191 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
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This county, occupying a portion of the Virginia military reservation, reaches back in its political history into early colonial times, before the organization of the general government of the United States, and when all the territory northwest of the River Ohio, extending west to the Mississippi, was claimed by Virginia.
In the years 1774 and 1775, before the Revolutionary War began, the thirteen colonies then existing, so far as, their relations to one another were concerned, were separate, independent communities, having, to a considerable extent, different political organizations and different municipal laws; but their various population spoke, almost universally, the English language, and, as descendants from a common English stock, had a common interest and a common sympathy.
In the year 1773, on the 7th day of July, Dr. Benjamin Franklin, then in England, wrote an official letter to the Massachusetts Assembly, strongly urging a general assembly of the representatives of the people of all the colonies, that they might make such a declaration and assertion of their rights as would be recognized by the king and parliament of Great Britain. Pursuant to this advice a congress, called the First Continental Congress, assembled at Carpenter's Hall, in Philadelphia, on the 5th day of September, 1774, and remained in session until the 26th day of October, following. A second Continental Congress met on the 10th day of May, 1775. This congress, styled also the revolutionary government, on the 4th day of July, 1776, published to the world the Declaration of Independence, and on the 15th day of November, 1777, agreed to articles of confederation and perpetual union between the states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia,
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Article I. recited that "The style of this confederacy shall be The United States of America;" and Article U. that "Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States in congress assembled." These articles of confederation, thirteen in number, which defined the powers and privileges of congress, and the" rights of the several states, after their adoption by each state, constituted the supreme law until the adoption of the constitution in 1788. It was under this confederacy that the great discussions arose concerning the disposition of the public lands.
The territory of Virginia, granted by the charters of King James I., was very extensive. The first charter authorized a company to plant a colony in America, anywhere between 34° and 41° north latitude, embracing about 100 miles of coast line, and extending back from the coast 100 miles, embracing also the islands opposite to the coast, and within 100 miles of it. The second charter granted to the Virginia Company a much larger territory, extending from Old Point Comfort (a point of land extending into Chesapeake Bay, a little to the north of the mouth of James River,) 200 miles north and 200 miles south, along the coast, and thence with a breadth of 400 miles, to the west and northwest, through the continent to the Pacific Ocean. The third charter added to this immense territory all the islands in both the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans, within 300 leagues of either coast. By the treaty of peace between France and Great Britain, in 1763, the Mississippi River was made the western boundary of the British provinces. Thus restricted, the territory of Virginia included all. that territory now occupied by Pennsylvania, North and South Carolina, Kentucky, and all the land northwest of the River Ohio.
On the 29th day of June, 1776, just five days before the Declaration of Independence by the United States in congress assembled, Virginia adopted her constitution or form of government, in Article XXI of which she ceded the territories contained within the charters creating the colonies of Maryland, Pennsylvania, North and South Carolina, to those respective colonies, relinquishing all her rights to the same, except the right to the navigation of certain
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rivers, and all improvements that had been or might be made along their shores. But this article affirms that "the western and northern extent of Virginia shall in other respects stand as fixed by the charter of King James I, in the year 1609, and by the published treaty of peace between the court of Great Britain and France, in the year 1763, unless, by act of legislature, one or more territories shall be laid off, and governments established west of the Allegheny mountains." The charter of King James I, referred to in this article, was the second charter, so that now, on the sea coast, Virginia was restricted to her present limits, but her western boundaries were unchanged. She claimed Kentucky, and all the northwestern territory.
Concerning this northwestern territory there were conflicting claims. New York claimed a portion of it. Massachusetts also asserted a separate claim, and Connecticut, by her grant from the council of Plymouth, in 1630, was to extend westward from the Atlantic Ocean to "the South Sea,". or Pacific Ocean. This, would take a large portion of the territory included under the Virginia charter. These conflicting claims were never adjusted between the states, but were finally settled, as will soon appear, by cession to the United States, in congress assembled.
In 1779 Virginia opened an office for the sale of her western lands. This attracted the attention of the other states, several of which regarded the vacant region in the west as a common fund for the future payment of the expenses of the war for independence, in which the colonies had been engaged. This claim in behalf of the United States was asserted on the ground that the western lands had been the property of the crown. By the treaty of 1763, France had ceded to Great Britain all her possessions in North America, east of the Mississippi, and naturally these lands would fall, on the declaration of independence, to the opponent of the crown, that is, to the United States in congress assembled, and not to individual states. It was contended, therefore, that it was manifestly unjust that a vast tract of unoccupied country, acquired by the common efforts and the common expense of the whole union, should be appropriated for the exclusive benefit of particular states, while others would be left to bear the unmitigated burdens of debt, contracted in securing that independence by which this immense acquisition was wrested from Great Britain. These separate claims by the several states were opposed by those states that
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made no pretensions to claims, and they served, in a great measure, for a time, to prevent the union under the articles of confederation.
On the 25th day of June, 1778, nearly one year before the opening of the Virginia land office, New Jersey made objection to the confederation, on the ground that the public lands now claimed by Virginia and other states, under ancient charters, should belong to the United States in common, that each separate state might derive a proportionate benefit therefrom.
Maryland instructed her delegates in congress not to sign the articles of confederation, unless an article or articles were added thereto, looking to a cession of the public lands.
The Council of the State of Delaware, on the 23d day of January, 1779, before passing a law instructing their delegates in congress to sign the articles of confederation, resolved, that the state was justly entitled to a right in common with the other members of the union to that extensive tract of country westward of the frontier of the United States, which was acquired by the blood and treasure of all, and that it ought to be a common estate, to be granted out on terms beneficial to the United States.
Such were the vigorous protests against the union under the articles of confederation, while Virginia was left a vast empire within the confederacy, a power as many supposed, dangerous to the liberties of the smaller states ; and when Virginia opened her land office for the sale of her, western lands the excitement became more intense. Congress, in opposition to the pretensions of all the states claiming lands, as the common head of the, United States maintained its title to the western lands upon the solid ground, that a vacant territory, wrested from the common enemy, by the united arms, and at the joint expense of all the states, ought of right to belong to congress, in trust for the common use and benefit of the whole union; hence she earnestly recommended to Virginia, and to all the states claiming vacant lands, to adopt no measures that would obstruct the final cession of such lands to congress. New York was the first to listen to the appeals of the complaining states, and to congress. On the 29th of February, 1780, she authorized her delegates in congress to restrict her western border by such lines as they should deem expedient, and on the 20th day of December, 1783, Virginia passed an act, authorizing her delegates in congress to convey to the United States in Congress assembled, "all the right of this commonwealth to the territory
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northwest of the River Ohio." In this act of cession she made the following reservation, viz.:
VIRGINIA MILITARY SURVEY.
"That a quantity not exceeding one hundred and fifty thousand acres of land, promised by this state, shall be allowed and granted to Gen. George Rodgers Clark, and to the officers and soldiers of his regiment to be laid off in such place on the northwest side of the Ohio as a majority of the officers shall choose, and to be afterwards divided among the said officers and soldiers in due proportion according to the laws of Virginia. That in case the quantity of good lands, on the south side of the Ohio, upon the waters of the Cumberland River, and between. the Green River and the Tennessee, which have been reserved by law for the Virginia troops, upon continental establishment, should prove insufficient for their legal bounties, the deficiency should be made up to said troops in good lands, to be laid off between the Rivers Scioto and Little Miami, on the northwest side of the River Ohio, in such proportions as have been engaged to them by the laws of Virginia."
The land embraced in this reservation, between the Scioto and Little Miami Rivers, constitutes the Virginia Military District in Ohio. The district comprehends the entire counties of Adams, Brown, Clermont, Clinton, Highland, Fayette, Madison and Union; and a portion of the counties of Scioto, Pike, Ross, Pickaway, Franklin, Delaware, Marion, Hardin, Logan, Champaign, Clarke, Greene, Warren and Hamilton.
Although this cession and reservation was made in 1783, its definite boundary was not determined until a decision of the Supreme Court was made in reference to it some time in 1824. The Scioto was the eastern line, and Virginia claimed the right to run the western line of the tract direct from the source of the Scioto to the mouth of the Little Miami. Such a line would run considerably west of some parts of the Little Miami." The source of the Scioto is in the western part of Auglaize county, and a straight line drawn from this point to the mouth of the Little Miami would have run entirely west of Greene County, and would have included in the Military District, a portion of Auglaize, Shelby, Miami and Montgomery counties.
The Indian line established by the treaty of Greenville, between
196 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
the United States and certain Indian tribes, being a part of the boundary of this military district, it is quite important that it be described here. It begins at the mouth of the Cuyahoga and runs south, up that river through the portage between it and the Tuscarawas, down the Tuscarawas to the northern line of Tuscarawas county at its middle point; thence west, bearing a little south, forming the northwestern line of this county to Holmes, passing through Holmes county, it forms the eastern part of the northern boundary of Knox. It then passes through the northwestern part of Knox, through the middle part of Morrow, the southern part of Marion, through Logan, forming the northern line of Lake and Harrison townships, through Shelby county, forming the northern boundary of Salem township. From a point in the western part of Shelby county the line bears a little to the north of west, and extends through the southern part of Mercer county to Fort Recovery, in the western part of the county ; thence it extends in a straight line south, bearing west through the southeastern part of Indiana, to the Ohio River, at a point in Indiana opposite the mouth of the Kentucky river.
In May 1800, congress passed a law for the sale of lands in the western territory which were not included in the Virginia Military District, and in the execution of this law the Surveyor General caused a line to be run from the source of the Little Miami toward what he supposed to be the mouth of the Scioto, which is denominated Ludlow's line, and surveyed the lands west of that line into sections as prescribed in the act of congress.
In 1804, congress passed a law concerning the boundary of the Virginia Military District which enacted that Ludlow's line should be considered the western boundary line of the reserved territory north of the source of the Little Miami, provided the State of Virginia should within two years recognize it as the boundary of this territory. Virginia did not accept the proposition, and the rights of the parties remained as if nothing had been done. Again in 1812, congress authorized the President to appoint three commissioners to meet three other commissioners, to be appointed by the State of Virginia, who were to agree upon the line of military reserve, and to cause the same to be surveyed. Should the commissioners from Virginia fail to meet them, they were to proceed alone, and make their report to the President. In the meantime, and until the line should be established by consent, Ludlow's line should be con-
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sidered the western boundary. The Commissioners of the United States were met by those of Virginia at Xenia, on the 26th day of October, 1812, and proceeded to ascertain the sources of the two rivers and to run the line. They employed a Mr. Charles Roberts to survey and mark a line from the source of one river to that of the other. This line is called Roberts' line, and is drawn from the source of the Little Miami to the source of the Scioto. The Virginia commissioners refused to accede to this, and claimed, as has been stated before, that the line should be drawn from the source of the Scioto to the month of the Little Miami. On the 11th day of April, 1818, congress passed an act, declaring that from the Little Miami to the Indian boundary line, established by the Greenville treaty,. Ludlow's line should be considered as the western boundary of the military reserve. This, however, was the act of only one party to the contract, and did not necessarily determine the boundary. But the subsequent decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, made in 1824, based upon the language in the act of cession defining the phrase, "good lands to be, laid off between the Rivers Scioto and Little Miami," to mean the whole country from their sources to their mouths, bounded on either side by said rivers. It would be clear from this decision that the most direct line from the source of one to the source of the other would complete the boundary. This decision of the Supreme Court practically settled the question, and the Ludlow line to the Indian boundary, and the Robert's line from the Indian boundary, together with a portion of the Indian line itself, became the established boundary line of the Virginia Military District between the sources of the Scioto and Little Miami Rivers. The Ludlow line begins at the source of the Little Miami River in the northeast. corner of Madison township, Clark county, a little more than three miles east by north from South Charleston, at a point on the Columbus and Xenia Railroad, about a half mile southwest of the point where the road crosses the county line, and extends north by west through Champaign county, passing about five miles east of Urbana. In Logan county, it runs through the eastern part. of Bellefontaine, and strikes the Indian boundary line in the northeast corner of Harrison township, about three and a half miles north by west from Bellefontaine. From this terminus of the Ludlow line, the Indian boundary line extends west by south along the northern border of Harrison township, about four miles, to the Robert's line. This Robert's line begins about one and a half
198 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
miles east of the northwest corner of Harrison township, and extends north by west, through the middle of Lewiston Reservoir, to a point in a swampy or marshy region, about a mile and three-fourths south by east from the center of Wayne township, in the southeastern part of Auglaize county. Here the line makes very nearly a right angle, and extends in a direction east by north about two miles and a half to the eastern limit of Goshen townships, where it terminates in the Scioto River. The original Roberts line must have begun at, or very near the beginning of the Ludlow line, but its bearing was so far to the west that it ran a little to the west of the Scioto's source. The Ludlow line on the other hand 'did not bear enough to the west. It ran a little to the east of the source, it was proper therefore that a part of both lines, in the absence of a third survey, should have been made the real-boundary.
