History of Hamilton Co. Index
Hamilton Co., OHGenWeb
Spencer township was erected some time in the early '40's, to relieve the embarrassment caused to some of the people in transacting township business or voting, from the size of Columbia, which had always been a large township, and had now become populous. The new municipality began at the eastern line of Cincinnati township, being the "second meridian" referred to frequently in a previous chapter, or the range line dividing Mill Creek and Columbia townships, and extending to the Ohio nearly at the foot of Barr, a short street running from the river to Eastern avenue, west of Pendleton. North upon this meridian to the second section line, at the northwest corner of section thirty-two; thence due east to the Little Miami river; thence by the Little Miami and Ohio rivers to the place of beginning, completed the boundaries of the township. It contained within its limits the old village of Columbia, with Pendleton and the present sites of Tusculum, O'Bryanville, and a part of Mount Lookout - all now included within the city; also Linwood, East Linwood, Russell's, Turkey Bottom, and part of Red Bank. Its greatest width, a mile south of the north line, was but three and a half miles, the breadth dwindling to less than a third of a mile at the mouth of the Little Miami. Its length varied from four miles, on a line drawn from the present northeast corner of the city, at Mount Lookout, to the junction of the rivers, down to one and a quarter miles on the western boundary. It has a waterfront of five miles and a half on the much-winding Little Miami, and four miles on the northward-bending Ohio. Yet it was, at its best estate, but a small township, having only four entire sections, with nine fractional sections, altogether hardly making the equivalent of eight square miles. The township proper has, within the last decade, been further encroached upon by the movement of the city eastward. By the annexation of Pendleton, Columbia, and the districts to the north of these, it has lost the whole of sections twenty-five and twenty-six, thirty and thirty-one, together with parts of sections nineteen, twenty-four, and thirty, restricting the territory over which it has exclusive jurisdiction to half its former limits, or about four square miles, including the whole tract adjoining the Little Miami, and one and a half miles front upon the Ohio. What remains of the township (only two thousand one hundred and eighty-four acres, and but eight hudred and sixty-nine outside its villages) is almost exclusively in the valley; is low and flat, but exceedingly rich and fertile. Much of the triangular space between the Little Miami railroad and Mount Lookout is, however, on the hills, and gives many picturesque views up and down the valley, and across to Mount Washington and the heights of Anderson.
Besides the Little Miami road, Spencer is also intersected by the Cincinnati & Portsmouth narrow guage railroad and the projected line of the Ohio River & Virginia railway. Within the city part of old Spencer, two dummy lines of street railroad connect the terminus of the horse-car lines at the east end of Pendleton with Columbia and Mount Lookout, respectively. The Union Bridge pike runs from Linwood about a mile southeastward to the splendid structure over the Little Miami, noticed in our chapter on Anderson township; the New Richmond pike, from Columbia toward the mouth of the river, crosses it below Mount Washington; the old Cincinnati and Wooster pike intersects the whole township from Cincinnati to Red Bank, on the Little Miami, at the northeast corner of Spencer; and it has numerous other fine roads. The drives over the hills and along the valley in this direction are among the finest in and near the city.
A very handsome and valuable improvement was made in this township some years ago, at the expense of the county, in building a very strong and costly union levee or roadway, of about a mile's length, across the Little Miami bottoms, from the Union bridge to Linwood, upon which the Union Bridge turnpike now runs. It is forty feet wide on top the whole way, and in many places from fifteen to twenty feet in height, containing an immense amount of earth and stone, and costing near eighty thousand dollars. It is designed to raise this, one of the most important roads into the city, over which most of the wagon transportation and carriage travel from the eastward comes in, altogether above the annual floods of the Little Miami and the Ohio, which overflow this part of the valley, and had often grievously interrupted the use of the old highway. Upon completion of the levee, the county also generously proceeded to displace the antiquated, rough wooden Union bridge by the present superb iron crossway, which is suitably mentioned elsewhere.
The township received its distinguished name in honor of Colonel
one of the early colonists of Columbia, and father of the Rev. Oliver
SPENCER, whose story of Indian captivity supplies one of the most
leaves in its history.
The following notes of antiquities in Spencer township are taken
Dr. METZ's paper on the Prehistoric Monuments of the Little Miami
Hall a mile west of this ridge is an elevated plateau sloping to southward, until it coinsides with the first bottom of the Little Miami river. On this plateau, at its highest elevation just south of the Little Miami railroad and at the junction of Oak and Elmwood avenues of the Linwood Land company's subdivision, was a mound recently removed in the grading done by the Land company. The superintendent of the grading informs me that there were two circular layers of human remains, one near the general level of the ground, and one three feet above the lower one; he gives its height as eight feet and its circumference at base of two hundred feet. The Hon. Judge COX states to me that this mound was enclosed by a circular work that had a diameter of eight hundred feet.
South of this mound, distant two hundred yards, was a mound which was explored fifty years ago. My informant, Mr. RIGGLE, remembers that in a kind of stone coffin, as he describes it, were two skeletons lying side by side, with their feet to the east, and that their faces were covered with layers of mica.
The five acres west of these mounds are known as the Indian Burying Ground, now subdivided into lots by the Linwood Land company. The square bounded by Elmwood, Walnut, Oak, and Maplewood avenues covers the greater part of the ancient cemetery, and an excavation made anywhere within or near those boundaries will reveal human remains. The inhumation was usually at length with head to east.
A short distance east of the Linwood. station, on the south side of the railroad, can yet be seen a portion of the mound remaining. This mound was removed to make way for the Little Miami railroad. Many relics were found in grading down these mounds and levelling the ground over the cemetery, which are in the collections of Dr. H. H. HILL and J. J. HOOKER, of Cincinnati, and of the writer and others.
Southwest of another mound, and at about the same elevation known as Linwood Hill, distant about four hundred yards, is the site of a mound; it has been graded down. I could learn nothing positive as to its dimensions, the Anderson house occupies its site. Still further westward, a quarter of a mile distant, and at the same elevation on the Land company's property, is a mound four feet high with a circumference of one hundred and fifty feet. It has not been explored.
The history of the western half of the old township now belongs to
and has been mostly considered in the second part of this book. As,
the landing of the first white settlers in the Miami purchase was
upon the present soil of Spencer township, with which this, the oldest
town in Hamilton county and the second founded in Ohio was identified
many years, we have reserved for this chapter the history of the
of Miami settlement at
The movements of Major BENJAMIN STITES, who was not merely the founder of Columbia, but in the first instance of the Miami purchase also, preliminary to his emigration to the west, have been detailed in our chapter on the purchase, in the first part of this work.
To STITES were sold, by the East Jersey company, twenty thousand acres, mostly in the Little Miami valley, and including, of course, the subsequent site of Columbia, and some tracts elsewhere. In July, 1788, he arrived at Limestone with a party of emigrants from the Redstone Old Fort, and there joined a company which had arrived on the fifth of June, having left New York and New Jersey during the spring, accompanied by the Rev. JOHN GANO. They had been attracted to the Miami country by the representations of the Rev. WILLIAM WOOD, of Kentucky, who had visited New York toward the end of 1787, and confirmed the glowing statements which STITES, and then SYMMES, had endeavored to spread at the east. Judge SYMMES, with his party, arrived soon after, and the now large company of Miami immigrants here remained together until winter was very near.
The character of STITES's arrangements with SYMMES, in part at least, may be learned from the following documents, which we find, all but the last, in Colonel A. E. JONES' valuable address on the pioneers of the Little Miami valley:
Captain BENJAMIN STITES enters ten thousand acres
the fraction on the Ohio and Little Miami rivers, and is to take in Mr.
JOHN CARPENTER as one of his company, to be on line or sections on the
Ohio and Little Miami from the point, and ten thousand acres on equal
and sections at the mill-stream [Mill Creek], falling into the Ohio
the Little and Great Miamis -- which, when the certificates thereof are
paid and the Record Book open, shall be recorded to him and to such of
his company as join therefor.
