A History and Biographical Cyclopaedia of Butler County, Ohio
HAMILTON: Pages 287 - 291
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Previous to the year 1801, all the land on the west side of the Great Miami River was owned by the United States, consequently no improvements were made on that side of the river, except by a few squatters who had settled on the public lands. There was one log house built, at an early period, on the west side of the river opposite to the fort, near where the west end of the bridge now is. It is on the corner, and is the same house which has since been weatherboarded. A tavern was first kept in it by Archibald TALBERT.

On the first Monday of April, 1801, the first sales of the public lands, lying west of the Great Miami River, were held in Cincinnati, under the authority of the United States, at which sale a company, composed of Jacob BURNET, James SMITH, William RUFFIN, John SUTHERLAND, and Henry BROWN, purchased section No. 36, town 4, range 2, and fractional sections Nos. 31 and 32, town 2, range 3, lying on the west side of the Miami River, opposite to the town of Hamilton, on part of which tract they afterwards laid out the town of Rossville, the plat of which bears date on the fourteenth day of March, 1804. It was named after James ROSS, of Pittsburg. The town then laid out consisted of one hundred inlots, five poles wide by ten poles deep; twelve fractional lots, next the river, five poles square, and twenty outlots, most of them containing four acres each. The inlots 53 and 58 were given by the proprietors to the county of Butler for public uses, and the ground lying between Water Street and the river was given for a public common, to be kept open for ever. The fractional outlet No. 20 was given for a burying-ground.

On the fourteenth day of March, 1804, the proprietor had a public sale on the ground, at which the lots were offered at auction, and a considerable number of them sold at fair prices.

Encouraged by the success of the first sale of lots, the proprietors proceeded to lay out an additional number of outlots, adjoining on the south-west of the former ones, beginning at outlot No. 21 and extending to outlot No. 38, inclusive. The plans of these additional outlots were not placed on record at the time, nor have they since been recorded anywhere, but appear on an old map of the town which has the plan of those additional outlots, laid out at that time, upon it, made by John REILY, of Hamilton, and formerly in his possession. Mr. REILY was the general agent for the proprieors, who laid out the town and superintended the sale of lots for them.

On the sixteenth day of May, 1804, a second sale of lots in the town of Rossville, including the addional outlots laid out since the first sale, was held, at which a considerable number were sold. The additional outlots were all sold at prices from twenty-five to twenty-eight dollars each. Several buildings were soon afterwards erected, and the town began to grow.

On the eleventh day of November, 1818, John SUTHERLAND and Samuel DICK, who had then become the proprietors of the unappropriated ground adjoining Rossville on the north, laid out an additional number of inlots in the upper part of the town, which are numbered from No. 101 to No. 112, inclusive, and also three outlots on the north of the burying-ground (now the park), Nos. 39, 40, 41, and 42.

The original outlots numbered 9 and 10, in the north-west part of the town, were subdivided and laid out into building lots by Robert B. MILLIKIN and William TAYLOR, on the twenty-eighth day of April, 1831. They are numbered from No. 113 to No. 140, inclusive.


John SUTHERLAND, the earliest merchant of Hamilton, was a native of Caithnesshire, Scotland, where he was born in 1771. His father was a farmer, and Mr. SUTHERLAND was brought up to the same calling. In 1788 he determined to come to the United States, and, on his arrival here, settled in the western part of Virginia. In 1793 he came to Ohio, and acted as a captain of pack-horse, engaged in transmitting stores from Cincinnati to the military posts in the interior. Robert BENHAM was in charge of the pack-horses, and was assisted by several other, among them Mr. SUTHERLAND. Each ahd the care of about forty horses. Afterwards he held a position in the commissariat department. When peace was concluded, he settled in Hamilton, opening a store on Front Street. Here he did a large business with the Indians, who came in frtom the surrounding country to exchange furs for the articles of the white men. The business was very profitable, and he soon became easy in his sircumstances. As they moved away from this neighborhood, he employed persons whom he supplied with goods to go to their towns and trade with them. Some years afterwards Mr. SUTHERLAND also dealt largely in beef cattle, which he purchased in the lower end of this valley, and drove north to Detroit. Soon after coming here he formed a partnership with Henry BROWN, under the firm name of Sutherland & Brown; after a time also establishing a store in Dayton, which was continued until they dissolved partnership in 1810. About 1813, Mr. SUTHERLAND entered into partnership with James P. RAMSEY, and did business under the firm name of Sutherland & Ramsey until 1820. His store was at first in a double log building across the alley which runs east and west behind the United Presbyterian Church, and then it was removed to Front Street, between Stable and Dayton, where he built a house on Lot 120; and he subsequently built the house at the north-east corner of Front and High Streets, now owned by the family.