The townships in Greene County included in this military district, are the entire townships of Cedarville, Ross, Silver Creek, New Jasper, Jefferson, and Caesar's Creek; and' part of the townships of Miami, Xenia, Beaver Creek, Spring Valley, and Sugar Creek. The entire township of Bath is outside of this district. The, entire township of Xenia, except about four square miles west of the Miami, between Oldtown and Byron, is within the district; and the entire township of Beaver Creek, except about five square miles in the southeastern corner, is outside the district.
The territory of Greene County outside the Virginia Military District, is west of the Little Miami River, and is included in what is called Symmes' purchase, a tract of land contracted for in October, 1788, by John Cleve Symmes, in behalf of himself and his associates, adjoining the Ohio, and between the Great and the .; Little Miamis. The original, contract with congress was for' the purchase of one million acres; but, in consequence of his failure to make due payments, the greater part of this tract reverted-to congress. This original purchase included the territory in Greene County, west of the Little Miami River. The patent 'that finally issued to him and his associates, included 311,682 acres, bounded on the south by the Ohio, on' the west by the Great Miami, on the east by the Little Miami, and on the north by a parallel of latitude to be run from the Great Miami to the Little Miami, so as to comprehend the quantity of land named above. This northern line of Symmes' purchase passed through Warren County, very near its middle point.
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In examining a map of Greene County, one is led to notice the regularity of surveys on the west side of the Little Miami, and the irregularity of the same on the east side of the river, and to inquire for the cause. All the public lands outside of the Virginia Military District, were surveyed regularly, according to act of congress, passed May 18, 1796. By this act a surveyor general was appointed, whose duty it was, by himself and through deputies, to survey the unreserved and unpatented public lands, by running north and south lines, according to the true meridian, and east and west lines crossing the former at right angles, so as to form townships each six miles square, and sections each one mile square, unless some peculiar circumstance rendered it impracticable. In such case the surveyor was to approximate as nearly as possible to this. On the contrary, the lands within the military district were not surveyed pursuant to any order of government, at any particular time, nor in accordance with any definite plan. The land was entered by persons holding land warrants, issued by the State of Virginia to her soldiers in the continental army, and in the army of Gen. George Rodgers Clark. In many, and perhaps in most cases, the original owners of these warrants did not themselves enter the lands but other parties purchasing them, in some instances one person purchasing many of them, located the aggregate amount claimed in one or more tracts, in whatever part of the territory he might choose, provided it had not been entered by some one before. It was only necessary that it should be surveyed by a competent surveyor, that is, one regularly appointed or elected by legal authority to do this work. These surveys were numbered in the order in which the tracts of land surveyed were entered the survey taking its number from the entry. It frequently occurs that a survey having a higher number was made at a much earlier date than that having a lower number; but in every case the tract having the lower number was entered first. The survey No. 387 was entered August 1, 1787, and surveyed November 20, 1794 while survey 571 was entered August 6, 1787, and surveyed October 18, 1792. This latter number was surveyed nearly two years prior to that of the first number, but it was entered six days later. By examining a map of the surveys in the Virginia Military District, it will be seen that some surveys have several numbers. Thus, one survey of 1480 acres, situated in the middle of New Jasper township, between North Fork and Middle Fork of Caesar's
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Creek, has four numbers, viz : 2358, 2359, 2475, and 2476. In this there were four different entries, all surveyed into one tract. There are also in several instances two or more surveys, each having the same number. Entry No. 2312, of 2280 acres, was surveyed into two tracts, one of 640 acres, and the other of 1640 acres, both surveys having the same number.
The first tract of land entered in the Virginia Military District in Greene County, or in the territory now comprised by Greene County, (for it was entered about sixteen years before Ohio became a state, and Greene County was organized,) was a tract of 1200 acres on the Little Miami River, bordering Oldtown (Old Chillicothe). It was entered by John Jameson, on the 1st day of August, 1787, on part of a military warrant No. 192, and surveyed for him by Nathaniel Massie, on the 20th day of November, 1794, returned to the land office, examined and recorded on the 21st day of May, 1795. The number of the entry, or as it is generally called, the survey, is 387. The chain carriers were Duncan McKenzie and Archibald McDonald, and the marker was David Lovejoy. This survey is described as follows, viz: Beginning at two burr oaks and a hickory on the bank of the river, 400 poles on a straight line below the lower point of a small island, opposite Chillicothe, .thence up the river, north 49 degrees east, 22 poles; north 14 degrees east, 12 poles; north 73 degrees east, 84 poles; north 22 degrees east, 18 poles; south 85 degrees east, 24 poles; north 67 degrees east, 32 poles; north 39 degrees east, 41 poles; north 15 degrees east, 64 poles; north 36 degrees east, 78 poles; north 39 degrees east, 38 poles, opposite the lower point of an island; thence south 36 degrees east, 466 poles, crossing a branch twice, to a white oak, dogwood, and hickory ; thence south 54 degrees west, 400 poles, to two black oaks and a hickory ; thence north 36 degrees west, 466 poles, to the place of beginning.
This survey now comprehends the farms of Joseph Cromwell, John Middleton, D. S. Harner, Mrs. S. Boyd, J. Bryson, J. B. Wright, J. Sexton's heirs, F. M. Linkhart and William Linkhart. The northeastern line of this tract extends n early. northwest and southeast, as by the above field notes, it reads south 36° east. It extends along the northwestern border of Oldtown. The southeastern line forms the northwestern bounday of John Woodrow's farm, and strikes the road leading from Xenia, past the fair. grounds, to the Little Miami river, about one hundred rods southeast from the residence of Mr.
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James Hawkins. The southwestern line extends along this road and strikes the river a few rods south of the iron bridge which crosses it.
The second tract was entered by Henry Bell on part of a military warrant No. 2,261, and surveyed on the 21st day of November, 1794, by the same surveyor, Nathaniel Massie, the same chain carriers, and the same marker. It contained 1,000 acres, and was located on the Little Miami river, adjoining the first survey, bordering it and bounding it partly on the northeast. From a point at the northeast corner of survey No. 387, sixty poles in a straight line below the mouth of Massie's creek, it extended up the river with its meander about 330 poles, and back from the river along its northeastern boundary 346 poles. The third tract was entered by John Stokes, contained 1,000 acres, and was surveyed by James Galloway, Jr., on the 29th of June, 1810. It borders the first tract on the southwest.
Survey No. 571, although not the first land entered in the county, was the first tract surveyed. It was entered on the 6th day of August, 1787, only twenty-four days after the ordinance of 1787, organizing the northwest territory had been adopted by congress, and surveyed for Albert Gallertin, by Nathaniel Massie on the 18th day of October, 1792. This tract is situated in the southern part of Spring Valley township, on the east side of Caesar's Creek, part in Clinton county, the larger portion, however, in Greene. The village of New Burlington is situated a little south and east of the middle of this tract. Across survey No. 1,391 (a tract of 2,500 acres, surveyed for John Woodford, by Nathaniel Massie, April 22, 1793,) was marked or traced the line of " Col. Logan's march to Chillicothe town," in the campaign of Gen. George Rogers Clark against the Indian towns on the Miami.. This tract is situated in the southeastern part of Xenia township. The trace crosses the northern part of the survey, and if continued in a straight line to Chillicothe, it would pass the city of Xenia on the east and north.
Many surveys were made for persons who not only never occupied them, but who never saw them, some among whom were men of revolutionary fame. A tract of 2,500 acres was entered by Hon. Major General Horatio Gates, who commanded the American forces at the battle of Saratoga, and surveyed by Nathaniel Massie on the 8th day of March, 1793. It is located on the head waters of Caesar's and of Massie's Creek, in Cedarville township, and its northwestern corner is but a short distance southeast from the village of Cedarville.
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The largest survey in the county is No. 3,908. It contains 4,222 acres, and was surveyed for Robert Pollard, August 15, 1800, about the same time that, Ludlow's line was run under the direction of the Surveyor General from the source of the Little Miami toward that of the Scioto. This tract is situated partly in Greene County and partly in Clinton. The part in Greene is in Caesar's Creek and Spring Valley townships. A tract of 1,000 acres on the Little Miami River in the eastern part of Miami township, almost due north from Cedarville, was located and surveyed November 14, 1796 for Robert Randolph, a relative of Richard Randolph, who, in subsequent years came into possession of the land, making his home upon it until his death in 1859. In his will, he provided that the land should be sold and the proceeds used for the purchase and freedom of the Randolph slaves in the south. Before the provisions of the will could be carried into execution, the -slaves were freed by the President's proclamation, and the heirs of Randolph claimed the property. The matter was thus brought into court and it has formed a long chapter of litigation in Greene County.
Hamilton was the second county organized in the northwest territory. It was established January 2, 1790, by proclamation of Governor St. Clair, and named from Alexander Hamilton. At first its southern boundary was the Ohio River, between the mouths of the Little Miami and the Big Miami; its eastern boundery the Little Miami, its western the Big Miami, and its northern and east and west line extending from " standing stone forks," or branch of the Big Miami to the Little Miami. On the 22d day of June, 1798, its western boundary was changed. It began at a point on the bank of the Ohio River,. opposite the mouth. of the Kentucky River, where the general boundary line between the lands of the United States and the Indian tribes, established by the treaty of Greenville, August 3, 1795, intersects the bank of that river, and ran thence to Fort Recovery, in the southwestern part of what, is now Mercer County, thence north until it intersected the southern boundary line of the county of Wayne, in the northern part of Mercer County. Hamilton County thus changed included all that part of Indiana lying between the Greenville treaty line and the western boundary line of
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Ohio, and all that part of Ohio west of the Little Miami River, and extending; north to the southern boundary of Wayne County. This original Wayne County was established August 15, 1796. It included all northern Ohio west of the Cuyahoga River, and also the southern peninsula of Michigan. Its southwestern boundary line extended from the northern part of what is now Mercer County, north by west to the southern shore of Lake Michigan.