[Signed.] JOHN C. SYMMES.
New Brunswick [N. J.], 7th of September, 1787.
A supplement follows, without date or signature:
The last ten (10,000) thousand acres is to be taken in the following manner: Two sections at the mouth of Mill creek, and the residue to begin four (4) miles from the Ohio up Mill creek. Captain STITES takes four (4) sections on the Little Miami with the fraction adjoining the ten (10,000) thousand acres where it comes to the Little Miami, and four sections with the section next above the range of township, taken by Daniel -------, esq., on the Little Miami.
By the eighth of February, 1793, Captain STITES had paid in full for his tracts, as the following receipt evinces:
The original agreement with Judge SYMMES, when the project Of the Miami purchase was broached to him by STITES, in the spring or summer of 1787, provided that STITES should have ten thousand acres about the mouth of the Little Miami, lying as nearly in a square as possible, as a reward for his discovery of the country and his consequent scheme of purchase, and should be allowed as much in addition as he could pay for. He appears by the receipts, however, finally to have had to pay for all the lands he acquired.
During the long wait at Limestone, in September, a party of about sixty went down the river, landing at the mouth of the Little Miami, and exploring the back country thoroughly for some distance between that point and the great North Bend, where SYMMES afterwards planted his colony. The judge was with them, but STITES was not. He was busily engaged with preparation for his settlement, making plans for the village plat and the fort, and getting out clapboards for roofs from the woods about Limestone, with the hearts of timber prepared to fill the spaces between the logs of his prospective cabin, cut of boat-plank doors, with their hangings all ready, were also made. He and his son Benjamin were mainly engaged in this work, and in storing them in a boat ready for the movement. At this time a sharp lookout had to be kept against Indian attack; and people walked about the streets and vicinity of Limestone habitually with arms in their hands. NEHEMIAH STITES, indeed, a nephew of the major, was killed by the savages while passing to or from the woods in which his relatives were at work.
Another important item of preparation was also accomplished during the delay at Limestone, in the execution and signature of an agreement required by STITES, and assented to by about thirty persons, to form a settlement at the mouth of the Little Miami. Some were scared off afterwards, by the persistent rumors of disaffected Kentuckians, pehaps anxious to divert immigrants toward Lexington and other settlements on their side of the Ohio, that a large party of hostile Indians was encamped at or near the point of intended settlement. The majority held to their signatures, however, and it is pretty well settled that the original body of the pioneers of Columbia and the Miami purchase was composed as follows:1
Major Benjamin STITES and family, including Benjamin STITES, jr.; Elijah STITES and family, including Jonathan STITES: Greenbright BAILEY and family, including John F. BAILEY and Reason BAILEY; Abel COOK and family, Jacob MILLS and family, Hezekiah STITES, John S. GANO, Ephraim KIBBY, Elijah MILLS, Thomas C. WADE, Edmund BUXTON, Daniel SCHUMACHER, Allen WOODRUFF, Joseph COX, Benjamin COX, Evan SHELBY, Mr. HEAMPSTEAD, twenty stout stalwart men, with two well-grown, capable boys (the STITES sons), were of this band.
"And there was woman's fearless age,
Lit by her deep love's truth;
There was manhood's brow, serenely high,
And the fiery heart of youth."
Mr. Robert Clarke in his useful pamphlet on Losantiville, has added
the following names of subsequent but still early colonists at
|James H. BAILEY.||David JENNINGS.|
|Zephu BALL.||Henry JENNINGS.|
|Jonas BOWMAN.||Levi JENNINGS.|
|W. COLEMAN.||Ezekiel LARNED.|
|Benjamin DAVIS.||John MCULLOCH.|
|David DAVIS.||John MANNING.|
|Owen DAVIS.||James MATTHEWS.|
|Samuel DAVIS.||Aaron MERCER.|
|Francis DUNLEVY.||Ichabod B. MILLER.|
|Hugh DUNN.||Patrick MOORE.|
|Isaac FERRIS.||William MOORE.|
|John FERRIS.||John MORRIS.|
|James FLINN.||----- NEWELL.|
|Gabriel FOSTER.||John PHILLIPS.|
|Luke FOSTER.||Jonathan OITMAN.|
|William GOFORTH||Benjamin F. RANDOLPH.|
|Daniel GRIFFIN.||James SEWARD.|
|Joseph GROSE.||John WEBB.|
|John HARDIN.||----- WICKERHAM.|
The names of KIBBY and SCHUMAKER (or SHOWMAKER) appear in the list of grantees of donation lots at Losantiville, distributed by lottery January 1, 1789. Several other Columbia pioneers also acquired property, and some made permanent settlements at Cincinnati, their names being identified with the early annals of both places. Colonel SPENCER, the Rev. John SMITH, Colonel BROWN, Captain Jacob WHITE, afterwards of White's station, Mr. H---- John REILY, the schoolmaster, and others, were also of the early Columbia -- all, says Judge BURNET, "men of energy and enterprise."
The Columbia argonauts -- "more numerous," says BURNET's notes, "than either of the parties who commenced the settlements below them on the Ohio" -- led by STITES in person, he, as SYMMES wrote shortly after to DAYTON, "having a great desire to plant himself down there," floated out upon the broad river from Limestone, it is believed, on the sixteenth of November, 1788. The first stage of their journey took them to the mouth of Bracken creek, on the Kentucky side. An interesting incident of the voyage is thus related by Dr. FERRIS:
They descended the river to Bracken creek; and from that place they started, as they supposed, in time to float down the Little Miami by sunrise, so as to have the day before them for labor. Previous to their leaving Maysville, a report had been in circulation that some hunters had returned from the woods who had seen five hundred Indians at the mouth of the Little Miami, and that the Indians had heard the white people were coming there to settle, and intended to kill them all as soon as they should arrive. On its being announced at break of day that they were near the mouth of the Miami, some of the females were very much alarmed on account of the report alluded to. To allay their fears, five men volunteered their services fo go forward in a canoe, and examine. If there were no Indians they were to wave their handkerchiefs, and the boats, which were kept close to the Kentucky shore, were to be crossed over and landed. If there were, the men were to pass by and join the boats below. The token of "no Indians" was given, and the boats were crossed over and lauded at the first high banks (about three-fourths of a mile) below the mouth of the Little Miami, a little after sunrise on the morning of the eighteenth of November, 1788.
This landing was on the present soil of Spencer township, outside
corporate limits of Columbia, a few hundred yards further up the river,
where is still a considerable settlement, some of the buildings in
are very old. The traditional place of landing
out, in front of an old two-story brick dwelling, near the lower part of the settlement.
Dr. FERRIS proceeds with these interesting details of the landing:
After making fast, they ascended the steep bank and cleared away the underbrush in the midst of a pawpaw thicket, where the women and children sat down. They next, as though to fulfil the commands of the Saviour, "watch and pray," placed sentinels at a small distance from the thicket, and, having first united in a song of praise to Almighty God, to whose providence they ascribed their success (Mr. WADE taking the lead in singing), upon their bender knees they offered thanks for the past and prayer for future protection; and in this manner dedicated themselves (and probably their thicket) to God, as solemnly and acceptably as ever a stately temple, with all the pomp and splendor attending it, was dedicated. There were in this little group six persons, viz: Benjamin STITES, John S. GANO, Thomas C. WADE, Greenbright BAILEY, Edward BUXTON, and Mrs. BAILEY, who were professors of the Christian religion of the Baptist church.
Thus, in a little more than one year from his first conception of this great enterprise, Major STITES with his little company was on the ground, prepared to commence that immense labor necessary to change this then vast wilderness into a fruitful field.