The result of his economy, care, and sedulous attention to his good name soon gave Mr. SUTHERLAND unlimited credit, and his profits accumulated until he became the wealthiest man in the county, and one of the wealthiest in the State. He was liberal in his dealings and trusted much, but in course of time lost a great deal of money by bad debts. In 1818, and in some succeeding years, he was largely in the pork and flour treade, and made heavy shipments to New Orleans. The times were unpropitious, and he lost heavily. He had also become an indorser to large amouts for his friends, and, these coming back to him, embarrased him. He finally suspended business, and in the end he found it required the greater portion of his acquired wealth to pay off the indebtedness thus forced upon him. However, a sufficient amount to make his family comfortable was saved from the wreck.

He was a man of unbounded charity and benevolence. He gave away much, and he assisted those who were weaker than himself to help themselves. He was a friend to every one who deserved it. He was a regular attendant of the Associate Reformed Church, although not a member, and gave of his means liberally to it, being a trustee at one time. He was a very hospitable man, and was never more pleased than when entertaining company. At his house ministers, and especially thos of the Scotch Churches, were always sure of a hearty welcome.

He died on the 9th of September, 1834. He had been three times married. His first wife was Miss Mary SCOTT, of Fayette County, Kentucky, and his second Miss Mary STEELE, of Kentucky. To the latter was bonr Alexander, who died soon after reaching maturity. In May, 1810, he married Nancy RAMSEY, daughter of James RAMSEY, of Ligonier, Pennsylvania, who was born on the 6th of November, 1787. She was one of the original members of the Associate Reformed congregation on its being formed in 1817, and remained a worthy and respected member of it all her life. Her temper was most cheerful and even, and she appeared to advantage everywhere. No gossip or scandal was encouraged by her, and she loved the company of pious people. She died March 21, 1855. She had born eight children, two sons and six daughters. Elizabeth St. Clair SUTHERLAND died unmarried. James R. died in Jun, 1834, at the age of twenty-two. Mary A. married Carter B. HARRISON, a son of President William Henry HARRISON. Carter B. HARRISON died in Hamilton, the 12th of August, 1839, leaving his wife a widow with one daughter, Anna C., who married David W. McCLUNG, now a surveyor of the port of Cincinnati. Sarah married Nathaniel REEDER, dying in 1863. Three of her children, Nathaniel, John, and James, are now living, and two died in infancy. John SUTHERLAND, another brother, is still living. Jane, Isabella, and Nancy, the three youngest children, reside in the old homestead. Isabella is married to Dr. J.S. McNEELEY, and has one son, Joseph Sutherland McNEELEY.


<--not indexed-- > The original lots laid off in Hamilton measured 6 by 12 poles, 100 by 200 feet; eight such lots generally forming a block 400 feet square. A comparison between the prices Mr. LUDLOW or his immediate purchasers for these lots and their present value may not prove uninteresting reading.

Take the square embracing Lots 99, 100, 101 and 102, bounded by High, Third, Basin and Second Streets, now one of the most valuable block in town. The records show the following first sales:

Israel LUDLOW's administrators sold to John REILY, on July 18, 1806, Lot 99, for $50; Lot 100, for $25.50; and Lot 101, for $20.

Samuel DICK sold to John REILY, July 18, 1806, Lot 102 for $28. The total for the block was $123.50.

Colonel CAMPBELL still resides on part of Lot 99. The half block, bounded by Reily, Basin, Second and High Streets, is held by Mrs. CAMPBELL, who inherited it from her father, John Reily, and her title deeds are probably the oldest of any resident of the city.

In the square bounded by Dayton, Second, Heaton, and Third, the only lots in this block that have not been subdivided are those now owned by St. Stephen's Church, Ezra POTTER, and Calvin SKINNER. Mr. POTTER's lots (153 and 154) fronting 200 feet on Dayton and Third, were bought by John S. GORDON from David GANO, July 28, 1835 for $225.

Lot 151, corner of High and Second, was sold by LUDLOW to Michael McNAMEE, together with Lot 18 June 22, 1795, for $28. On September 14, 1805, Michael LAFFERTY became the purchaser of Lots 151 and 152 (fronting 200 feet Dayton by 200 on Second) from Samuel ENYART for $55. On February 22, 1830, James McBRIDE sold these two lots to the St. Stephen society for $400. These four lots make the south half of the block.

Lot 165, extending from James NEAL's corner south on Second 200 feet to St. Stephen's property, and east on Heaton 100 feet was sold by LUDLOW to Rebecca F. RANDOLF, on October 2, 1795, for $2.

Lot 166, east of NEAL's fronting 100 on Heaton by 200 deep was sold by LUDLOW at the same time and same price to Sarah F. RANDOLF.

Lots 167 and 168, fronting 200 feet on Heaton and 200 on Third to Potter's Alley, were sold with fifteen othe rlots to Daniel GANO by LUDLOW, July 13, 1827, for $700, and GANO sold the lots, 167 and 168, July 25, 1855 to John M. MILLIKIN and William BEBB for $550.