Ross County was established on the 20th day of-August, 1792. Its boundary line is described as follows, viz: "Beginning at the forty-second mile tree, on the line of the original grant of land by the United States to the Ohio Company, which line was run by Israel Ludlow." This "forty-second mile-tree" was forty-two miles almost due north from Pomeroy, on the Ohio River, and a short distance southeast from Athens, in Athens County. From this point it extended west, into the western part of what is now Highland County, about ten miles southwest from Hillsboro; thence north to the southern boundary line of Wayne County, described above; thence east on said southern boundary line of Wayne, to a point in the present southern boundary line of Wayne County, almost due south from Wooster, and a very little east of the eighty-second meridian, west longitude; thence south to the place of beginning. The eighty-second meridian west from Greenwich is a very little, perhaps not more than a mile, west of the original eastern line of Ross.
From these two descriptions of Hamilton and Ross, it appears that there was a portion of what is now Greene County that was neither in Hamilton nor Ross. The eastern limit of Hamilton County, as we have seen, was the Little Miami River, and the western limit of Ross County was a north and south line passing through what is now Greene County, not far from the village of Cedarville. It was eight miles west of the present east line of Greene County, and the distance from Hamilton to Ross, on the southern boundary line of Greene, was about ten miles.
It has been stated by historians that Greene County was formed from Hamilton and Ross. It must not be understood that all the territory of Greene County, as it was formed in 1803, belonged to those two counties. A part of Ross, a part of Hamilton, and a much larger part of what was originally Wayne County, besides that portion of territory between Ross and Hamilton which belonged to neither, was comprehended originally in the county of
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Greene. This strip of territory, although not included in the proclaimed boundaries of Hamilton County, was evidently regarded as a part of it. One historian states that the eastern boundary of Hamilton County was originally as far east as the Hocking River. On the 24th day of March, 1803, the counties of Warren, Butler, Montgomery and Greene, were established. Greene County is described as comprehending all that part of Hamilton and Ross included in the following bounds, viz: Beginning at the southeast corner of Montgomery County, running thence east to the Ross County line, (across the intermediate territory mentioned above,) and the same course continued eight miles into Ross County; thence north to the state line; thence in a westerly course with said state line to east line of Montgomery County; thence south by said line of Montgomery County to the place of beginning. From this description it appears that Montgomery County originally extended from its present southern boundary to the north line of the state, and that Greene County also extended from its present southern boundary to the north line of the state, having Montgomery County as its western boundary.
On the 20th day of February, 1805, Greene County was circumscribed in its limits, by the organization of Champaign County, which was, composed partly of Greene and partly of Franklin. The southern line of this county extended east and west, between the eighth and ninth ranges of townships, and was two miles north of the present most northern limit of Greene County. It was two miles north of the village of Osborn, which is situated on the county line. It. extended east of Greene, into what was at that time Franklin County. Champaign County also extended from its southern boundary to the north line of the state.
Greene County was reduced to its present limits by the organization of Clarke County, on the 26th day of December, 1817. Clarke County, named in honor of Gen. George Rogers Clarke, was formed from the counties of Champaign, Madison and Greene. The boundary line between Greene and Clarke, as described at this time, was as follows: From the east line of Greene County it extended first, west five miles; second, north one-half a mile; third, west to the line between townships four and five in the eighth range ; thence north with said township line to the line between sections three and four; thence west with said sectional line to the line of the third township; thence north with said line to the
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sectional line between the fourth and fifth tier of sections in said range; thence westwardly with said line to the east line of Montgomery County. That part of this boundary line described as the third above, extending west to the line between townships four and five in the eighth range, ran a little to the south of the dwelling house of General Benjamin Whiteman, situated on the north side of the Little Miami, a short distance east of the present village of Clifton, thus leaving it in Clarke County. Gen. Whiteman was at that time, and had been for many years, a prominent man in Greene County. He was one of the first three associate judges of the Court of Common Pleas. Identified as he was with all the public interests of the county, he preferred to remain in it. He therefore procured the passage of a law, on the 25th day of January, 1819, so changing this line that it should run north of his dwelling house. It is described as follows : From the line running north one-half mile, " thence such a course west (west by north) as will strike the line between townships four and five, on the north side of the Little Miami River, in the eighth range." No other changes have ever been made in this boundary line between Greene and Clarke. This line was carefully surveyed in January, 1880, by the county surveyors of the two counties, Levi Riddell, of Greene, and A. P. Bond, of Clarke.
Greene County was first organized into townships on the 10th day of May, 1803. It was the first act of the first court for the transaction of county business held in the county, just fortyseven days after its organization. It will be remembered that neither Champaign nor Clarke counties were yet organized, and that Greene County extended from its southern line to the northern limits of the state. It was divided at this time into four townships, Sugar Creek, Caesar's Creek, Mad River, and Beaver Creek. The west line of Sugar Creek was the same as now, seven miles long, the northwestern corner of the township being at the northwestern corner of the tenth section, in the western line of the county. From this point the line extended south, along the west line of the county, seven miles, to the southwest corner of the same; thence east, crossing the Little Miami River, and the same course continued four miles east of the river, very nearly to
206 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
the southeast corner of what is now Spring Valley Township; thence north ten miles, to a point due east from the point of beginning. This point, the northeastern corner of Sugar Creek Township, was about two miles south, by a little west, from the present city of Xenia. The township included what is now Sugar Creek, nearly all of Spring Valley, and the southwest part of Xenia Township. Caesar's Creek Township began at the northeast corner of Sugar Creek, running thence north to the Little Miami. It ran about a half mile west of Xenia City, and intersected the Little Miami west of Oldtown, at the mouth of Massie's Creek; thence it extended east to the east line of the county. On the east and south it was bounded by the county lines. This township was about four times as large as Sugar Creek, extending north from the southern boundary about fifteen miles, and including all the southeastern part of the county. The southern boundary line of Mad River Township was the south boundary of the tenth range of the township, in what is now Clarke County. This line extends east and west, and is two miles north of a line passing through the city of Springfield, Clarke County, along which the national road passes. It was the largest township in the county. Its width from east to west was the same as that of the county, and it extended to the northern limits of the state. Beaver Creek was the next largest township. It comprehended the remaining part of the county not embraced in the three townships named ; that is, all north of Sugar Creek and Caesar's Creek, and all south of Mad River. The village of Springfield was in Beaver Creek township, and the old forest trees that were then growing on the site of Xenia were in Caesar's Creek Township. The voting precincts in these townships were as follows : In Sugar Creek, the house of Mr. Cheney; in CaeCreek, the house of William J. Stewart; in Mad River, the house of Griffith Foos; and in Beaver Creek, the house of Peter Borders.
The above named townships, which, as we have seen, occupied much more territory than is now comprised by Greene County, were organized, as we have also seen, by the Associate Judges of the Court of Common Pleas.
The act of territorial government creating the office of county commissioners for counties in the territory northwest of the river
COMMISSIONERS ACT. - 207
Ohio, was adopted from the statutes of Pennsylvania, which were published June 19, 1795, and took effect October 1, 1795. These commissioners were not elected by the people, but were appointed by the justices of the court of general quarter sessions of the peace. This court was established and so styled by the territorial government in 1788. It was composed of not less than three nor more than five of the justices of the peace in any county, which justices were appointed and commissioned by the governor, under the seal of the territory. Such commissioners were listers of real estate, and they performed many of the duties required of the county commissioners of a later date, but their powers did not extend to the organization of townships. No such board of commissioners was ever appointed in Greene County, nor was there ever any court of general quarter sessions of the peace held in the county. There were such commissioners in Hamilton and Ross counties at the time of the establishment of Greene County, but Greene County was established on the 24th day of March, 1803, just thirty-three days after Ohio became a state, and twenty-three days after the commencement of the first legislature at Chillicothe, which occurred March 1, 1803.
By an act of the second General Assembly of the State of Ohio, passed February 14, 1804, the office of county commissioner was created as it stands today. The first commissioners under this act were elected on the first Monday in April, 1804. They held their first court for the transaction of the business of the county in the following June. The day of the month is not given. At that meeting the following record was made, to wit : "At the house of Peter Borders, in Beaver Creek Township, June, 1804, Jacob Smith, James Snodon, and John Sterrett, gents, produced certificates of their being duly elected commissioners for the county of Greene; and also produced certificates under the hand and seal of James Barrett, Esq., one of the associate judges of the Court of Common Pleas, that they had taken the oath required by law; and then there was a court held by the board of commissioners for said county, and John. Paul was appointed clerk to the said board of commissioners ; and the said commissioners cast lots for rank Jacob Smith' drew for three years, John Sterrett for two, and James Snodon for one year. The listers of taxable property having failed to bring in their lists, for which cause it is considered that the court will meet at this place on the first Monday in July next, to
208 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
lay the levy of said county. Ordered that the clerk advertise for the listers of taxable property to forward their lists on or before that day."
These commissioners, and their successors in office, on the petition of householders living in certain localities, from time to time presented to then, have organized the several other townships in the county.
Xenia Township was organized on the 20th day of August, 1805. It was taken from the territory of Beaver Creek and Caesar's Creek townships. Its boundary is described as follows : All that part of Beaver Creek Township east of the Little Miami,, and above the mouth of Massie's Creek; thence with Beaver Creek Township line south to the northeast corner of Sugar Creek Township ; thence with Sugar Creek Township line to the mouth of Anderson's Fork ; thence up the main fork of Caesar's Creek, with the meanders thereof, to the east line of said county ; thence north with said line to the northeast corner of the county; thence west to the Miami ; thence down the river to the place of beginning. It appears from this description, that Xenia Township originally occupied all that part of Greene County east of the Little Miami River, and north of Caesar's Creek, and also east of a line extending south from the mouth of Massie's Creek to the mouth of Anderson's Fork, or more truly to Caesar's Creek, for this west line of Xenia Township, corresponding with the east line of Beaver Creek and Sugar Creek townships, must have struck Caesar's Creek some distance above the mouth of Anderson's Fork. It will be remembered that Clarke County had not yet been organized, and hence Xenia Township extended some distance into what is now Clarke County. The northeast corner of the township was in the present north line of Madison Township, in Clarke County. The commissioners ordered that the first election in this township should be held at the house of William A. Beaty, in Xenia.
Bath Township was organized March 3, 1807. It was taken from the territory of Beaver Creek. Its south line originally was the same as now, running east and west along the north boundary of the fifth tier of sections, in the seventh range of townships. This line is one mile south of the village of Byron. It extended from the west line of the county, east to the Little Miami River. The township included all the territory west of the Little Miami River between this line and what was then the south line of Cham-
COMMISSIONERS ACT. - 209
paign County. Bath Township therefore extended two miles north of the present village of Osborn. It included nearly all of what is now Mad River and Greene townships, in Clarke County ; also the northwest corner of Madison Township, in the same county. The first election in this township was held at the house of Andrew Reid.
Miami Township was organized on the 8th day of June, 1808. It was taken from Bath and Xenia townships. Its northwest corner was in the.. present Mad River Township, Clarke County, in the south line of Champaign County, two miles north of the present northeast corner of Bath Township. From this point the west line of Miami extended south seven miles, to the southern line of Bath Township; thence it extended east to the east line of the county. The present southern line of Miami is a part of the original line. Extend the present southern line of Miami two miles west, and then east to the east line of the county, and we shall have the original line. Miami Township then included in what is now Greene County, the northern portions of Cedarville and Ross townships ; and in Clarke County about one-third of Mad River Township, all of Greene, and one-half of Madison Townships. The first election was held at the house of David S. Brodrick, at Yellow Springs.