The first duty was to build a defence against the marauding savage. Plans for this had already been prepared, and without delay the strong arms of the settlers began to make inroads upon the forest, in the preparation of material for a simple military work. Part of the men stood guard, while others toiled, while laborers and guards from time to time exchanged places. The site of the first block-house was selected near the point of landing, and about half a mile below the mouth of the Little Miami -- just in front, it is said, of the subsequent residence of A. STITES, esq. It is also said that the encroachments of the river long since washed away this site. The work was so far advanced by the twenty-fourth of November that the women, children, and portable goods of the party were moved into it. The troops who came from Limestone soon after, to form a garrison, erected another block-house, below the first -- west of the other, as tradition runs, and between the present toll gate of the New Richmond pike and the river. Some say that four block-houses in all were erected, and so situated as to form, with a stout stockade connecting them, a square fortification, which took twenty months afterwards the name of a work erected by the British on the Maumee about this time, near the scene of WAYNE's victory, Fort Miami.
Oliver M. SPENCERr, who was a boy nine years old when he came with his father to Columbia, says in his Narration of Captivity that at that time Columbia was "flanked by a small stockade, nearly half a mile below the mouth of the Miami, with four block-houses at suitable distances along the bank."
In the immediate neighborhood, but below the fort, cabins were then put up as rapidly as possible, and the settlers housed themselves for the winter. They had scarcely got comfortably located, however, when the inundation of January drove them from every cabin except one, which had fortunately been perched upon the higher ground. The soldiers in the block-house -- a garrison of eighteen men and a sergeant, had been sent in December from Captain KEARSEY's company at Limestone -- were crowded into the loft of the structure by the rapidly rising waters, and were rescued from their uncomfortable and perilous position by a boat, in which they crossed to the hills on the Kentucky side. Much of the loose property of the settlers was lost by the flood. The Hon. A. H. DUNLEVY, in his History of the Miami Baptist Association, among other things, says of the consequences of this unhappy experience:
A winter of bloody conflict with the Indians was anticipated; but, contrary to expectation, the colony remained undisturbed during all that winter and until autumn of the next year. The settlers labored incessantly in building cabins for themselves upon the beautiful plain which lies east of most of the present buildings in Columbia; but on the first of January, 1789, a high flood in the Ohio proved that they had made a bad selection for a town. The whole bottom was over-flowed, but one house escaping the deluge. Afterwards improvements were made below and further from the river, on higher ground; but that flood forever ruined the prospects of Columbia. During the Indian war many stayed there because they could not move further into the country on account of the savages. But as soon as WAYNE's victory, in the fall of 1794, secured the safety of the settlements in more interior localities, the people began to leave Columbia; and after the treaty of Greenville, in 1795, many more left, and Columbia ever after had the appearance of a deserted town.
The sturdy colonists did not abandon the ground at the first flood, however, but returned to them when the waters abated, and meantime provided themselves with such shelters as they could. They were often hard pressed for food this first winter, and some suffered much for want of their wonted articles of sustenance. Wild game abounded, but there was no salt or breadstuff to eat with the fresh meat, except what could be had in small quantities from passing boats. The women and children resorted much to Turkey bottom, when the weather and the condition of the ground permitted, to scratch up the bulbous roots of beargrass, which they boiled and mashed, and so ate them, or dried the substance and pounded it into a sort of flour. In the spring, with the growth of vegetables on the Turkey bottom and other fertile tracks, the situation improved, and the abundant crops of the first year rendered starvation thenceforth exceedingly improbable. There was even a surplus for Fort Washington, as the following incident shows:
Luke FOSER, of the pioneers at Columbia, was one of the lieutenants
appointed for the militia of Hamilton county by Governor ST. CLAIR. He
performed a most patriotic act in 1789, when the troops at Fort
were on particularly short commons, and General HARMAR sent two of his
officers to Columbia to get supplies Captain James FLINN had corn to
but would not let the soldiers have it, saying that, while he lived
Marietta, the year before, he had sold corn to the garrison at Fort
and had never been paid for it. Captain STRONG answered that the men at
the fort had been living on half rations for nine days, and if they
not supplied they must leave or starve. Mr. FOSTER, who was standing
upon this instantly offered to lend them a hundred bushels of corn,
was part of the growth from two and a half acres in Turkey bottom,
with six and a half quarts of corn, for which he had exchanged the same
quantity of corn meal. His offer was gratefully accepted; but so remiss
was the garrison afterwards in payment, or so poorly supplied, that,
when in need himself, he had to ride six times to the fort to get as much as nineteen bushels of it returned. Mr. FOSTER, it may be of interest here to note, finally settled two miles south of Springdale, in Springfield township, where he lost his life on the tracks of the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton railroad, August 28, 1851, being struck by a gravel train. He was eighty-eight years old, had become deaf, and was otherwise greatly enfeebled. For many years he was an associate judge of the court of common pleas, under the old system, and was one of the first appointees to that office in Hamilton county.
As soon as practicable after the landing, STITES had his proposed city surveyed, which he fondly hoped might become the metropolis of the west. According to the narrative of Oliver M. SPENCER, published long afterwards, it was to occupy the broad and extensive plain between Crawfish creek and the mouth of the Little Miami -- a distance along the Ohio of nearly three miles -- and to extend up the Miami about the same distance. It was actually laid out over a mile along the Ohio, stretching back about three-quarters of a mile from that stream, and reaching half-way up the high hill which formed in part the eastern and northern lines. This tract was platted, partly in blocks of eight lots, each of half an acre, and the rest in lots of four and five acres each. Nine hundred and forty-five inlots are said to have been staked off by STITES' surveyors. The streets intersected each other at right angles. A different plat of Columbia, corresponding more nearly to the village of recent years, bears date May 5, 1837.
Major STITES' title to his entire large tract in this region was afterwards threatened, by the apparent determination of the Government authorities to draw the eastern boundary of the Miami purchase from a point twenty miles up the Ohio from the mouth of the Great Miami, which would have left him outside of the purchase, and altogether destitute of valid title from SYMMES. It is to the honor of the judge that in this crisis he stood bravely by his friend, writing to his associates of the East Jersey company: "If Mr. STITES is ousted of the settlement he has made with great danger and difficulty at the mouth of the Little Miami, it cannot be either politic or just." Governor ST. CLAIR at once issued his proclamation warning settlers off the Miami country east of the aforesaid line; but the matter was afterwards arranged, and the east and west boundaries of the purchase were fixed as originally proposed, upon the two Miamis.
During its first two years Columbia flourished hopefully, and was then remarked as a larger and more promising place than Losantiville or its successor, Cincinnati. It was the largest settlement in the Miami country, and was expected to increase rapidly; "but," says Dr. DRAKE, in his picture of Cincinnati, "the bayou which is formed across it from the Little Miami almost every year, and the occasional inundations of nearly the whole site, have destroyed that expectation, and it is now  inhabited chiefly by farmers." The village was not only superior in population, but also in the convenience and appearance of their dwellings. But for the floods, and the establishment of Fort Washington and then the county seat of Cincinnati, which naturally gave it great advantage, it might have been the metropolis of Miamidom. Many excellent citizens, as Colonel ABRAM and Ezra FERRIS, who came December 12, 1789, and Colonel SPENCER, who landed a year thereafter, joined the colony during these years. We subjoin some notices of the more noted among the immigrants of the first decade:
John REILY, one of the early settlers of Columbia, was but twenty-five years old when the colony came, having been born in Chester county, Pennsylvania, April 10, 1763. He had seen much service, however, in the army of the Revolution; was engaged at Camden, Guilford Court House, Ninety-six, and Eutaw Springs, and served through his eighteen months' term honorably and safely. After a few years in the wilds of Kentucky, he removed from Lincoln county, near the present site of Danville, to the Columbia settlement, December 18, 1789, and the next year taught the first school kept there, or anywhere in the Miami purchase. He took full part in the scouts and expeditions into the Indian country, and in 1794 removed to Cincinnati, where he became successively deputy clerk of the county court, clerk of the territorial legislature, and clerk and collector of the town. He removed to Hamilton in 1803, and there spent the remainder of his days, dying in that place June 7, 1850, after a long and highly honorable career.
