willing to marry WERTZ. She replied affirmatively, and they all started for the house of Alexander SMITH, a justice of the peace who lived east of Greenville. WERTZ repented and broke away, upon which a dog was set after him, and he was caught and held. The ceremony was then performed and the twain thus singularly made one lived many years together happily, and both finally died of old age.


At this date the only article of export from the county was hoop-poles. During the winter the principal employment of farmers was wagoning these hoop-poles to Germantown, Middletown, Lewisburg, etc., and by this means they were enabled measurably to supply themselves with salt, groceries, leather and other necessaries. This supplied the people with ready money. The county-seat had only about 300 people, many very poor finding it hard work to get a living.


We here make a valuable extract from the pen of Prof. W. H. McINTOSH, in the “County History,” relating to the climate when the country was in a wilderness condition, and the changes which the clearing away the forests have produced in the health of the people:


Since the early settlement of Darke county occurring changes have greatly modified the climate, and to a less extent this is still in progress. The original forest, together with the undergrowth, shut out the sun from the soil and impeded atmospheric circulation. The almost monotonous level, receiving the winter snows and spring rains, retained the water through the summer, and thereby caused a moist, cool air. The forests broke the sweep of the cold northwest winds of winter, and the freezing of large, partly submerged tracts gave off a sufficient amount of heat to sensibly mitigate the cold incident to the season. The soil, bedded 1n leaves and vegetation, was greatly, protected from the frost, and the warm air of spring speedily awakened the dormant germs of vegetation. It also, being protected by the overhanging foliage from the heat of summer, more readily experienced the influences of wind and frost, and hastened winter.


The forests being, gradually cut down to make room for cultivation, the land being thoroughly. drained, these conditions have correspondingly changed. The earth now receives the sun-rays unobstructed; the air has free circulation. The tilled lands have been underdrained with tile and open ditches, thereby carrying away at once the melting


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Snows of winter and the rains of spring, leaving little moisture to affect the climate by evaporation. The effect of this denuding and draining of the soil is seen in the great depth to which the summer’s sun-rays penetrate, and as these rays are given off, the arrival of winter is proportionally delayed.


But when the reserve of heat is exhausted the unprotected earth is deeply frozen, and from these conditions come later springs, warmer summers and delayed but more severe winters.


An analysis of the climate of Darke county, according to the previous description, requires a consideration, also, of the situation of its land, and the direction and character of its winds.


Located about midway between the Allegheny mountains and the Mississippi river there is observable a prevalence of’ westerly winds. This is explained by the enormous area of level lowlands whereon the atmosphere is influenced by the earth’s rotary motion, causing it to move in westerly currents toward or from the equator. The west and northwest winds are mainly dry-air currents, so that although the annual rainfall is considerable, yet under their action the moisture is rapidly absorbed. Such conditions would inure to the productiveness of most soils, but in a good, rich soil, such as Darke county occupies, there is almost a certainty of ample and abundant crops.


The averages in the various seasons are, approximately, 31o for winter, 57o for spring, 74o for summer, 52o for autumn. The winter is long, and there are sudden changes from the mildness of spring to the most intense cold. These cold spells are rarely of more than seven or eight days duration, and are generally preceded by storms of rain or snow. Rain falls almost nightly and for a day or so at a time during spring, and the temperature fluctuates from the chill of winter to the warmth of summer. Following one of these changes summer comes and throughout is one of a tropical character. As fall draws near; the atmospheric conditions approach uniformity, and at this period Darke county is seen to the greatest advantage. Breathing an agreeable atmosphere, surrounded by healthful conditions, the beholder looks with pleasure upon the fields, the orchards and the gardens. Turning to the woodlands, he sees the maples, elms and oaks in holiday attire, preparing for their period of rest. There is every hue and all shades of color. The winds toy with the branches; the sunlight is all about them; some are darkened as in shadow, others are brilliant in the glow of light, and all about there are seen bluish, smoke-like mists, completing nature’s finest portraiture of the forest in the fall-time arrayed in splendor.


The health of the settler and of the later residents has been subjected to the mutations affecting the climate. In the low swamps miasma1 prevailed; the action of the sun upon the decaying vegetation opened by the clearing and stirred by the plow, induced fevers and chills, and there were few that did not, at times, succumb to these disorders. The healthy and hardy entered into the struggle with nature courageously and joyously. Labor had its zest, and food and sleep were most refreshing; but there were many who struggled on under the depression and hindrances of sickness.