Silver Creek Township was organized on the 4th day of March, 1811. It was taken from Caesar's Creek and Xenia townships-the greater part from Caesar's Creek. Its southwest corner was in the southern line of the county, one mile east of the old Ross County line, that is, seven miles west of the southeast corner oŁ the county, thence it extends north eight miles; thence east seven miles to the east line of the county ; thence south with said county line to the southeast corner of the county ; thence west to the place of beginning. Its northern limit originally was the same as at present. It included all of what is now Jefferson Township, and the eastern part of Spring Valley, about one-fourth of the township. The first election was held at the house of Noah Strong, in said township.
Ross Township was organized on the same day with Silver .Creek, March 4, 1811. It was taken entirely from Xenia Township, and was bounded as follows : Beginning at the northwest corner of Silver Creek Township, it extended north to the south line of Miami, a distance of nearly six miles; thence east with the
210 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
Miami line to the east line of the county; thence south to the northeast corner of Silver Creek ; thence west to the place of beginning. Since its organization in 1811, a portion of Cedarville has been taken from it, and a portion of Miami added to it. In form it was originally a rectangle, seven miles in length from east to west, and nearly six miles in width from north to south. The first election was held at the house of John Bozarth.
Cedarville was organized into a township on the 6th day of December, 1850. It was taken from the townships of Xenia, Caesar's Creek, Ross and Miami. It was the first township organized with very irregular boundary lines, and therefore created corresponding irregularity in the boundary lines of the townships out of which it was taken. This township has been changed but little since its first organization.
In 1848, when an effort was made to form the township of Cedarville, some citizens of Ross, opposed to the measure, entered a vigorous protest against it. The parties making this protest said to the commissioners : " Our reasons we will fully set forth in your presence, only adding here that we are unwilling to have any of our township cut off, which is already too small, to gratify the caprice or spleen of any."
The commissioners ordered a notice to be given in three public places of an election for three trustees, a clerk, and a treasurer, to be held on the 21st day of December, 1850, in the town of Cedarville, at the house of John W. Walker.
New Jasper was organized into a township on the 9th day of June, 1853. It was taken from the townships of Caesar's Creek, Xenia, Cedarville, Ross and Silver Creek.
Spring Valley was organized into a township on the 3d day of December, 1856. It was taken from Sugar Creek, Caesar's Creek and Xenia townships.
Jefferson was organized into a township on the 7th day of June, 1858. It was taken entirely from Silver Creek Township. Previous to the formation of this township there had been an election precinct at Bowerville. The petitioners for the new township were mostly from that part of the township. By the formation of this, the last township in the county, Silver Creek was reduced in size,. about one-half.
Vance Township. No record has been found showing when Vance Township was organized, or what were its boundaries.
THE JUDICIARY. - 211
There was once such a township, and we know that it was organized prior to 1818. It comprised a portion of what is now Madison Township, Clarke County, and a portion of Ross Township, in Greene County. After the organization of Clarke County the fractional part of Vance Township that was left in Greene was attached to Ross Township, October 23, 1818.
On the 15th day of April, 1803, the General Assembly of the State of Ohio passed an act establishing the judiciary system of that time. It determined that the supreme court of the state should consist of three judges, chosen in the manner directed in the constitution ; that is, they were to be appointed by a joint ballot of both houses of the General Assembly ; and they were to hold their office for the terns of seven years, " if so long they behave well." This court was declared to have original jurisdiction in all civil cases, both in law and equity, where the title of land was in question, or where the sum in dispute exceeded the value of .one thousand dollars. It had exclusive cognizance of all criminal causes, where the punishment was capital; and of all other crimes and offences, not cognizable by a single justice of the peace, it had cognizance concurrent with the court of common pleas.
By this act also, the state was divided into circuits, of which the counties of Hamilton, Butler, Montgomery, Greene, Warren and Clermont composed the first district. A president of the court of common pleas was to be appointed in each circuit, in the same manner as the supreme judges received their appointment. The president, together with three associate judges appointed in a similar way for each county in the state, constituted the court of common pleas for such county.
The supreme court was to hold its first session in Greene County on the fourth Tuesday in October, 1803. The time of holding each subsequent session was to be determined by the court itself. The court of common pleas was to sit in Greene County on the first Tuesdays in April, August and December. The first Tuesday in April had passed before the enactment of this law, hence the first court of common pleas held in Greene County was on the first Tuesday of August, 1803.
By an act of the General Assembly, passed April 16, 1803, it
212 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
was made the duty of the associate judges of the court of common pleas, in each and every county within the state, to meet on the 10th day of May, following, at the places where courts were to be held, and proceed to lay out their counties respectively into a convenient number of townships. The judges also were required to determine for each township a proper number of justices of the peace, who were to be elected on the 21st day of June following, at such place in each township as the judges should direct. The meeting of the associate judges, on the 10th day of May, for the transaction of certain county business, was called a court. It was, as has been stated before, the first court held in the county; but it must not be understood as the court of common pleas. This was simply a court, not for the trial of causes, but for the transaction of such business as, at a later period, was assigned to the county commissioners.
COURT OF THE ASSOCIATE JUDGES.
The first court of the associate judges, as we have seen, was held in Greene County on the 10th day of May, 1803. The entire record of that day's proceedings, made seventy-seven years prior to the 10th day of May, 1880, and the first public record ever made in the county by a county officer, is of sufficient interest to justify its-quotation here entire, except the description of township boundaries, which has already been given. The following is the record
"At the house of Owen Davis, on Beaver Creek, on Tuesday, the 10th day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and three, William Maxwell, Benjamin Whiteman and James Barrett, Esquires, produced commissions under the hand and seal of his Excellency, Edward Tiffin, Governor of the State of Ohio, appointing them associate judges of the court of common pleas of the county of Green.* William Maxwell, Esquire, produced a certificate, under the hand of James Barrett, Esquire, bearing date the 20th day of April last past, that the said William had taken the oath to support the constitution of the United States, and of this state, and the oath of office; and then the said William administered the aforesaid oaths to Benjamin Whiteman and James
* It should be noted that in all the old records of Greene County, and in the statutes referring to it, the name is spelled without the final e, thus, Green County ; also Clarke is spelled without the e, thus, Clark County.
COURT OF THE ASSOCIATE JUDGES. - 213
Barrett, Esquires; and there was a court held for the county of Green, agreeably to a law in that case made and provided. John Paul. was appointed clerk pro tempore to said court, and took the oath of office. The court then proceeded to lay off the county into townships as followeth, to-wit." Here follows the description of the township lines, of Sugar Creek, Caesar's Creek, Mad River and Beaver Creek.
After laying off the townships, and designating the number of justices of the peace that. should be elected in each, the court proceeded according to the following record : " It is considered by the court, that on the 30th instant there shall be an election held at the temporary seat of justice, for the purpose of electing a sheriff in said county, agreeably to an act of assembly in that case made and provided."
"Ordered that court be adjourned till court in course."
Attest: JOHN PAUL, C. G. C.
The book in which this record is kept is itself an interesting relic of the past. It can be found carefully preserved in the vault of the clerk's office in the court-house. By the generosity of Mr. Frank Orr, deputy clerk of the court, it has been dressed in a new suit of binding; but like the old man of four-score, who has outlived two generations of his fellows, and whose age is apparent, although clad in new garments of the, most fashionable style, its complexion and worn appearance unmistakably tell that it is old. It is an unpretending volume of twenty-eight. pages folio, unruled foolscap, and contains the records of the associate judges' court from May 10, 1803, until January 15, 1807.
FIRST COURT HOUSE.
The first court house in Greene County, or the house in which the associate judges held their first court, and in which the courts of Common Pleas and the Supreme Court were held until June, 1804, was a log structure owned by Owen Davis, and built by his sonin-law, Gen. Benjamin Whiteman, one of the associate judges, a short distance south of the log cabin mill of Owen Davis, and about two hundred yards east of Beaver Creek. It was on what is now (1881) known as the Harbine farm, and about one hundred yards from its south line. It was constructed of straight burr oak logs, hewed on two sides, and had a puncheon floor, made also of
214 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
burr oak logs, hewed on the upper side, and also planed. Its roof was of clapboards, held in place by long poles laid across them. Its only door was in the east side, near the north end, opposite which, in the west side, looking toward the creek, was the only window, save a small hole, that might be called a window, cut in the south end. The chimney, on the outside at, the south end, had its lower part, about eight feet high, of small logs, lined on the inside with stones, and its upper part of sticks, well plastered with clay. The house was about twenty-five feet square, and contained but one room below, and a chamber above, which was reached by a small ladder, through a hole in the floor near the chimney. The chamber was the sleeping apartment for the family and the stranger. Unlike most log houses of that day, it had a fire-place of moderate size. A short distance south of the building was the well from which the water was drawn with the old-fashioned wellsweep, pole and bucket. At the southeast corner, in one of the logs, was driven a large iron staple, to which in those days was chained a large pet black bear. It was one of the best houses in that part of the county, and was occupied by Peter Borders as a tavern. It is sometimes called the house of Owen Davis, and sometimes the house of Peter Borders. Davis was the owner of the house, and Borders was his tenant.
In 1825, the road leading past this edifice having been discontinued and closed up, leaving it in the field, it was moved a short distance north, and put up on the ground now the front lawn of Mr. John Harbine. It was removed from that place in 1833, and the rubbish left from the chimney forms a small mound in front of Mr. Harbine's house,. a modest monument of the first court house and tavern in the county. It was put up again on the west side of Beaver Creek, and about two hundred yards from it, on the north side of the road leading to Bellbrook, and was used for more than twenty years as a boarding house for hands at Harbine's mill. In 1857, or about that time, it was finally torn down and the logs consumed, save some pieces that were made into canes.
A little to the northeast of this building was a small 10x12 house made of small logs or poles, for a smoke-house. This, during the time of court, was used as a jury-room. In this several grand juries sat on the "body of Greene County," and found indictments against the violaters of the law. To this room also, petit juries retired to find their verdicts in the civil and criminal cases that were brought
COURT IN COURSE. - 215
before them. About two hundred yards northeast of the old court house stood the block house, which on the 19th day of August, 1803, was appropriated to the use of a jail. It is described as "the larger block house, near Mr. Jacob Smith's mill." Previous to this time, Owen Davis had sold his mill to Jacob Smith.
"COURT IN COURSE."
The associate judges met in court a second time on Thursday, the 4th day of August, 1803. This was the adjourned meeting till " court in course." What is meant by this phrase, " court in course?" By act of assembly, passed April 16, 1803, it was made the duty of the associate judges to hold a court for the transaction of county business, on the next judicial day after the adjournment of the Court of Common Pleas, and the Court of Common Pleas, according to act of assembly, passed April 15,1803, was to meet on Tuesday, the 2d day of August, 1803. It did meet on that day, and continued its term through Wednesday the 3d, and on Thursday, the 4th, commenced the " court in course."
The only county business transacted at this court was the granting of three licenses for keeping tavern, and the appointment of James Galloway, sell., treasurer of the county.