Judge William GOFORTH came in the early part of 1789. He is
so often in the course of this history, as associated with affairs here
and at Cincinnati, that a biographical sketch of him here seems
The judge builded better than he knew in keeping a diary of his journey
hither and of events for some time afterwards. It is an interesting old
document, and the public owes access to it to Mr. Charles CIST, who
it nearly forty years ago in his Cincinnati Miscellany. We correct one
or two patent blunders in the yearly dates:
|left our camp and put down the Ohio and on the 8th arrived at Limestone and thence to Washington which is in 38 degrees some minutes North, and had at that time 119 horses.|
|left Washington (Mason Co., Ky.,) on the 12th and arrived on the 18th at Miami (Columbia).|
|the first four horses were stolen -- by the Indians --|
|two of Mills' men were killed.|
|a bark canoe passed the town and five move horses were stolen.|
|BAILY and party returned from pursuing after the Indians.|
|Met in the shade to worship.|
|A cat-fish was taken four feet long, eight inches between the eyes, and weighed 58 pounds.|
|Judge SYMMES arrived on the 2nd of February, 1789, as he informed Major STITES at his own post.|
|traded with the first Indian.|
|Capt. SAMONDAWAT -- an Indian, arrived and traded.|
|Named the Fort "Miami."|
|Col. Henry LEE arrived and 53 volunteers.|
|Went to North Bend with Col. LEE.|
|Captain FLINN retook the horses.|
|Major STITES, old Mr. BEALER and myself took the depth of the Ohio River when we found there was 57 feet water in the channel, and that the river was 55 feet lower at that|
|time than it was at that uncommonly high fresh last winter. The water at the high flood was 112 feet. 2|
|Mr. WHITE set out for the Tiber.|
|Major DOUGHTY went down the river.|
|Genl. HARMAR passed this post down the River. 1790.|
|The Governor passed this post down the River.|
|received a line desiring my attendance with others.|
|Attended his excellency when the Civil and Military officers were nominated.|
|The officers were sworn in.|
|Doctor David JOHNS preached.|
|Doctor GANO and Thomas SLOO came here.|
|The church was constituted - -Baptist church at Columbia. 3|
|Three persons were baptized.|
|called a church meeting and took unanimous to call the Rev. Stephen Gano to the pastoral charge of the church at Columbia.|
|General HARMAR went on the campaign past this post.|
|The Governor went up the River.|
|Worked at clearing the minister's lot.|
|Mr. SARGENT left this post to go up the River together with Judge TURNER.|
|The Mason county militia past this post on their way to headquarters.|
|200 Militia from Pennsylvania past this post on their way to Cincinnati.|
|The Governor went down to Cincinnati.|
|Major DOUGHTY and Judge TURNER also.|
|The main body of the troops marched.|
|begun to thaw.|
|Indians fired at Lt. BAILY's boat.|
|Mrs. Abel COOK was found dead in the Round Bottom.|
|Mrs. BOWMAN was fired at in the night through a crack in the house.|
|Mr. STRONG returned from up the River; had 24 men killed and wounded on the 19th March.|
|Mr. PLASKET arrived -- the 24th in the morning fought the Indians just after daybreak, about 8 miles above Scioto -- this the same battle mentioned in HUBBLE's narative.|
|Col. SPENCER's son taken prisoner.|
|Francis BEADLES, Jonathan COLEMAN, a soldier killed.|
|In the evening Samuel WELCH was taken.|
|Last Monday night met at my house to consult on the expediency of founding an academy -- Rev. John SMITH, Major GANO, Mr. DUNLEVY, -- afterward Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, and myself -- Wednesday night met at Mr. REILY's school-house -- Mr. REILY then the teacher was for many years Clerk of Butler Common Pleas and Supreme Court -- to digest matters respecting the academy, the night being bad, and but few people attending postponed till next night which was 1st of November, met at Mr. REILY's to appoint a committee.|
|Fall of snow 7 inches on a level.|
|The first and fourth Sub-Legions march under General Wayne. The 27th or rather the 30th the army march.|
Daniel DOTY, of Essex county, New Jersey, was one of the immigrants of 1790. He came on the twenty-third of October, in a flat-boat, from Pittsburgh. He then found, according to his recollections long after, but two hewed-log buildings in the place, one of them occupied by Major STITES, the other by Captain John S. GANO. He enlisted promptly in Captain GANO's company of militia, which every able-bodied man in the settlement had to join, and which now mustered about seventy -- a strong and efficient company. He turned out with the parties marching to the relief of Covalt's and Dunlap's stations, when the Indian attacks were made upon them; and was secured by the Cincinnati Presbyterians, together with a man named FRENCH, to bring their first pastor, the Rev. James KEMPER, and his family, through the wilderness from near Danville to his new home. In 1792 Mr. DOTY returned to New Jersey, by way of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, and by sea, but came back to the Miami country in 1796, with his wife and children, and removed to the vicinity of Middletown, Butler county, where the rest of his life was spent. He was the first collector of taxes for that part of the country, which was then in Hamilton county. McBride's Pioneer Biography says:
His district was twelve miles wide from north to south, comprising two ranges of townships, extending from the Great Miami to the Little Miami rivers, comprehending the sites where the towns of Franklin and Waynesville have been laid out, and the immediate country and settlements. The whole amount of the duplicate committed to him for collection was two hundred and forty-four dollars, of which he collected every dollar and paid it over to Jacob BURNET of Cincinnati, who was the treasurer for' the county of Hamilton. Mr. DOTY's own tax, for some years previous to his death, was upwards of one hundred and thirty-five dollars -- more than half of the amount which he then collected from the whole district of which he had been collector. In the discharge of the duties of his office as collector, he must have ridden over more than one thousand miles. For these services, including his time and expenses, he received one per cent, on the amount of the duplicate, two dollars and forty-four cents, and no more. This appears to have satisfied Mr. DOTY with public office, as he never afterward, during his whole life, was a candidate for any office.
Francis DUNLEVY emigrated from Kentucky to Columbia in 1791, and at first was engaged in teaching, in company with Mr. John REILY. He was then less than thirty years old., having been born near Winchester, Virginia, December 31, 1761. When but a boy he was engaged in Indian, and afterwards in the Revolutionary warfare, and helped to build up Fort McIntosh, the first regular military work within the present bounds of Ohio. He was at Crawford's defeat on the plains of Sandusky, and in the retreat was cut off from the main body of the army, and had to make his way through the wilderness to Pittsburgh. In 1787 he removed with his father's family to Kentucky, and ten years afterwards, having resided six years in Columbia, he removed to the vicinity of Lebanon, where he died, November 6, 1839. He was fourteen years presiding judge of the court of common pleas of the first circuit, which included Hamilton county, and was a member of the first Constitutional convention, also of the first legislature that assembled under the State government.
The following notice of perhaps the most renowned citizen that Columbia ever had, is extracted from the Life of Senator MORRIS, by his son, Mr. B. F. MORRIS:
In 1795 Thomas MORRIS, a young and enterprising adventurer, nineteen years of age, from the mountains of western Virginia, arrived in Columbia. He was immediately employed as a clerk in the store of Rev. John SMITH, and became a great favorite with him. During this time his mind became deeply exercised on the subject of personal religion, and his feelings found utterance in frequent poetic effusions, which are all lost. Rev. John SMITH and others regarded these productions as of great merit for a youth of his age and limited education. For several years he continued in the employ of SMITH, improving, as he could, his mind by reading, and preparing for a wider sphere of action.