As settlers came in and clearing took greater sweep, sickness became more general, or at least more apparent, and when Drs. PERRINE and BRIGGS came to Greenville, they found constant employment in attending to the calls of the sick. Fever and ague prevailed, and few, if any, families but had some sick members. Not then, as now, was quinine available—not even known—and the popular remedies were dog-wood and wild-cherry bark steeped in native whiskey.


Slow progress was made for a time, as men became disheartened, left the county and circulated reports that were not only true, but sadly true, of an irreclaimable wilderness of morass and swamp, the haunt, of pestiferous agues and consuming fevers. It is a fact that very few of the pioneers of Darke held on through all vicissitudes.


From 1820 to 1840 the doctors were all kept busy attending to the sick, so prevalent were ague, flux and bilious fever at certain seasons of the year. The years 1836 and 1837 were comparatively healthy; the year following was more sickly, and 1839 still more so, and from that time till 1850 there were more or less of bilious complaints every season. Since that date both towns and country have been generally healthy.


As an illustration of the desperation to which the medical treatment subjected patients, we relate an incident in the practice of Dr. GARD, one of the veteran physicians of the early days. He was called in, as family physician, to minister to the wants of a sick child. Cold water was forbidden, and calomel, as was usual, was administered. The doctor then retired, with promise of a return the next day. Cold water was barred; the boy begged for a drink, but entreated in vain, as the doctor’s orders were immutable law. He then resorted to strategy. Feigning a desire for rest and repose the family retired to permit their indulgence. Soon heavy breathing announced that all were asleep, and the patient arose from bed; staggered to the water-bucket, and, to his dismay, found it empty. This discovery would have been hailed with imprecations that would have roused all in the house had not the necessity of the case demanded control. Water must be had, although the spring was at quite a distance. The coffee-pot was found, and the patient set out to assuage his consuming thirst. He rested several times in the wet grass, but finally arrived at the spring, drank heartily, and, undiscovered, returned to his bed, having placed the well-filled coffee-pot at his bedside. This was two-thirds emptied before this suicidal act was known, when the doctor was hurriedly summoned and stood with astonished and ominous look, awaiting



Transcribers Note: Miasma was the belief that one could become sick by bad smells. 


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serious results that did not happen. In a few days the patient had recovered. Dr. GARD was as skillful as the best, and did his duty, but the practice of that day had its rigors.


Rich as the land was, it could not produce money, and this must be had to meet payments and taxes. Clearing, aside from small patches, had no stimulus. Of what avail were bins of corn and wheat, and droves of swine, without a purchaser or market, and of markets there were none. Having sufficient bread and meat, all were satisfied, and they shared freely with, each other and with strangers. Wheat was worth about two shillings per bushel, and corn changed gratification when a newspaper for the first time made its appearance and obtained general circulation in the county. It was published at Eaton, Preble county, and subscription was paid in corn at fifteen cents per bushel.


Pork was sold, when it could be sold, at two and three cents a pound; beef brought about the same price; maple sugar was held at six and eight cents per pound, and maple syrup at about two shillings a gallon. Wages ranged from two to three shillings a day, and this was regarded as an average of compensation. Had some wealthy man bought large tracts and taken steps to develop the capacity of the land, there were many who would have gladly offered their services; but improvement in wages, prices and health were yet far in the future, and this border life between the civilized and the savage had few attractions such as society affords.


During the war of the Rebellion Darke county contributed her full share to the ranks of the Union army. The Fortieth Ohio infantry, largely composed of Darke county men, was organized in the fall of 1861.


After varied service, in March, 1863, it joined the army of Kentucky at Franklin, Tenn., where, a few weeks later, an attack was made by a strong force of the enemy upon the place, but they were repulsed by the excellent fighting of some companies of the Fortieth out on picket line. The story of this fight, with the spicy conversation between Van Dorn and Serg. Orin of the Fortieth, who had been taken Prisoner, we copy front the “County History:”


On the 10th of April, 1863, the regiment was placed on picket duty in front of the town, with Capt. Charles G. MATCETT in command. At that time the rebel forces, under Gen. Van Dorn, were stationed at Spring Hill, Tenn., nine miles south of Franklin. Soon after 12 o’clock P.M. the rebels commenced an attack upon seven companies of the Fortieth, which had been stationed on and between the Columbia pike and the Big Harpeth river (a distance of about five hundred yards), but were handsomely repulsed. The attack was renewed with reinforcements, and again repulsed. By this time the enemy were preparing to charge in force, and the situation of the Fortieth was precarious. Behind them, for the distance of more than half a mile, lay an open field without an obstacle or a shelter on it; but, momentarily expecting reinforcements, they held their ground, and repulsed charge after charge, for two hours.