The granting of licenses for keeping tavern was in accordance with a territorial law, passed by the first General Assembly of the Northwest Territory, and approved December 6, 1800. By this law, no person was permitted to keep any inn, tavern, or public house of entertainment, in any town, county, or place, within the limits of the territory, unless first recommended by twelve respectable freeholders of the county where such public house was to be kept. All persons, except tavern or inn keepers, were forbidden, under severe penalties, to sell to any person alcoholic drinks in small quantities; and tavern keepers, under like severe penalties, were required not knowingly to suffer any disorders, drunkenness, rioting, betting, or gaming for money. They were also required to furnish good entertainment for man and horse, under the penalty of five dollars for the first offense, and eight dollars for each succeeding offense.
After eighty years have passed away, and the primitive taverns and the primitive men have disappeared with the gliding years, the modern grumbler at some slight annoyance in a first-class hotel
216 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
wonders what was meant by good entertainment in those early times, when the entire family, landlord, landlady and children, judges, and attorneys of the court, servants, and travelers, were all gathered for lodging into one sleeping apartment, such as the first court house in Greene County would afford, in its one upper room.
At this court licenses were given to Archibald Lowry and Griffith Foos, permitting such to keep tavern in the town of Springfield, each paying eight dollars for the license, besides the legal fees. Peter Borders was also licensed to keep tavern in his own house, the court house, "for the space of one year next ensuing this date, and it is considered by the court that he pay four dollars for license, together with all legal fees." The amount paid for license was in part discretionary with the court. The applicant was required to pay either four, eight, or twelve dollars, as the judge might determine. It may be inferred that at this time it was more profitable to keep tavern in the town of Springfield than on Beaver Creek, since the court required eight dollars for a license at the former place, and but four at the latter. The legal fees paid were in each case one dollar to the court, and one dollar to the clerk. The license fee was appropriated to the use of the county.
James Galloway, sen., who was appointed treasurer, was the father of James Galloway, jr., who two days before this, August 2d, had been appointed surveyor, and whose name appears in connection with very many of the early surveys of the county.
On the 19th of the same month (August), the court met again to lay the levy and adjust the business of the county. But the lister of taxable property in Mad River Township failing to return his book, court adjourned until the next day at 12 o'clock. On the next day, Saturday, August 20th, the court convened, but the lister again failing to appear, it adjourned till Monday, the 22d, and then again, for the same reason, till Friday, the 26th, when the said lister presented his book. On Monday, the 22d, the court ordered that a bounty of fifty cents should be paid out of the treasury for each wolf killed in the county, "agreeably to a law in that case made and provided." The law on which this action was based was passed at the second session of the first General Assembly of the Northwest Territory, and approved December 2, 1800. It provided that the courts might offer such bounties for killing wolves as they deemed proper, provided no bounty exceed one dollar for a wolf under six months old, or two dollars for one over six months old.
COURT IN COURSE. - 217
On the same day also the court ordered that the larger block house near Mr. Jacob Smith's mill (the house alluded to above) should be used as a jail, and that Benjamin Whiteman, Esq., be appointed in behalf of the court to contract for repairing the same.
On the 26th day of August, 1803, the first levy of taxes was made in Greene County. Its indebtedness, past, and prospective, for that year was thoroughly itemized, and amounted to $292.48. This was exclusive of the collector's fees, which the court fixed at six per cent. of the amount collected, and the treasurer's fees, for receiving, safe-keeping, and disbursing, which were fixed at three per cent. The collector's percentage amounted to $19.28, and the treasurer's to $9.64. This would make the entire indebtedness of, the county for that year $321.40, which was, as we shall see, $144.64 less than the receipts. This balance the clerk entered on the record as depositum.
The first item in this indebtedness was $25 to the commissioners, for selecting a place for the seat of justice. These commissioners were appointed by a resolution of both branches of the legislature, in accordance with an act of the General Assembly, passed March 28, 1803. They were appointed especially to locate the seat of justice in the particular county named. They were not to live in the county, nor own any real property within it, nor to be less than twenty-five years of age.
Another item of interest was $6 paid to Joseph C. Vance, for carrying the election returns of Sugar Creek Township to Cincinnati, and a like sum to David Huston, for taking the returns of Beaver Creek Township to the same place. What election returns were these, and why were they taken to Cincinnati? Greene County, as we have seen, was largely taken from Hamilton and Rose, and, according to Article VII, Section 3, of the Constitution, as to right of suffrage and representation, it was considered a part of the counties from which it was taken until entitled, by numbers, 'to the right of representation. By an act of assembly, passed April 15, 1803, the returns of the election for sheriff and coroner were required to be made to the associate judges, who were to give to persons standing highest a certificate of election, and on that certificate the governor was authorized to grant a commission. The sheriff and coroner were, at this time, the highest county officers elected by the people. The returns, in case of their election, were not sent to Cincinnati; it must, therefore, have been the returns in
218 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
the election of senators and representatives to the state legislature. This election occurred on the second Tuesday in October, and therefore the work of carrying the returns to Cincinnati had not been done at the time: that the allowance was made.
An allowance of $9.50 was made to Jacob Shingledecker, for repairing the jail. This work had not yet been done. Benjamin Whiteman had been appointed, only four days prior to this, to contract for said repairs, and we find this item, and the two items concerning the carrying of election returns to Cincinnati, mentioned in the record of the clerk, made on the 7th day of December, 1803, after the returns had been conveyed to their destination, and the jail had been fitted for its occupants. The associate judges and the clerk of the court were each allowed $1.50 per day for their services.
To meet the expenses of the county this year, taxes were levied on real and personal property. Houses and mills were to be taxed 50 cents on each hundred dollars of their valuation. Horses were taxed at 30 cents a head, and cows at 122 cents a head. There was but one house taxed this year. It was situated in Sugar Creek Township, and was taxed $1, and, of course, was valued at $200 or more. The inhabitants of Mad River Township had been exempted from paying taxes for the erection of public buildings, and hence their levies were reduced two cents on each horse, and one cent on each cow. The owner of each horse, therefore, paid 28 cents, and for each cow 112 cents.
Why the inhabitants of Mad River Township were exempted from taxes for the erection of public buildings, we are left to conjecture. No record affords any information. At. the time that this levy was made, the seat of justice, or county seat, had been located at Xenia. It could not, therefore, go farther north. Mad River was the largest township in the county. Its south line was about twenty miles north of Xenia, and at no distant day a new county would be organized out of a part of Greene, and Mad River would belong to it, and it would be just that they should be exempted from erecting public buildings in Greene, when they were so soon to be called upon again to build in the new county
According to the report of the listers, there were in the county
* This was accomplished by the organization of Champaign County two years later, 1805.
COURT IN COURSE. - 219
at this time 679 horses and 1,266 cows, Beaver Creek and Mad River containing more than were found in Sugar and Caesar's Creek. In Beaver Creek there were 241 horses and 430 cows. Mad River had 243 horses and 492 cows. The amount of tax levied this year was $393.04. The amount received for tavern licenses was $20, and $53 had been paid into the treasury as fines. The receipts of the county for 1803 were, therefore, $466.04, about one-ninth of which consisted in fines, which might suggest the query, whether the morals of the people are not quite as good after a period of nearly eighty years, as in those primitive times?
Nathan Lamme was appointed to collect the county levies, and the treasurer was ordered to pay the several county creditors agreeably to the statement "this day made, and account to the court for the balance."
The next court of associate judges was held on the 7th day of December, 1803. In the meantime William Maxwell had resigned his office as judge, and had been elected sheriff, and Andrew Read had been appointed in his place. At this meeting, upon the petition of Jacob Smith and others, it was ordered that a road be laid out from " Springfield, passing the Yellow Springs; thence, passing Jacob Smith's mill; thence, through Mr. Maxwell's lane; thence, to intersect the Pinckney road, at or near Isaac Morgan's." William Maxwell, Lewis Davis, and Thomas Townsley were appointed viewers of the road, and James Galloway, jr., surveyor. Although this was not the first road in the county, it was the first to be established by the legal authority of the county. This road was entirely west of the Little Miami River. It was about two miles west of the river, at the point where the iron bridge crosses it in the Dayton road, which leads past the Greene County fair grounds. Jacob Smith's mill was the mill erected by Owen Davis, and occupied the site of Harbine's mill, on Beaver Creek, about one mile above its mouth. Isaac Morgan's was about two miles southwest from the mill. This new road, therefore, terminated in the Pinckney road, about two miles southwest of Jacob Smith's mill. The Pinckney road extended from the Pinckney pond, a short distance south of Beaver Station, across the Little Miami, past the house of Peter Borders (the old court house), and on, southwest, past Isaac Morgan's. From Isaac Morgan's, east, it was closed up as soon as the new road was established, leaving the old court house in the field.
We have seen that the county expenses for the year 1803 were
220. - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY..
$321.40. For the year 1804 they were $265.82, and the taxes assessed this latter year amounted to $402.81. In 1803 but one house was taxed, valued at about $200. The tax on this was $1. In 1804, the value of real estate taxed, consisting of mills and houses, was $4,325, and this, at 20 cents on each hundred dollars, paid a tax of $8.65. There were in the county this year 1,040 horses, which paid 20 cents a head, and 1,727 cows, at 8 cents a head. This tax of 1804 was levied by the county commissioners who came into office, and held their first court, on the second Monday in June of this year.
COURT OF COMMON PLEAS.
The first Court of Common Pleas for Greene County, was held at the house of Owen Davis, occupied then by Peter Borders, on the 2d day of August, 1803. The presiding judge was Francis Dunlevy, and the associate judges William Maxwell, Benjamin Whiteman, and James Barrett. Daniel Symmes was prosecuting attorney, and there came a grand jury, to-wit : Wm. J. Stewart, foreman, John Wilson, Wm. Buckles, Abram Van Eaten, James Snodgrass, John Judy, Evan Morgan, Robt. Marshall, Alex. C. Armstrong, Joseph C. Vance, Joseph Wilson, John Buckhannon, Martin Mendenhall and Harry Martin, who were sworn a grand jury of inquest for the body of Greene County. After receiving the charge they retired out of court, and held their deliberations in the small pole cabin or smoke house that has been described above ; but they found no indictments, except against persons who engaged in quarrels on that day, after the court had convened.. Seventeen witnesses were sworn and sent before the grand jury, and nine bills of indictment found the same day for affrays, assaults and batteries committed after the court had been organized in the morning. It was evidently a great day for the county, and the people were gathered in quite large numbers; here was the presiding judge and his associates, prosecuting attorney and grand jury; here was the court house and jury room, and also the tavern of Peter Borders, whose bar was well supplied with whisky. Men drank, disputes arose, fights occurred, indictments were made, and fines assessed all on the same day.
It is said that Owen Davis, the owner of the mill and the court house, the father-in-law of Gen. Benjamin Whiteman, one of the associate judges, a kind hearted and obliging man, and also a fear-
COURT OF COMMON PLEAS. - 221
less Indian fighter, had an altercation with a man from Warren County, whom he charged with stealing his neighbor's hogs ; a fight occurred and Davis came o f victorious. He then went into court and addressed his son-in-law the judge, with whom he was on quite familiar terms. He said, "Well Ben! I've whipped that hog thief, what's the damage? What's to pay ?" Saying, this he drew from his pocket a buck-skin wallet containing eight or ten dollars, and slammed it on the table. Then shaking his fist at the judge he continued "Yes! Ben, and if you'd steal a hog I'd whip you too." This special address to the judge was also emphasized with an oath. All the parties pleaded guilty to the indictment made, and were fined. Davis to the amount of eight dollars.