The plat of ground on which the great commercial
now stands, was frequently traversed by MORRIS. His feet threaded the forest, then in the wild magnificence of nature, and the crack of his rifle brought down many a wild turkey from the tops of lofty trees which covered the very spot on which now is erected and established that noble building and institution, the Young Men's Mercantile Library association. How wonderful the change in fifty years. Now commerce, arts, sciences, education, Christian institutions, and the highest forms of a refined social civilization, and a prosperous industrial population of over two hundred thousand people, cover with their peaceful and noble triumphs, and their monuments of taste and civilization, and happiness, the same forest where young MORRIS was accustomed to shoot his wild game.
Mr. MORRIS married Rachel, daughter of Benjamin DAVIS, a Columbian who came from Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, to Mason county, Kentucky, and thence here. He was of Welsh stock and had a fine family of five sons and two daughters. MORRIS removed to Williamsburgh, and then to Bethel, Clermont county, and became greatly distinguished as a lawyer, legislator, United States Senator, and anti-slavery agitator.
From another settler named John MORRIS, at the time the most prominent man in the settlement, a cluster of houses on the hillside took the name Morristown.
By the close of 1790 Columbia contained about fifty cabins. Wickerham's mill, upon floating boats, had been established upon the Little Miami, and yielded supplies of coarse corn meal, but wheat flour was still so scarce that what could be had was generally reserved for the sick. Before WICKERHAM started his small run of stones, the corn had been pounded by the colonists into hominy or laboriously ground in a hand-mill.
The post at Columbia was evidently regarded as of considerable importance, since as many as two hundred soldiers were stationed here in 1794. The need of military protection, however, was then mostly over. There had been demand enough for it before, as the record of Indian murders, captures and robberies in this region abundantly shows. But the first approaches of the Indians to the settlers here, soon after their arrival were thoroughly friendly. The savages came often to the block-houses, expressing great friendship, and calling for Judge SYMMES, toward whom they were very favorably disposed, on account of his having saved one of their small camps from the Kentuckians during the surveying expedition the year before. They had seen STITES' boats on the banks of the river, opposite the block-house, and held a council at their hunting camp six miles from the Ohio, at which it was concluded to take the attitude of friends rather than enemies toward the newcomers. A white man named George had been ten or twelve years a prisoner with them, and could speak both English and Indian. At first he accompanied a single savage as near to the block house as they dared go, and hallooed to the settlers who were at work upon it. He called for some of the writes to go to him, but they took no heed of him, mistaking him for one of their own people. Presently one of them asked "in a blackguarding manner," as the old account puts it, why he didn't come to them, if he had anything to say. Discouraged at this, George went with the Indian back to their camp. He afterwards started out again with a party of five Indians, armed and mounted, for the block-house. They came upon a rail of a surveyor's party, numbering three, who were hunting, and followed it until the men were overtaken. The latter fled, but could not escape, and prepared for resistence. Two of the three were Robert HANSON and Joseph COX, from Sussex county, New Jersey. HANSON aimed his gun at the foremost Indian, but the red man took off his cap, trailed his gun, and held out his right hand as a token of friendship. George called out to he other party not to fire, as the Indians were their friends, and did not wish to hurt them, and they would like to be led to the block-house. Affairs were speedily arranged, and all went amicably together to meet Major STITES. Their joint arrival very much surprised the people at the settlement, some of whom were disposed o think them spies, there only to observe the strength of the colony for defence, others thinking them sincere n their peaceful professions. Both sides, however, as the story runs, "began to form a sociable neighborhood," and there was for a while considerable fraternity between the whites and reds, the former frequently visiting and even spending nights at the Indian camps, while the savages with their squaws frequented the settlement, spending days and nights there, principally occupied in drinking whiskey.
The messages of STITES to SYMMES, in regard to the Indians' professions, and their desire to see him, with his action, were sufficiently set forth in previous chapter.
In a very few weeks, however, the status changed, and a war period set in. The journal of Judge GOFORTH shows that, so early as January 23, 1789, four horses were stolen by the Indians; that two men were killed Aprll 4th; the next day five more horses were stolen, and outrages were frequent thereafter, and the feeling between the hostiles became so envenomed that both sides engaged in killing and scalping with apparently equal activity. Some incidents related of the Columbia scalpers will be found in our chapter on "The Miamese and the Indians."
The news of the attack on Dunlap's station greatly excited the settlers at Columbia, who quickly mounted a volunteer party, armed with rifles, under Lieutenant Luke FOSTER, marched to Cincinnati the same night, and joined the regular and volunteer force there forming for the relief of the station. Before daylight the next morning all were on the move, through several inches of snow, and arrived near the scene of action between ten and eleven o'clock in the forenoon, only to find that the Indians had mostly departed.
A relief party was also promptly turned out when the attack near Covall's station was made, and two men murdered.
The following is the detailed account of one of the more thrilling events briefly noticed in the GOFORTH journal:
On the night of the fourth of March, 1791, the cabin
Mr. Jonas BOWMAN, which was further down the fiver than any other in
was approached by indians, and an attack made. Mr. BOWMAN had been up
Licking hunting wild turkeys with Mr. John REILY; and, returning
and tired, a large fire was built in the open fireplace, which made the
house a conspicuous object in the dark night, as it was not chinked
the logs, and the fire was plainly visible a long distance. The Indians
fired through the cracks, but happily without effect, when Mr. BOWMAN,
who was sitting by the fire, instantly threw
a bucket of water on the flames, thus darkening the room and confusing the Indians, who made off, vainly pursued and fired at by BOWMAN. Mrs. BOWMAN afterwards found a flattened bullet in the bosom of her dress, which had probably glanced and spent its force by the time it reached her. A messenger was dispatched to Fort Washington, with news of the attack, and a party of regulars and volunteers was made up at once, reaching Columbia before daylight; but a thorough scout for many miles into the country failed to discover any Indians.
The subjoined narrative, taken from Cist's Miscellany, is a fuller and more interesting account than that previously given in this work of the capture of young Oliver SPENCER
SPENCER, then a boy of eleven, had been on a visit to Cincinnati, from Columbia where he then lived, to spend the Fourth of July (1791) here, and having stayed until the seventh set out in a canoe with four other persons who were going to Columbia. About a mile above Deer creek, one of the men, much intoxicated, made so many lurches in the canoe as to endanger its safety, and SPENCER, who could not swim, becoming alarmed, was at his earnest request set ashore, as was also the drunken man, who was unable to proceed on foot and was accordingly left where landed. The three in the canoe and SPENCER on shore proceeded on, but had hardly progressed a few rods when they were fired on by two Indians. A Mr. Jacob LIGHT was wounded in the arm, and another man, name unknown, killed on the spot, both falling overboard, the man left on shore tomahawked and scalped, and SPENCER, after a vain attempt to escape, was carried off by the savages and taken out to an Indian village, at the mouth of Auglaize, where he remained several months in captivity. Tidings of these events were taken by LIGHT, who swam ashore a short distance below by the aid of his remaining arm, and Mrs. COLEMAN, the other passenger, who, though an old woman of sixty and of course encumbered with the apparel of her sex, was unable to make any efforts to save herself, but whose clothes floating to the top of the river, probably buoyed her up in safety. It is certain at any rate, incredible as it may be thought by some, that she floated down to Cincinnati where she was assisted to shore by some of the residents here.
SPENCER, after remaining nearly a year among the Indians, was taken to Detroit, where he was ransomed and finally sent home, after an absence in various places of three years, two of which he passed among his relatives in New Jersey. He resided subsequently in the city, where he held various offices of trust and honor, and died on May 31, 1838.