Van Dorn then formed his entire force for a charge, and the Fortieth fell back in good order to the town, where, taking advantage of hedges, fences, houses, etc., they repulsed the enemy and drove them out of town, and, at 4 o’clock P. M., resumed their former position on picket duty.


The Fortieth’s loss was three killed, four wounded. and ten missing, and all afterward were exchanged and rejoined the command.


The enemy’s entire loss is not known. Two captains and fifteen men killed, one major and twelve men wounded, and thirteen prisoners fell into the hands of the Fortieth. The enemy’s entire force was cavalry and two batteries of artillery. Over one hundred horses, equipped, escaped within the Union lines and were captured by other commands. The prisoners, when exchanged, reported, Van Dorn’s entire loss in killed and wounded to be one hundred and fifty men and one hundred and twenty horses.


An incident connected with this fight is worth relating:


Among the prisoners captured from the Fortieth that day was Jesse N. ORIN, a sergeant of Company B, afterward a distinguished representative for many years in the Ohio Legislature from Clinton county. The prisoners were taken before Van Dorn, and questioned by him. Sergt. ORIN answered in behalf of the captives.


“What commands do you belong to, boys?” said the rebel chieftain.


“Fortieth Ohio, sir,” answered ORIN. “You don’t, all belong to the same regiment, do you?”


“Yes sir.”

“What officer was that in command of the forces you had in to-day’s fight’?”

“Capt. Matchett, of the Fortieth, sir.”

 “Have you got down so low that captains must command your brigades?”

“Brigades? There was no other regiment fought against you to-day but the Fortieth, and only seven companies of that; for one company was in the town as provost-guard, and two companies were on the west of the town, and neither of them were engaged.”


“Then why in the name of thunder did not your captain quietly surrender when my brigade of cavalry attacked them?”


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I presume, sir, the captain’s orders were to defend the picket line as long as he could, and not to surrender.”


“But, why were you not reinforced?”

“I do not know, sir; just before we began to fall back the captain rode along our lines and told each company that it was evident that we were not to be reinforced, and we could not successfully retreat over that cotton-field, unless each company implicitly obeyed his commands. We all understood this; and he concentrated and retired us in the manner you saw.” How did you boys come to be captured?

“When our regiment had retreated about half the distance between the picket-line and the town, a column of your cavalry threatened to pass by our left, and get between us and the town, and `gobble us all up,” and Capt. Matchett ordered me and another sergeant, with about twenty men, to a position about three hundred yards to the left and rear of our regiment, in order to oppose that threatened movement, with orders to hold that position at all hazards, until the regi­ment had retired beyond the cotton-gin., and then make our way back to town as best we could. We stayed there as ordered, but when your forces in front, of the regiment were repulsed. they swept around to our position and took us all in, except a few who started to run the gauntlet back  to town.”


At this a fine-looking officer, who was present, broke out into a loud laugh, and said: “Gen. Van Horn, the joke is on you; you promised to show us how neatly you could take in the Yankees at Franklin, and it seems that you have been very cleverly repulsed by seven companies of infantry, commanded by a captain, with his left protected by a sergeant’s squad.”


At this Sergt. Orin said: “ General, I would like to be permitted to say one word in your defence; that is—there is not a private in the Fortieth Ohio who would not make a good colonel, and not a non-commissioned, officer who would not make a good brigadier, and as to the captain who commanded us to-day, he could handle an army


“Thank you,” said Van Horn; and then; turning to the officer referred to above, he said: “How could you expect me, with my division of cavalry, to overcome a Bonaparte, his field-marshals, his sixty generals and five hundred colonels?”


Gen. Van Horn then asked Sergt. Orin: “How many men have you at Franklin?” “I do not know, sir, and if I did I should decline to answer your question.”


“What is the nature and extent of your fortifications there?”

General, possibly you had better obtain that information by another reconnaissance  Well, Sergeant,” said the General, “you’ll do. When you rejoin the regiment, give my compliments to your brave comrades and the captain, and say to him that I hope he may never be promoted.”