The first business of the court after the grand jury returned was the appointment of James Galloway, jr., as county surveyor. He was the son of James Galloway, sen., who two days later, August 4th, was appointed treasurer by the court of associate judges. On the 2d day of the term, August 3d, Joseph C. Vance was appointed to survey the county seat, and lay off the town of Xenia. This he did the same season, and at the December term of the court of associate judges received $49.25 for his services. He furnished chain-men in making the survey, made a . plat of the town and sold some lots. On the third day of the term Daniel Symmes was allowed $20.00 for prosecuting in behalf of the state. This fee was decided at the December term of the court to be illegal, and it was required to be refunded.
At the November term of the Court of Common Pleas, Thomas Davis, a justice of the peace, was arraigned for misconduct in office. He pleaded guilty and was fined one dollar and ordered to "stand committed until performed." Rev. Robert Armstrong received license to solemnize the rites of matrimony. Also at this term the first civil case was tried by a jury; it was the case of Wallingsford, vs. Vandolah, for slander. Wallingsford was a member of the Baptist Church, and Vandolah had said,. " Wallingsford is a liar, and I can prove it." A verdict of 25 cents was rendered for the plaintiff. At the December term, in the case of William Chipman vs. Henry Storm, judgment was confessed for one cent damages and costs. The June term, 1804, was the last term of court held in the old log house. Arthur St. Clair, of Cincinnati, was present as prosecuting attorney, and administered the oath to Wm. McFarland, foreman of the grand jury, with the hand of the latter on a copy
222 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
of the Arabian Nights Entertainment, which, from its external likeness, the prosecutor had taken for a New Testament.
The first Supreme Court in the county was held at the house of Peter Borders, on Beaver Creek, on the 25th day of October, 1803. Hon. Samuel Huntington and Wm. Spriggs were the judges, Wm. Maxwell, sheriff, and Arthur St. Clair prosecuting attorney. John Paul was elected clerk, and entered into bond in the penal sum of $2.000 for the faithful discharge of his duties ; Benjamin Whiteman and Josiah Grover were his securities. "Then came a grand jury, to-wit: Andrew Read foreman, James Snodon, Joseph C. Vance, William Allen, John Marshall, John McKnight, Samuel Brewster, John McClain, James Snodgrass, John Judy, Robert Lowry, Thomas Frean and Samuel Freeman." These men were sworn a grand jury of inquest for the body of Greene County, who retired out of court to consider of indictments; after some time returned into court and having nothing to present were discharged. The only business transacted by this court, was the admission of Richard L. Thomas, Esq., counsellor and attorney at law ; this done "court adjourned till court in course." The first session of the Supreme Court was held in accordance with the statutes on the fourth Tuesday of October of this year. It was held annually thereafter at such time as the court itself might determine. The work for grand juries at such times was not great. The first grand jury, as we have seen, found nothing to do. And at the second term of the court held on the third day of October, 1804, the grand jury appointed in the early part of the first day, retired, found whatever bills of indictment they could, reported to court, and were discharged the same day.
The first case that came before the Supreme Court in this county was one in which Archibald Dawden and Robert Reneck were indicted for the murder of a certain Indian by the name of "Betty George or otherwise Kenawa Tuckaw." The accused, not being ready for trial, were admitted to bail in the penal sum of two thousand dollars each. Simon Kenton, who ran the gauntlet at Chillicothe (Oldtown), was one of the bondsmen for Archibald Dawden. Amos Derraugh was a witness for the state, and gave bond in the penal sum of two hundred dollars for his appearance at the next
SUPREME COURT. - 223
term of court, to give testimony in favor of our said state, vs. the said defendants, Archibald and Robert.
At the third term of the Supreme Court, held on the 11th day of November, 1805, after the grand jury had been impaneled and received its charge, this murder case was the first to be brought up and disposed of. Dawden and Reneck came into court and " saith they are not guilty as in the indictment against them is alleged, whereupon, on the motion of the defendants, by their attorney, the court grants a change of venue," and the cause was carried to Champaign County. It is probable that the offense was committed in that part of Greene County that became Champaign County on the 20th day of February, 1805. James Galloway, sen., and two others, each gave bond in the sum of five hundred dollars to appear at Springfield, Champaign' County, at the terns of the Supreme Court, to be held there "on -th inst, and give testimony in behalf of the defendants," Dawden and Reneck.
The business of the Supreme Court during the early years of its existence related to matters generally of no grave importance. At this same term, after the disposal of the murder case, John Hoop is indicted for an assault. He pleads guilty, and is fined ten dollars and " stands committed until the order is performed." Nimrod Haddox is arraigned upon an indictment for an affray. He pleads not guilty. "Therefore," says the record, "let a jury come." The jury came. He is tried, found guilty, and fined five dollars with the costs, and stands committed "till performance." James Scott is indicted for breaking the public's jail. He pleads not guilty, and is bound over to the next term of the Supreme Court. This term of the Supreme Court adjourned according to the good Latin of that early day, " si no dy," and with this term its clerk, John Paul, goes out of office, and Josiah Grover is appointed his successor. John Paul was the first clerk of the Court of Common Pleas, having been appointed by the associate judges on the 10th day of May, 1803, and continued in this office until 1808. He was also the first clerk of the Court of Commissioners, appointed at its first session in June, 1804, and continued till Tuesday, March 8, 1808. He was clerk of the Supreme Court during three of its terms, from 1803 to 1805, inclusive. He owned considerable land in the county, and, either learning or believing that the county seat would be located at the point where it now is, Xenia, he purchased the land, and after the location of the county seat, by the state com-
224 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
missioners, donated the public square, bounded by Main (Chillicothe), Detroit, Market, and Greene streets, to the county, for its public buildings. He was a fair scribe, and wrote a very straight line on the unruled paper used at that time, but evidently not a very thorough Latin scholar, as the above quotation, "si no dy," would indicate. His last recorded item, as clerk of the commissioners, was the following, to-wit : "Abraham Lewis is allowed $1.50 for one wolf scalp." After this item he proceeds to say, " Court adjourned sine die. John Paul." His Latin orthography had been somewhat improved.
Much of the work, or rather that kind of work, that had been done by the associate judges prior to June 20, 1804, was at that time transferred to the county commissioners. They were required to meet annually, on the second Monday in June, at the place where the Court of Common Pleas was usually held, to allow all just debts and demands against the county; to pay the charges of building and repairing court houses, prison and bridges; to assess county taxes; erect public buildings, establish public roads, and construct bridges. It was their duty, also, to appoint the county treasurer, and at the first session of the associate judges, next succeeding the annual meeting of the commissioners, to make a full report of receipts and expenditures of the county for the year. Vacancies in the court of commissions, caused by death or resignation, were to be filled by appointment of the associate judges. The first appointment thus made was on the 15th day of November, 1804. On that day it was " ordered that John McLain be appointed a commissioner, in the room and place of John Sterret, who hath resigned his office."
The granting of licenses for keeping tavern and selling merchandise was still retained as the duty of the associate judges, and at a court held in Xenia on the 15th day of November, 1804, the first Court of Associate Judges held there, four tavern licenses were granted, one to William A. Beatty, for keeping tavern in the town of Xenia, "for one year from the first day of October last past, on his paying eight dollars and fees." This was the first tavern in Xenia, and seems to have been opened on the first day of October, 1804. The house was a hewed log, double structure, two stories high. It stood on the south side of Main Street, very nearly opposite the middle point of the public square. Its length was from east to west, and width from north to south, and its west
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end was about forty-five feet east of the sontheast corner-of Main and Detroit streets, where the First National Bank now stands. This building was not only a dwelling house and a tavern, but it was also Greene County's second court house, courts having been held in it from the 15th day of November, 1804, till the completion of the first court house proper, on the 14th day of August, 1809. The court was held in the west room of the second story. The first election in Xenia was held at this house on the second Tuesday of October, 1804, and subsequent elections were held there for many years.
We have said that subsequent to June 20, 1804, the granting of licenses for keeping tavern was done by the associate judges. While this is true, it was left to the commissioners to determine, within certain limits, how much a tavern license should be, and on the 20th of August, 1805, tavern licenses were rated as follows, towit: In Xenia, $8; at Yellow Springs and its vicinity, $12; and on the several roads in other parts of the county, $6. The rate of license being in some proportion to the business done, it would be inferred that the tavern business was better at Yellow Springs, at this time, than in Xenia. Later, on the 9th of June, 1807, Xenia license was rated at $8; Yellow Springs and its vicinity, within onehalf mile, $8; all other parts of the county, $6.
On the 6th of April, 1806, a license was granted to James Gowdy for retailing merchandise. His store was a log cabin, with a mud and stick chimney, situated on Greene Street, about sixty feet north of Main. This was the first store in the town, and Mr. Gowdy was the first merchant.
Greene County's first jail, we have seen, was the block house near Jacob Smith's mill, on Beaver Creek. The second jail was built of logs, in Xenia, in 1804. No record is extant showing the exact spot that this jail occupied, nor how much it cost to build it. The earliest record that appears concerning it was made July 2, 1804, when Amos Derrough, the contractor 'and builder, was paid $33.75, balance on the first payment for building the public jail. The process of building it was slow, and on the 15th of August, 1804, the commissioners informed the contractor that if the work was not completed by the 15th of September, it would be re-let to the lowest
226 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
bidder. It was completed in due time, and accepted by the commissioners October 8,1804. It is said that it stood on ground which the first court house subsequently occupied, and that it was built of hewed logs. This was the first structure erected for the purpose of a public jail. What became of this building, or why it needed rebuilding so soon, no record informs us. But on Tuesday, March 12, 1805, only five months after its acceptance, we are informed that "the repairing and newly erecting the public jail was let to James Collier for $640." One historian informs us that this jail-that is, the first one, built by Amos Derrough-was burned down the next year after it was built, and that in April, 1806, a new jail was accepted from William A. Beatty. It is not certain that this statement is correct. It is more probable that the jail erected by James Collier, which the historian does not mention, was the one that was burned, and that this jail, erected in haste, was unsuited to the purposes for which it was intended, and hence the language, " Repairing and newly erecting the public jail."
James Collier, as well as Amos Derrough, seems to have tried, to some extent,. the patience of the commissioners. This second jail was not completed at the time required by contract, and on the 7th of January, 1806, it was ordered that unless it was completed by the first of April following, it should be re-let to the lowest bidder; and the commissioners further declared, that to be built according to contract, "it must be taken down and rebuilt." April 1st came, and the work was not finished, and on the 8th the time was extended to the 17th. On the 18th of April, 1806, the commissioners accepted the work, but took $50 from the pay of the contractor, on account of its imperfection. This second jail was a log structure, and was located on the public square, somewhere north of the site of the first court louse. It cost the county $590. This jail was burned probably in the latter part of 1807, and it is most likely that this, instead of the first one, is the jail referred to as -burnt down the year following."
On Tuesday, December 6, 1808, it was ordered that a public jail be erected in the town of Xenia, on the ground staked off, the foundation to be eighteen inches deep and twenty feet square, and that "all the material of the old jail that was saved be used in the new one." This expression, "All the material of the old jail that was saved," indicates that the second jail was burned. This third jail was two stories high, and was constructed of hewed logs. It
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was situated near the north end of the public square, on the ground that was subsequently occupied by a market house. It was built by William A. Beatty, finished by him, and accepted by the commissioners on the 18th day of October, 1809.