Upon the occurrence of this exciting event the following dispatch was sent by the commandant at Fort Washington to the chief officer at Fort Hamilton:
The first church organized and the first sermon preached anywhere in the Miami purchase, were at Columbia. So early as December, 1789, the Rev. David JONES, a Baptist clergyman from Chester county, Pennsylvania, while on a visit down the Ohio valley, stopped at Columbia and pronounced his first sermon in one of the blockhouses at the fort. This place was then larger than Losantiville, and more likely to attract the attention of a visiting stranger. There was a larger Baptist element here, too.4 Another early preacher to the Columbians, Elder Stephen GANO, had further reasons for interest in the colony, since he had ties of blood connecting him with the Stiteses and the Ganos. Before he came, however, the people had ministerial visits from the Rev. David RICE, a Presbyterian divine of some note from Kentucky, and Elder John MASON, a Virginia Baptist and brother-in-law of Elder John SMITH, who soon afterwards became the first settled pastor among the Little Miamese. Elder GANO came in March, 1790, making one of his many visits to his relatives, and after pleaching several sermons organized a Baptist church in Columbia -- probably on Saturday, March 31, 1790, though Hon. A. H. DUNLEVY, descendant of Judge DUNLEVY, and author of a History of the Miami Baptist Association, names the twentieth of January, 1790, as the time. Mr. DUNLEVY rests upon the diary of Dr. GOFORTH, then a resident of Columbia, which we published on another page; but that is believed to have been made up, in part at least, many years after the occurrence narrated, and to be somewhat unreliable. The distinct recollection of persons present at the organization of the church, that it was on the last Saturday of March, is considered better testimony.
The place of meeting was no longer a block-house, but the dwelling of Benjamin DAVIS. After appropriate services, the church was formally constituted by the aid of Elder GNO; Mr. Thomas SLOO, a member of his church in New York city, also being present. Nine persons joined at the time, whose names are given by Mr. DUNLEVY as follows:
Mary DAVIS, Isaac FERRIS,
Jonah REYNOLDS, Elizabeth FERRIS,
Amy REYNOLDS, Thomas C. WADE,
John S. GANO.
Such was the little band that formed the first organization of Christian institutions in the Miami valleys, from which a thousand church spires now point heavenward.
Isaac FERRIS was appointed deacon, and John S. GANO, clerk, of the
church. Elijah STITES, Rhoda STITES, and Sarah FERRIS, were received
experience, and were baptized in the river the next day (Sunday), after
a preaching service at the house of Major William GOFORTH. Three other
members, Mrs. MEEKS, and Messrs. SMITH and BAILY, soon afterwards
by letter; so that the church now numbered fifteen. Elder GANO was
chosen pastor; but he was too strongly bound to his work in the older
of the east, and returned thither. He seems to have been a man of
ability and power, and certainly, as organizer of the first Christian
in the Miami country, demands some further notice here. He was born in
New York city December 25, 1762, and was a brother of John S. GANO, of
Cloumbia. His father was a clegyman, and
his mother of one of the STITES families. In his twenty-fourth year he was ordained, and served as pastor in the city, in Hillsdale and Hudson, New York, and finally for thirty-six years in Providence, Rhode Island, where he attained considerable distinction, and where he died August 18, 1828. During one of his western tours he preached at Lexington, Kentucky, having in his audience the eloquent Henry CLAY, who thus testified of him: "He was a remarkably fervent preacher, and distinguished for a simple, effective manner. And of all preachers I ever listened to, he made me feel the most that religion was a divine reality."5
Very soon, however, the church had its pastor -- one who also was destined to attain distinction, but in a different field, and at last to end in poverty and obscurity. Elder John SMITH, a Virginian by birth and education, now in the prime of his manhood -- "a man," says the volume cited above, "whose personal appearance was noble and commanding, and who was possessed of very popular manners and a remarkably fascinating address --" visited Columbia in June and preached several times so acceptably that a unanimous call was given him to settle as pastor. This he accepted, and returned home to arrange his business, which took longer than was expected; and he did not arrive until the spring of 1791; the church meanwhile being served acceptably by Daniel CLARK, a licentiate from Whiteley church, Pennsylvania, who had removed to Columbia with his own and other Baptist families. He was afterwards fully ordained by Elders SMITH and John GANO, a venerable Baptist clergyman from near Lexington, on the twenty-first (or twenty-third) of September, 1793, after a preaching service by Elder GANO in a grove of elms near the village. It was the first ordination among the Miamese, or in the Northwest Territory, of a Protestant clergyman.
In October, 1791, the substantial addition was made to the church of
fifteen members by letter and two by experience and baptism. The
of a church edifice was the next thing in order, upon a lot given for
purpose by Major STITES, upon a slight eminence in the northern part of
Columbia, now near and east of the Little Miami railroad, where a pile
of rocks and some ancient graves still mark the spot. The meeting-house
was resolved upon in February, 1792, but was more than eighteen months
in building, not being regularly occupied, probably, till late the next
year, though Mr, DUNLEVY says there was preaching in it in the spring
1793.6 The structure was frame,
by thirty feet, with galleries and a hipped roof. It stood until 1835,
when it was pulled down, having been abandoned for years and become
much dilapitated. A picture of it, in this state, appears in Howe's
collections of Ohio, in the first volume of the American Pioneer, and
Mr. DUNLEVY's little history. The following lines were written during
later years of the church by an old Columbian:
|Near where the Ohio winds its lovely way
Through plains with flowers and herbage richly gay,
High on a green. luxuriant, sloping sod.
In ruinous mantle clad, stands the lone House of God.
A strange sensation thrilled across my breast
The pulpit mould'ring nodded from the wall,
But 'tis not so -- here owls their vigils keep
Where are those eyes that traced those sacred
Where is the choir that here so sweetly sang
Deep in the grave, around this failing pile,
Then fare thee well! Perhaps my feet again
Yet may the hand of Time long spare thy brow,
Peace to the inmates that around thee sleep!
Mr. Dunlevy supplies the following interesting facts:
The law then required every able-bodied man attending meetings for worship to carry his firearms with him, prepared to defend the inhabitants, as well as those at the meeting, from an attack of the Indians. On the first day the house was opened for worship, Colonel SPENCER, one of the early settlers at Columbia and at that time the head of the militia, attended the services, and at the close addressed the militia and pointed out the necessity of strict discipline at these meetings. On another occasion during the same season, when the congregation had assembled for worship, two men came from the woods with an Indian's scalp which they had just taken;7 and during this and the next year two members of the church, Francis GRIFFIN and David JENNINGS, were killed by the savages. A number more of the inhabitants of Columbia were killed by the Indians during the years 1791-2, and several taken prisoners -- among them O. M. SPENCER. son of Colonel SPENCER above named, and long after a well-known citizen of Cincinnati. All their religious meetings, therefore, until Wayne's victory in the autumn of 1794 (and the treaty of Greenville in the next year) had to be guarded by armed men.
The Columbia church was the vigorous parent, prolific in offspring
other churches scattered up and down the Little Miami valley, at
where its members settled after the the Greenville treaty. Within
more than a dozen years after its formation, colonies from it had
or helped to found, Baptist churches at the Little Miami island, on
run, in the present
Sycamore township; near Ridgeville, Warren county; at Turtle creek, now Lebanon; near Little Prairie, now Middletown; and even at Staunton, near the county seat of Miami county, about seventy miles north of Columbia.
According to the recollections of Mr. David DOTY, published in McBride's Pioneer Biography, "the order then was for every man to meet on parade on Sunday morning, armed and equipped, and after going through the manual exercise, march to the place of worship, stack their guns in one corner of the cabin until divine service was concluded, and then take them and return to their homes."
Elder SMITH preached a part of the time in Cincinnati. In April, 1790, the Columbia church formally resolved "that in view of the entire destitution of preaching in Cincinnati, Brother SMITH be allowed to spend half his time in that place." In 1795 he resigned at Columbia, and devoted his work to what was known as the Little Miami Island church, on an islet in the river, about eight miles northeast of Columbia. He was assisted at the latter place by Elder CLARK, the ordained of the September meeting in 1793, who took sole charge of the church after SMITH's retirement, and ministered to it until autumn, 1797, when he removed to the northward and organized, successively, the Deer Creek and Turtle Creek (since Lebanon) churches. For a number of years he preached to both, and was the only pastor the latter church had from its formation in 1798 until 1829, or thereabouts, when he became superannuated. He lasted five or six years longer, dying December 11, 1834, in his ninetieth year.