“Captain,” said he, addressing an officer, “see that these men are treated with that courtesy and respect due brave men.”


The men were then taken back, and remained prisoners only about three weeks, when they were exchanged. Their prison life was made far more agreeable to them than they expected.


In 1878 a major of the Confederate army stopped for a few days at Greenville, Ohio, and called on Capt. Matchett, and said that he had belonged to the staff of the Inspector-General of the Confederate army; that they, had come west to look after Bragg’s army, and went to Spring Hill Run about the 8th of April, 1863, and found Gen. Van Horn a very genial and- social fellow, who induced the Inspector-General to go with him that day (April 10th), and see how nicely he would take in the Yankees at Franklin. The major said that all the officers agreed that they had never seen “such a fighting regiment” as the Fortieth was; and that he was free to say that he never met with such coolness and determined bravery since. He detailed the conversation between Gen. Van Horn and the captured sergeant, substantially as given above, which, in the wind of’ the writer, continued the statements made by Sergt. Orin and his captured comrades, oil their return from captivity.


GETTYSBURG is on the C. St. L. & P. It. R., 87 miles west of Columbus. It is the shipping point for a very productive surrounding wheat country. Newspapers: School Visitor, educational, John S. ROYER, editor and publisher. Churches: 1 Presbyterian, 1 Methodist Episcopal, and 1 German Lutheran. It is somewhat of an educational centre.


Population in 1880, 202.

ARCANUM, about 80 miles west of Columbus, at the intersection of the D. & U. and I. B.& W. Railroads, is surrounded by a fine farming district, and is a point of shipment for a large part of’ the tobacco crop of the county, of which the crop is generally immense. Newspaper: Tribune, Democrat, S. M. KEMBLE, editor. Churches: 1 Methodist, I United Baptist, 1 German Reformed. It has two good natural gas wells and more are being put down. Milling, wood work and tile making are the main industries.


Population in 1880, 778. School census in 1886, 335.


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VERSAILLES is on the C. C. C. & T. R. R. It has one newspaper, Policy, Independent. Central Bank, J. R. JACKSON, president; J. W. STARBUCK, cashier. Census in 18S0, 1,163. School census in 1886, 433; W. W. LONG, superintendent. This village was laid out in 1819 by Silas ATCHISON under the name of Jacksonville.


The Hardshell Baptists, says the county historian, built here in 1823 the second church erected in the county. As their rules required every applicant for membership to give in a brief experience as a test of his fitness for admission, he relates this as an illustration. A person living up the creek by the name of STONER it appears, notwithstanding his hard name, was a little soft. Nevertheless, he wanted to join the church. e rose in the congregation and thus began : “I got up this mornin’, greased my shoes, combed my head and started to meetin’. As I was comin’ along I saw a tree; I says to myself,

Kin one man pull that ar tree up?  No!

Kin two men pull that ar tree up?  No!

Kin three men pull that ar tree up?  No!

Kin ten men pull that ar tree up?  No!

Kin twenty men pull that ar tree up?  No!

Kin God Almighty pull that tree up ?  Yes I feel like suthin’ is going to happen.” He sat down. The preacher rose and said: “Brethren, extend the right hand of fellowship to Brother STONER, for this is the true blatin’ of the lamb.”

ANSONIA, about 90 miles west of Columbus, on Stillwater creek, and at intersection of the C. C. C. & I. and C. V. W. & M. Railroads, is in the centre of a grain-raising district. Newspaper: Mirror, Independent, Frank H. JOBES, editor and publisher. Churches: 1 Methodist Episcopal, 1 Christian, 1 German Lutheran. The Ansonia Stave Co., employing 18 hands, is the largest industry. Population in 1880, 542.


UNION CITY is on three railways and in two States, Indiana and Ohio; two counties, Randolph, Ind., and Darke, Ohio, and has two village corporations with corresponding sets of officials. In 1880 the population of the Indiana side was 2,478, Ohio side, 1,127; total, 3,605. Union City was platted in 1852, and the place has grown up in consequence, of railroads. The industries here are wooden-ware, staves, tubs, pails, clamps, broom handles, trunk slats, shingles, heading, hubs, spokes, chairs, also drain tile, etc. It is also a prominent point for the manufacture of flour and the purchase and shipment of grain.



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