This jail was burned sometime between the 20th day of July, 1813, and the 13th of September of the same year. On the 20th of July the record says : " The commissioners viewed the public jail, and reported it in as good condition as the situation of the place would admit;" and on the 13th of September the commissioners met to "sell the building of a prison," and "the building of a stone prison was sold to James Miller," the lowest bidder, at $1,084. It was located in the middle part of the public square, north of the first court house, its west end in a line with the east end of the court house. Its length was east and west. This was the fourth jail. It was completed and accepted by the commissioners on the 16th day of December, 1815. Its builder, James Miller, was a Scotchman, who came to this country when quite a young man. A few years later his father, whom he had left in Scotland, followed him. By many letters received from young Miller, containing fall descriptions of the state, county, and neighborhood, the old gentleman had become so familiar with it, that he began to realize that everybody in America must know his "wee Jamie" and his locality as well as he. Accordingly, on his arrival in Philadelphia, and from that point to Clark's Run, in Greene County, he was accustomed to ask many whom he met, with his Scotch accent: "Do ye ken one Jamie Miller, the stone mason, who lives on Clark's Run, Greene County, in the State of Ohio?" But by the time that the old gentleman had arrived in Greene County, he had found that his son "Jamie" was better known here, and in Scotland, than at any intermediate point.
This fourth jail was used as a prison until the year 1836, when it gave place to the fifth one, that was built a little north of it. This stone prison, and the one which followed it, had especial apartments for debtors; for in those times men were imprisoned for debt. Sometimes the debtor was not so poor but that he could carpet his small room in the jail, and live quite comfortably.
On the 2d day of September, 1834, the commissioners gave the contract for building a new jail to Daniel Lewis, at a cost of $4,600. It was a brick structure, two stories high, and was located on the public square, its east end on Greene Street, and about 210 feet
228 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
north of Main. It extended north 40 feet, and west 44 feet. It was completed and accepted June 10, 1836. Ryan Gowdy, T. G. Bates, and John Fudge were then commissioners. The north end of the jail ranged with the north line of James Collier's house, on said public ground. It pointed north.
The present jail; with the residence of the sheriff, was built in 1860, during the commissionership of John Fudge, A. H. Baughman, and Robert Jackson. It is located on the corner of Market and Whiteman streets. The contract of building it was awarded to John Scott, at a cost of $7,340. It was received by the commissioners, and put under the control of the sheriff, on the 8th day of December, 1860. This is the sixth prison that has been built by the county for that special purpose, and, counting the block-house jail on Beaver Creek, it is the seventh prison that Greene County has fnrnished for her criminals in her history of seventy-seven years.
The first court house in Greene County, the house of Peter Borders in Beaver Creek, was erected by Gen. Benjamin Whiteman, probably some time prior to 1800. It was the cradle of Greene County's judicial history. The second court house, the double log house of William A. Beatty was built some time during the year 1804. The building of the third court house, or more properly the first one erected for that especial purpose; in the language of the record "was offered for sale and bid off by William Kendall for $3.396" on the 6th day of January, 1806, during the commissionership of James Snoden, John McClain and David Huston. The first and second jails had already been built on the public square; and yet a portion of the ground, ("two lots," the record says,) was still covered with forest trees, and William Kendall was allowed six dollars for clearing off the timber. This first court house, proper was built of brick. It was forty feet square and twenty-eight feet high. The cupola in the center of the roof, at first designed to be ten feet in diameter and fifteen feet high, was made twenty-five feet high. It was built on the south side of the square, sixty-two feet back from "Chillicothe" (Main) Street. The principal entrance was on Main Street. At first it had a door on the west side toward Detroit Street, but this door was filled in with brick before the completion of the house. On Saturday, July 1, 1809, the commis-
COURT HOUSES. - 229
sioners, not entirely satisfied with the work on the court house, appointed James Miller and Matthew Dinsmore, disinterested parties, with power to choose a third, to examine the work. These reported the plastering improperly done, but on the 14th of August the commissioners settled with Kendall, and accepted the building; for although some parts had not been completed according to contract, yet others had been done better than the agreement required.
The first court in this building was the Court of Common Pleas, held on the 26th day of September, 1809; Francis Dunlevy, presiding judge, and associate judges James Barrett, David Huston, and James Snoden. At this court were granted letters of administration on the estate of William Maxwell, deceased, one of the first three associate judges in the county.
On the 9th day of October, 1841, sealed proposals for the building of the old part of the present court house were. examined, and those of John M. Roder and William C. Robinson, for the stone and brick work, were accepted at $4,864; that of A. E. Turnbull, for the carpenter work and finishing, including the plastering of the building and the fire-proof offices, was accepted. The old court house was sold for $199, and ordered to be removed on or before the first of March, 1842. The stone columns, erected by another party, at a cost of $458.66, were accepted August 3, 1843. The court house was completed and accepted November 24, 1843. The bell cost $200, and the town clock $100. In 1875 the last improvements were added, at an expense of $19,000. These improvements were completed and the work accepted, in January, 1876.
On the 4th day of .Tune, 1814, the commissioners resolved to build a public office for the Clerk of the Court of Common Pleas, and for the commissioners. On the 4th of July, following, a contract was made with David Douglass for building it, it a cost of $749.50. It. ,,was completed, and accepted by the commissioners September 4, 1815. It was a small, one story building, situated on the public square, about fifty feet north of Main Street, and about half way between the present east line of the court house and Greene Street. A " piazza " to this office was built by John Harbison in 1820.
On the 1st day of May, 1832, a contract was entered into with Daniel Lewis, for building the "public offices." This building was two stories high, constructed of brick, and was situated in front of
230 - HISTORY Of GREENE COUNTY.
the last-named office, east of the court house, its front line, or wall, on the line of Main Street. It was 63 feet long, and 22 feet wide, its length east and west, its east end 22 1/3 feet from the west line of Greene Street. It contained six rooms, and was built by Daniel Lewis, John H. Edsal, Henry Barns, and John Barns, at a cost of $2,100. On the lower floor, the west room was assigned by the commissioners to the clerk of the Court of Common Pleas, the middle room to the auditor, and the east room to the treasurer. On the second floor, the west room was assigned to the clerk of the Supreme Court, the middle room to the recorder, and the east room to the sheriff. Soon after the erection of this building, the clerk and commissioners' office in its rear was removed. These "public offices" were demolished in 1842, about the time that the old court house was cleared away to give room for 'the new court house, erected during that and the following year. During the time that the new court house was in process of erection, courts were held in the "Radical Church," on Church Street. It was in this church, at a certain term of the Court of Common Pleas, that Ohio's most eloquent son, Tom Corwin, the wagon boy, in a slander case, made one of his most impressive and telling speeches. He held the court, jury, officers, and citizens, who crowded the court room, now in tears, and now in almost uncontrollable laughter.
These, the several jails, and several court houses and public offices, have been the only buildings erected by the county in its history of seventy-seven years, except the infirmaries, or poor houses, which are described in another place. Nothing more need be said of them here, than that the land on which they are located, 104 41-100 acres, was purchased by the county from Samuel Crumbaugh, June 6,1828, for $700, and on the 26th of the same month a contract was entered into with George W. Stipp, for building the first poor house, at a cost of $490,50. It was a building one story high, 8 feet between floors, 60 feet long, and 16 feet wide. It was situated just west of what is now called the "old building." George Townsley, William McKnight, and George Galloway were, on this day, appointed by the commissioners directors of the poor house. Two years later (1830) a spring house and smoke house were built, at a cost of $54.50. These buildings were finished and accepted August. 31, 1830.
The fathers and conservators of Greene County's public interests were honest and certainly very economical men. It was their aim to turn every thing to the best account ; they could not see any es-
COURT HOUSES. - 231
pecial value in a large public square-a large unoccupied ground in which trees might grow, in whose shade idlers might squander valuable time. They thought, and said, that if a portion of the public ground-the public square-could be sold, and buildings erected thereon, it would bring a fund into the county treasury and enhance the value of the part unsold. While one is led to inquire of what especial benefit to the county the enhanced value land would be, when such land was never to be sold, still he is inclined to approve the motive that prompts action in that direction unless he finds some selfishness at the base. But the commissioners thinking that Greene County in its public square, donated to it by .John Paul, had more ground than it needed, resolved, that part. of it should be sold. Therefore, on the 4th day of January, 1817, they met for the purpose of surveying, and marking the different lots in the public square, and to make preparations for their sale agreeably to an order of court. Samuel Gamble and John Haines, commissioners, were present. Thomas Hunter, the third commissioner, was absent. William A. Beatty was at. that time director of the town of Xenia. He was authorized and required to sell a portion of the public square. It is not important to describe minutely the portions to be sold, and that were actually sold. They were five lots in all. One in the southeast corner, 57 feet on Main Street and 165 on Greene, or rather including Greene Street for this street was not yet open. The other four lots were on Detroit, Market, (then called Third Street,) and the northern end of what is now Greene Street, beginning at a point on Detroit. Street, 165 feet south of the northwest corner of the public square, the outer lines of the lots extended thence northerly to Market or Third Street, thence easterly to the east line of what is now Greene Street., thence southerly on that line 165 feet. On Detroit Street the two lots were 66 feet deep ; on Market the lot was 1042 feet deep, and the northeast. corner lot was 67 feet on, Market Street. These lots were offered at public sale and sold to the highest bidder; and on the 14th day of February in the same year, Beatty, who had the matter in charge, put into the hands of the commissioners, promissory notes to the value of $3.253.00 the amount for which the lots sold. These notes were put into the hands of the treasurer for collection, but the notes were never collected. They remained in the keeping of the treasurer until a decision of the Supreme Court at its May term, in 1821. When, according to a decree of said court, their notes were returned to the parties who
232 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
had made, or supposed they had made, the purchase of the lots. But if none of this large tract of land embraced in the public square could be sold, some of it must be loaned ; the county must receive some profit from it. Accordingly on the 8th day of June, 1827 the commissioners loaned to A. M. Miller and James Collier a lot in Detroit Street, the northwest corner of which was 225 feet north of Main Street. It extended thence southerly 48 feet on Detroit Street. It extended back from Detroit Street 30 feet. Miller and Collier erected on it what. was called "a law and physic office." They were to keep this in good repair, and on the 8th of June, 1842, the county was to become the owner of the building. On the 1st of September of the same year, a second lot south of this, and adjoining it, extending 40 feet on Detroit Street, and 30 feet back, was loaned to James B. Gardner for the purpose of erecting thereon, a printing office, or "as he may think proper, offices of law and physic," on the same conditions as the first. The first building erected by this party was to revert to the county, September 1, 1842. In one of these buildings Samuel Puterbaugh carried on mercantile business, with James Allison as his clerk. Here, also, John Moore conducted the tailoring business for several years. North of these lots, and in a line with them, was the first fire engine house in Xenia; and the entire north end of the public square-a strip 58 feet wide -was cut 'off and appropriated as a market. space, on which a market house was erected by the town of Xenia. From this market house Market Street received its name. It was originally called " Third Street."