Elder SMITH ministered to the pioneer church for over ten years, and then dropped into politics. He was a member of the first Constitutional convention, that which organized the State of Ohio, and was one of the first United States Senators from this State. In 1806, when the storm burst over the head of Aaron BURR, Senator SMITH shared in Colonel BURR's obloquy, simply, it would appear, from the hospitality tendered by him to BURR during the latter's visit to Cincinnati, and his firm expression of belief that BURR's projects involved nothing treasonable or injurious to the country.
Mr. Dunlevy says in his History:
A few individuals of very bad character, at Cincinnati, who had themselves been intimate with BURR, and several of whom, it was believed, had been fully committed to his plans, when the clamor became great withdrew their familiarity with BURR, and, to screen themselves, joined in accusing SMITH of connection with him. Party political strife at that time ran high, and at Cincinnati a secret organization was formed, and oaths of inviolable privacy were taken. The crimination of Senator SMITH originated with the secret society. Its members were the principal witnesses against him, and refused on his trial to answer any questions except such as they pleased, and as they supposed, no doubt, would afford evidence against him.
A bill of indictment was actually found against him, though abandoned without trial. He was put upon trial in the Senate, however, and though vindicated, it was by a majority so meagre that he felt virtually condemned, and resigned his seat. The expenses of his defence were so great, and the pressure of his creditors so persistent, that he was compelled to part with all his property here, and in 1808 retired to an obscure locality in Louisiana, where he owned a tract of land, and where he thenceforth lived until his death, in 1824.
Other early pastors of the Columbia church were: Elder Peter SMITH, from Georgia, 1800-4; William JONES, at Duck creek, 1805-14; John CLARK, at Duck creek, 1814-16; and James LYON, who was still living in 1857.
A notable revival occurred under the ministry of the first named, in the spring of 1801, in which nearly one hundred and fifty persons were baptized and admitted to the church, among them several, as James LYNN, afterwards pastor of the same church, Ezra FERRIS and Hezekiah STITES,who themselves became useful preachers of the gospel. Later in its history others of its young men have gone out to different parts of the country in similar service.
In 1808 the meeting-place of the membership in this church was removed from Columbia to a more central point two miles north, where it took the name of the Duck Creek church, which it has since borne.
September 23, 1797, the first ecclesiastical gathering of importance
in the Miami country took place with this church, in Columbia, to form
an association of Baptist churches. It was composed mainly of ministers
and delegated laymen from the societies at Columbia, Little Miami
Carpenter's run and Clear creek, though two ministers were present from
Kentucky. Elder John SMITH was elected moderator and David SNODGRASS,
After consultation it was resolved "that the churches in this Northwest
Territory, and those adjacent, of the Baptist order, should meet at the
Baptist meeting-house in Columbia, on the first Saturday of November
At that meeting further arrangements were made to form the Miami
which was fully constituted at a meeting held with the Island church
20, 1798, still another meeting having been held meanwhile in June,
at Columbia. Such bodies moved slowly in those days.
A Methodist Episcopal class was formed at Columbia in 1799, by the
John KOBLER, the pioneer at Methodism in this region, and Francis
who lived near the mouth of the East fork of the Little Miami, and died
near Mount Washington in 1836.
The Columbia Congregational church was organized December 22, 1867,
with twenty-nine members. For some time divine worship was regularly
at the town hall, but in 1870 the present edifice was commenced and
It is a neat, frame building, with bell, costing about five thousand
The auditorium or main room has a seating capacity of two hundred and
while the room at the rear, which may be thrown open with the other,
comfortably seat sixty or seventy-five more. This is commonly used for
the infant department of the Sabbath school, and for prayer meetings.
church has a pipe-organ, which has a distinct and peculiar history: It
was obtained and given to the church by Mrs. H. P. B. JEWETT, who now
in New York city. In the death of
The church has had five pastors, viz: Rev. J. W. PETERS, Rev. H. L. HOWARD, Rev. D. I. JONES, of Pleasant Ridge, Rev. R. M. THOMPSOM, of Mount Washington, and Rev. D. F. HARRIS, who has been pastor since the fall of 1876.
Like all suburban churches, this one labors under the disadvantages of a transient population. People are constantly coming and going, so that stability is almost out of the question. In the last few years the church has suffered on account of the removal of some of its most efficient members, notably Mr. O. W. NIXON, of the Inter-Ocean, Chicago, who was a few years ago the treasurer of Hamilton county. During the four years' pastorate of Rev. Mr. HARRIS, there have been fifty-seven additions to the church -- thirty-two by letter and twenty-five by profession. The present membership is one hundred and thirty-four. The ladies of the church and congregation have two missionary societies, the Home and the Foreign; while a third, in the interest of both, is carried on by the young people. Besides this work, the church regularly contributes her proportion, with sister churches of the Miami conference, toward the Oberlin ministerial fund. The church also contributes toward the support of the great missionary and benevolent societies, such as the American Board, the American Missionary association, the Home Missionary association, and the Congregational Union.
The first school in the county was opened in Columbia June 21, 1790, by John REILY, the settler before noticed. It was a six-months' subscription school, and appears to have been kept right through the warm season. The next year Francis DUNLEVY joined his pedagogic interests with Mr. REILEY's, the former taking the classical department, while the other taught the English studies. In 1793 REILY gave the school over altogether to DUNLEVY, and went to settle in the Mill Creek valley, seven miles from Cincinnati. The system of "boarding round" must have existed in his time of teaching in Columbia, since he records in his journal: "In the month of August boarded twelve days with Mr. Patrick MOORE; in the month of September boarded twelve days with Hugh DUNN; and in the month of December boarded with John McCULLOCH six days." He must have had a school-building put up for him, as Dr. GOFROTH's diary names "REILEY's schoolhouse" as a certain place of meeting. If so, this was the first temple of learning in the Miami country.
A little more than eight years after the settlement of Columbia, it entertained a distinguished visitor in the person of a young Englishman named Francis BAILY, afterwards an "F. R. S."' and president of the Royal Astronomical society. The following extracts are from his journal of a tour, which was not published until 1856, and then appeared as an appendix to a memoir of BAILY, by the late Sir John HERSCHEL:
After breakfast we went ashore to view the town, and H. introduced me to Mr. [Rev. John] SMITH and Dr. BEAN. The former gentleman is a man of very good property, which he has acquired in several different ways in this place: he is a farmer, a merchant, and a parson; all these occupations, though seemingly so different, he carries on with the greatest regularity and without confusion. The latter is a man of good education and practices physic here, somewhat in the same manner as our country apothecaries in England do, for which he is dubbed doctor. As those gentlemen rank with the first in the place, a description of their habitations, manners, and society will serve, without any great variation, for that of the bulk of emigrants in a similar state of life.
As Dr. BEAN would insist upon our sleeping at his house, and in fact stopping with him during our residence here we accompanied him home. His house was built of logs, as all the houses in these new settlements are, and consisted of a ground floor containing two rooms, one of which was appropriated to lumber, the other served all the purposes of parlor, bed-room, shop, and everything else (though there was a little outhouse where they occasionally cooked their victuals and also washed), and it did not appear as if it had been cleaned out this half-year. There were two windows to throw light into the room, but there had been so many of the panes of glass broken, whose places were supplied by old hats and pieces of paper, that it was very little benefitted by the kind intention of the architect. I saw a few phials and gallipots on a shelf in one corner of the room, and near them a few books of different descriptions. . . Such is the force of example that very few of the emigrants who come into this kind of half-savage, half-civilized, state of life, however neat and cleanly they might have been before, can have resolution to prevent themselves from falling into that slovenly practice which everywhere surrounds them; and it is not till the first class of settlers are moved off, that any of these new countries are at all desirable to a person brought up in different habits of life.
At dinner-table I observed a table prepared in the middle of the room, with some knives and forks and pewter plates placed on it, but without any table-cloth; and when the dinner was ready, two of his servants who were working out in the field were called in, and sat down at the same table and partook of the same provisions as ourselves.
Our provisions consisted of some stewed pork and some beef, together with some wild sort of vegetable which had been gathered out in the woods, as it must be observed that in all these new settlements fresh provisions, both m meat and vegetables, are at some seasons very scarce, particularly at the time we were there. The inhabitants live a great deal upon deer and turkeys, which they shoot wild in the woods, and upon bacon, which they keep by them in case of need, and as to vegetables, they are seldom to be procured, except in summer. The bread which is made here is chiefly of Indian meal; it is a coarse kind of fare, but after a little use becomes not all unpleasant.
When the time drew nigh for us to retire to rest, we were shown to one corner of the room where there was a ladder, up which we mounted into a dismal kind of a place without a window, but instead of these there were a number of crevices between the logs, which had never been filled up, and in the room there were three beds, or rather three bedsteads, with a few blankets thrown over them.
I went to breakfast with Mr. SMITH, and here I found things a little more in order, though far from that degree of refinement and comfort to be met with in the more civilized parts of this country. This house bore the marks of industry and cleanliness, and we were regaled with tea and coffee and boiled chicken for our breakfast, attended with buckwheat cakes, which are common in this part of the country.
The farm of this gentleman consists of several acres
land adjoining his house, which he keeps in high cultivation -- chiefly
meadow ground -- and from which he has realized a great deal of money.
His warehouse was near the water side. It consisted of but one room,
he brings down the river such articles of European manufacture as are
in demand. There are but two or three other stores of the same kind in
Columbia. The profits of this trade are generally one hundred per
and sufficiently compensate the trade for the trouble of a journey once
or twice a year to Philadelphia.
Some lots in Columbia sold lately for thirty dollars.
That inveterate romancer, Thomas ASHE, who afterwards made away with Dr. GOFORTH's admirable collection of fossil remains, passed Columbia on his way to Cincinnati in 1807, and made the following note in his book:
Just below the junction of this stream [the Little Miami] with the Ohio is the town of Columbia, which rose out of the woods a few years ago with great rapidity and promise, and now is on the decline, being sickly and subject to insulation, when the waters of the Miami are backed up the country by the rise of the Ohio in the spring, the current of the Ohio being so impetuous as to binder the Miami from flowing into the stream. [!]
A topographical description of the State of Ohio, Indiana Territory, and Louisiana, by J. CUTLER, published in 1810, gives a paragraph to Columbia:
Immediately below the mouth of the Little Miami is the town of Columbia. It was laid out by Colonel SYMMES, and is the oldest settlement in the State, on the Ohio river, except Marietta, but has increased very little in the number of its inhabitants. At present it is only a neat, pleasant village, consisting of about forty houses, built at some distance from each other, on a rich bottom or interval. Nor is it probable, from its situation, that it will ever become a place of much business.
In 1819 Columbia is noticed m the Ohio State Gazetteer as "a post town of Hamilton county, six miles east-wardly from Cincinnati. It is situated on the north bank of the Ohio river, one mile below the mouth of the little Miami, and contains about fifty houses."
The first marriages in Columbia, as reported under the law of the court of general quarter sessions of the peace, are believed to have been those of Captain James FLINN and Jane NEWELL, June 27, 1790, and of Bethuel COVALT and Rachel BLACKFORD, December 29, 1790.
Columbia village was regularly incorporated in 1868. By the last
taken before its annexation to Cincinnati, that of 1870, it had a
of one thousand one hundred and sixty-five. It was taken into the city
in 1873. Among its mayors have been -- J. L. THOMPSON, 1869; W. J. M.
1870; Benneville KLINE, 1872-4.
This place has a large site -- one thousand three hundred and fifteen acres, or over two square miles -- comprising four hundred and forty-six acres more than all the rest of Spencer township. It is situated in the northeast part of the township, on the hills west of the Little Miami railroad, and southwest of the observatory at Mount Lookout. It was founded in 1848 for L. A. CHAPMAN, by Israel WILSON, and has been greatly enlarged and otherwise improved since by the operations of the Linwood Land company. January 16, 1874, the village was incorporated, for general purposes, and its mayor that year was Mr. John P. LANGDON.
It is mainly a place for suburban residence, with Methodist, Congregational and Baptist churches, and a good graded school; but a beginning of manufacturing has been made with a hame-factory, etc. It has a population of seven hundred and twenty-two by the census of 1880.
Linwood station is half a mile south of the main part of Linwood, at the junction of the Union Bridge and Wooster turnpikes, and on the Little Miami railroad. A considerable settlement has also been made here. The fine Undercliff road passes through it.
James L. LANGDON settled in Columbia township in 1806. He was born
Orange county, Vermont, in 1792, and emigrated to Ohio, where he still
lives. He has followed the business of farming on the Miami bottoms. At
times also he has served as a Methodist preacher. His wife, Sarah
was born in Maine in 1799, and died in 1863. They have three children
in this county: John P.; Elam C., a resident of Linwood; and Mrs.
WILLIAMS, of Springfield. Mr. LANGDON is one of the oldest men living
Columbia township; he is eighty-eight years old, has lived a life that
commands the respect of all who know him, and his two sons are worthy
A village on the Madison pike, now included in the First ward of the
city, at the northwest corner of the old Spencer township. It was laid
out in 1875 by SCARBOROUGH & WILLIAMS, executors of the will of
Also an old village, but more considerable, lying between the hills
and the river, from Fulton to Sportsman's Hall or the East End garden.
The Delta station, on the Little Miami railroad, and the termini of the
Columbia and Mount Lookout dummy railroads, are at the latter point.
This is a notable track of about one and a half square miles,
the Little Miami river and Columbia. It was found by the first settlers
already cleared, for the most part, by the long cultivation of the
and very likely also of the Mound Builders; but still exceedingly
From nine acres of it planted by Judge GOFORTH during the first season
of white occupancy, nine
In the matter of the fertility of the Columbia region, an extravagant local item in the Western Spy and Hamilton Gazette for September 11, 1802, with quotation here:
There is in the garden of Colonel John ARMSTRONG, of
a peach-tree on which there is fruit nearly as big as a half-bushel,
would weigh, it is supposed, from twenty to twenty-five pounds.
Spencer township -- the little tract now lying outside the city -- had nine hundred and ninety-five inhabitants by the census of June, 1880. And yet it had as the larger township, a population of two thousand five hundred and forty-three in 1880.
1 For the accuracy of this list, as well as for many other facts embraced in this narrative, we confidently rely upon the statement of the Rev. EZRA FERRIS, D. D., long of Columbia, afterwards of Lawrenceburgh, as embodied in his communication to the Cincinnati Daily Gazette, date of July 20, 1844.
2 Cist's foot-note: "This seems an unaccountable mistake. The flood of 1832 was but 64 feet above low water, and the highest flood ever known at the settlement of the country was but 12 feet higher."
3 Another mistake, as will appear hereafter.
4 Mr. DUNLEVY, in his History of the Miami Baptist Association, says of the first Columbia colony: "Among this little band of some twenty-five persons, there were six Baptists. There names were Benjamin STITES, John S. GANO, Thomas C. WADE, Greenbright BAILY, Mrs. BAILY his wife, and Edmund BUXTON."
5 McBride's Pioneer Biography, volume II, p. 93.
6 History of the Miami Baptist Association
On this occasion, as another account states, Colonel Spencer addressed
the people again, advising them to close the meeting and go home and
for defence; which they obediently did. See McBride's Pioneer
Volume II, page 186.
©2005 by Linda Boorom