The next and last economical move on the part of the county commissioners, began on the 21st day of March, 1835. " The commissioners having taken into consideration the situation of the lots known as the public square in Xenia, and having ascertained that there is a large surplus after providing sufficient space for all buildings necessary for county purposes, upon mature deliberation, have determined that the said surplus ground shall, as soon as practicable, be leased to individuals for a term of time not. exceeding ninety-nine years, under such restrictions as shall, in their opinion, be deemed necessary to secure and advance the best interests of the county. With this view, they have ordered a survey of the ground, and a plat to be made, which is as follows : " The plat which appears on the commissioners' record of this date, March 21, 1835, may be described as follows : On the north end of the public square, on Mar-
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ket Street, between Detroit and Greene streets, a strip 58 feet wide was cut off for market space. This has been referred to before. South of this was described a lot 170 feet long, on Detroit Street, and 40 feet wide, including the engine house and the two leased lots above mentioned. In the southwest corner of the public square, a lot 80 feet square-that is, 80 feet on Detroit, and 80 feet on Main-was appropriated to the court house. East of this was the lot occupied by the public offices, 63 feet. on Main Street, and 40 feet deep. East of this, occupying the southeast corner of the square, was a lot 223 feet on Main, and 68 feet on Greene Street. North of this, a lot 100 feet on Greene, and 40 feet deep. North of this was the jail lot, 70 feet square, with an alley 12 feet wide on the west of it, and also north of it, reaching to the market space. It was evidently the intention of the commissioners to lease three lots. First, the lot at the corner of Main and Greene streets, 68 by 22* feet; second, the lot north of this, on Greene Street, 100 by 40 feet; third, the lot on Detroit Street, 170 by 40 feet. The commissioners proposed to lease these lots for a period of ninety-nine years, obligating the lessees to erect on them certain described buildings, and for the first twenty years pay such annual rent as they, on the day of sale, should agree upon; and at the end of each twenty years disinterested parties were to be appointed to re-value the annual rent. But one lot was offered for rental, namely, the lot at the corner of Main and Greene streets, 68 feet long and 223 feet wide. It was offered at public auction on the 25th day of May, 1835. "And there being no bidder, therefore the court adjourned.
"RYAN GOWDY, Commissioner."
Here the matter dropped, and to-day the public square remains intact, as it was intended to be by its donor, John Paul.
Greene Street was laid out and declared a street, and named Greene, on the 20th day of March, 1835. James Gowdy and a Mrs. Williams owned the lots adjoining it on the east, between Main and Market, and in consideration that the county would keep the street open perpetually, he, on the 21st day of March, 1835, donated to the county the sum of $300. It was expressly understood "that, if said strip of ground, at any time hereafter, be closed, or converted to any other use than that of a public street or alley, then the above
234 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
sum of $300 is to be returned to me or my heirs, without interest or damage to the county. In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, this 21st day of March, 1835.
The following statements of fact, gleaned from the commissioners' record, which contains an account of their transactions from the year 1824 to 1835, inclusive, though not a connected history, are interesting, as showing, to some extent, the spirit of the times:
BROKEN BANK NOTES IN THE COUNTY TREASURY.
Clarke County, as has been stated, was organized, in 1818, out of the territory of Champaign and Greene. Before its organization, the inhabitants of Clarke County territory had paid taxes into Greene County treasury; and on the 1st. day of March, 1818, Greene County was debtor to Clarke a certain sum, the amount of which was not definitely determined and agreed upon until the 28th day of April, 1820, when, on the order of the Court of Common Pleas, the commissioners of Greene paid to the commissioners of Clarke $561, "including $56 in Wooster Bank notes." Wooster Bank had gone down, as banks in those days were in the habit of doing, and a quantity of the worthless money was in the county treasury, and $56 were assigned to Clarke County, as its share of the loss.
On the 6th day of August, 1821, the commissioners contracted with Thomas Gillespie to make certain repairs on the court house, for which they agreed to pay him $24, "nineteen dollars of which is in paper, on the Batik of Cincinnati." How much this $19 in paper was worth, we are not informed. It was, however, uncurrent.
RENTING A STOVE.
It was the second day of bleak December, 1822. There was no prisoner for debt in the debtor's room, but there was a stove there to warm any of God's poor, if they should be thrown in; and the commissioners, with an eye to economy, and to the turning of every-
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thing to the public good, rented this stove to John McPherson, for seventy-five cents a month, "to be returned at any time, on the order of the jailor, after a sufficient time being allowed for it to get cool."
EXEMPT FROM TAXATION.
Wednesday, April 19, 1820, the commissioners declared that for the year 1820 town and country buildings should not be taxed for any county purpose.
PAVEMENT AROUND THE PUBLIC SQUARE.
December 8, 1824. Commissioners paid the Common Council of the town of Xenia $40, for setting curb stone and making a gravel pavement around the square. This was the first pavement. On the 14th of June, 1833, the commissioners contracted for laying a brick pavement along Main Street, in front of the court house, for $20.
FIRST AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY.
June 5, 1833. Commissioners gave notice, published three weeks in the "Xenia Free Press," that a meeting would be held at the court house, on the last Friday in June, for the purpose of organizing the Greene County Agricultural Society. The society was organized, and on the next year, July 30, 1834, the commissioners paid to the society $30.
FENCING THE PUBLIC SQUARE.
On the 18th of April, 1816, James Galloway, jr., took the contract of fencing the public grounds on three sides, viz.: On Chillicothe Street. (Main), Detroit, and Third Street (Market), for $170. Seven years later, July 12, 1823, this fence was sold to George Townsley for $8, and Alexander Gowdy was employed to build a new fence, at a cost of $157. It was a close fence, made of oak boards, in a horizontal position, and mulberry posts. The entrance ways to the grounds were, at first, gates, but. some years before the fence was removed, June 8, 1833, the gates gave place to stiles.
236 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
Persons entered the old court house from Main Street over a stile in front.
FIRST MAPS OF SURVEYS.
The first maps of surveys in the county were made in 1825. On the 9th day of June, 1825, Moses Collier was paid $36.85 for making a map of the United States lands in Greene County, and for making surveys to enable James Galloway, jr., to make a map of military land. This map of the military survey was burned with the effects of Washington Galloway, on the night before the presidential election in 1856.
TAXING LAWYERS AND PHYSICIANS.
On the 11th day of June, 1830, "the commissioners and auditor proceeded to estimate the annual income of the practicing lawyers and physicians, and to charge a tax upon each; which tax as charged is attached to their respective names on the lists returned by the assessor to the auditor."
IMPRISONMENT FOR DEBT.
It has been already stated more than once, that the law of the olden time imprisoned for debt. Some debtors had the liberty of the jail yard; some the liberty to go anywhere in the county, but not beyond its bounds; others were confined to the debtor's room. When it appeared that a. debtor was insolvent, and could not, by any possibility, pay his debts, his case was brought before the commissioners, who discharged the debtor, and paid out of the county fund the expense of his board. On many a page of the record of these times we find an account of such examination and release. On the 5th of March, 1828, a release of a different kind occurred. The following is the minute in the commissioners' record, viz.:
"It appearing to the board that Henry Hobbs, who was committed to the jail of this county on an execution in favor of S. P. Frazier, for the sum of $3.25, and 572 cents, has made his escape from said jail; and being satisfied that it was not through the negligence of James A. Scott, sheriff, they do, therefore, order that said
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James A. Scott be paid, out of the county treasury, five dollars and two and a half cent--."
Accounts in those times were not kept in the decimal denominations. No one bought or sold anything for dime or half dime. Costs were not assessed in decimal currency. The five-penny-bit, or shorter, fip-penny-bit, or still shorter, the fip, in value six and a fourth cents, and the eleven-penny bit, by some called the levy, a bit valued at twelve and a half cents, were well known; also, the half-cent coin was then in circulation, and this kind of currency accounts for the above-named stuns, 57 1/2 cents, 2 1/2 cents.
POLITICS IN GREENE COUNTY.
Political party lines were not rigidly drawn in this county until the election of John Quincy Adams to the presidency, in 1824. In 1804 Ohio cast its first vote for president. It was cast ' for Jefferson, aiding to elect hint to the presidency for his second term. Greene County supported the administrations of Madison and Monroe, but in 1824 she had voted for Henry Clay. In the House of Representatives, Adams received the support of Clay, and was elected. On receipt of the news of Adams' election there was great rejoicing on the part of the Adams men, the Whigs. All the private houses f the Whigs in Xenia were illuminated; also the court house. The Democrats had no especial complaint to make against private illuminations, but holding a brief caucus they resolved that the public buildings should not be used for such partisan purposes. Accordingly they entered the court house in the absence of the Whigs and extinguished the lights. When the Whigs returned the Democrats held the castle in darkness. A general and severe fight followed, in which many of the most respectable citizens engaged. Among them were Dr. Joshua Martin, Maj. James Galloway, Silas Roberts, Benjamin Eyler, Henry Barnes, and others. It is not to be presumed that these, and others with them, in either party, were members of any temperance organization. In those days respectable men and good citizens drank " good " liquor, and in vindicating patriotic resolves they would sometimes " stand on their muscle," or fall in the affray In these " degenerate days " good men generally don't drink much "bad whisky," and fights for the most part are confined to the lowest strata of humanity.
238 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
Greene County, in every general election from 1824 to 1856, voted the Whig ticket. In 1856 she voted for Fremont. Ii that year she gave her first Republican majority, and from that time to the present, 1880, she has given at each election a Republican majority ranging from 1500 to 2500. Although there was a Whig majority in the county during the years named; it occurred several times, owing to some party quarrels, that Democrats were elected to county offices ; and twice in the history of these years a Democrat was elected to the General Assembly. During some of these years party feeling was intense. This was especially true in 1840, when " log cabins," ornamented with coon skins, were drawn on wheels, and " Tippecanoe and Tyler too " was the Whig rallying song from Maine to Louisiana.
On the presidential day of this year a general fight occurred, in which a young shoemaker, a man of small stature and a Whig, played (fought) a prominent part. Facing singly a crowd of autagonists, knocking down men, retreating, knocking down again and retreating, until, with an iron rod in his hand, at the southwest corner of Main and Detroit streets he advised his principal antagonist that if he made one step further advance he would not be able to retreat. The advance was not made. The party retired to the hotel, a building which is now a part of the St. George Hotel, where he commenced an attack on a printer, who, though a Whig, was a compositor in the Democratic office. Here he was thoroughly chastised and carried off the field. After the battle was over the victorious printer washed the crimson stains from his hands, and then went into the middle of Detroit Street and began turning summersaults for the amusements of the crowd.
Soon after the inauguration of Harrison and Tyler, in 1841, William Sinseman laid off a village in Bath, Township and called it Tylerville, in honor of the Whig vice-president. On the death of Gen. Harrison, Tyler, having been inaugurated president, began early to go over to the Democrat party. A large portion of the citizens of Tylersville were Whigs. They felt outraged at the course that Mr. Tyler had pursued, and determined to withdraw the honor that they had shown, by having the name of their village changed. Under the leadership of the late Dr. Bell, who resided in that vicinity, a petition was drawn up and unanimously signed by the citizens, and forwarded to the General Assembly, praying to have the name of the village changed to Byron. This petition,
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after reciting the wishes of the petitioners, concludes with the following significant language : " It may seem strange to your honorable body that the inhabitants of an humble village in Ohio should ask to have its name changed from that of an American president to the name of an English poet; yet we feel so utterly disgusted with the apostacy of John Tyler from the doctrines marked out by "Old Tip." in his inaugeral message, that we detest his name, and turn him over to the execrations of the party which elected him, and the contempt of mankind." The petition was promptly acted upon by the legislature.