Fenton LAWSON and other sold Lots 167 and 168 to W.H. BARTLETT, December 11, 1841, for $700 and on February 18, 1844, Calvin SKINNER bought the south halves of the lots, 200 feet front on Third by 200 deep, his present residence, from J.B. McFARLAND for $400.

Lot 103 comprises the entire strip of ground on the east side of Third Street from High to Basin, extending back to Smith Street,--72 square poles. This property was sold by John BROWN to John SUTHERLAND, June 18, 1800, for $30.

Lots 111 and 112, with BECKET's block and Dr. FALCONER's residence on their front, extend back to the Hydraulic, and together have a front of 200 feet on High Street. LUDLOW sold both these lots to Eleanor MOORE, May, 1804, for $62--$42 for 111, and $20 for Lot 112. LUDLOW obtained possession of the lots again, and his heirs sold to John WOODS, March, 1832, all of Lot 112, FALCONER's and BECKETT's Hall in part, and 34 feet of the south, High Street end of Lot 111 for $500. April 17, 1835, WOODS bought of James S. GREEN 66 feet more of the south half of Lot 111 for $675; he thus has the entire front from the corner of Second to Falconer's Alley for $1,175.

Starting from the Hamilton House corner, Lot 110, and going west, we find that LUDLOW sold 50 feet of the east end of the lot (Hamilton House) to James McBRIDE July 24, 1812, for $157, and at the same time the west 50 feet to Thomas C. KELSEY for $126. The next lot on High (109) was sold by LUDLOW's administrators; the east half to KELSEY, March 1, 1813 for $150, and the west half to Samuel MORRISON for $159.50. Subsequently, April 1, 1835, Dr. HITTEL bought the west half of James YOUNG for $2,000.

The SUTHERLAND Corner, Lot 107, fronting 200 on High, extending from the west line of Lot 109 to Front street, and 100 on Front Street was sold by LUDLOW to John SUTHERLAND in 1803, deed made March 1, 1813 for $30. The lot next north on Front Street (108) fronting 100 on Front and running 200 deep on Stable was also bought by SUTHERLAND March 1, 1813, for $154. C. MORGANTHALER bought 50 by 100 feet of this lot October 19, 1849, paying $700.

These figures made the value of the entire block between High Street and the Hydraulic, Second and Front, $770.50.

Lot 173, the residence of Dr. HOWELLS, stands on the south-west corner of Front and Buckeye—200 feet on Buckeye by 100 on Front. Lots 174 and 173, extending the entire front on Front Street between Heaton and Buckeye were sold by LUDLOW to Benjamin F. RANDOLF October 2, 1795, for $40. March 10, 1845, Samuel SNIVELY sold Lot 173 to Joseph HOWELLS for $600. On March 14, 1845, Dr. H.C. HOWELLS bought 50 by 100 feel off of the east end (on Buckeye Street) of the lot paying $100. August 15, 1848, the doctor bought an additional 50 feet next west of his first purchase, paying $350. He now owned half of the lot. On September 14, 1849, he bought the remaining 100 feet front on Buckeye, on which his residence stands, paying $2,000. Sot the lot that cost Joseph HOWELLS $600 in 1845 had Dr. HOWELLS, including buildings, $2,450.

The lots originally laid out in the First Ward were 5x10 poles—82-1/2x166 feet; fractional lots, 82-1/2x82-1/2 feet.

The STRAUB House lot, No. 1493, 87-1/2x87-1/2 feet, was sold by Sutherland & Brown to James MILLS, June 19, 1809, for $16. The stable lot, same size in the rear, was sold at the same by Sutherland & Brown to Thomas McCOLLOUGH, for $10.50.

Lot 1540 extends from the west line of the STRAUB lot to the corner of Main and Front, and is 82-1/2 feet deep. John SUTHERLAND sold this lot to Kelsey & Smith, April 16, 1813, for $49.

The entire block, extending from Odd Fellows Hall to the river, and south on Front and Water to the alley was sold by John SUTHERLAND to John HALL, June 5, 1813, for $1,200.

The four lots, 1523, 1528, 1533, and 1538, extending on Second Street, east side, from Boudinot to Main, were sold by Sutherland & Brown to Robert and John TAYLOR, June 19, 1809, for $66.40.

Beeler's drug store stands on the south-east corner of lot 1539, and fronts 185 on Main. Lot 1532 lies behind it, is of the same size and extends on Front to the John Brown's Alley.

Sutherland & Brown sold the BEELER lot to Samuel DICK for $28.50, January 15, 1810 and the other lot to Samuel ALSTON, June 19, 1809, for $23.25.

Doctor MILLER's drug store stand on the north-east corner of Lot 1542. This lot fronts 185 feet on Main by 85-1/2 on Front. Sutherland & Brown sold this lot to Samuel SCOTT for $21, June 19, 1809, and on January 17, 1814, Isaac FALCONER became the purchaser, for $100.

On June 19, 1809, Sutherland & Brown sold Samuel DICK nine lots for $10. One of these lots was 1543, on the south side of Main, extending from the corner of Second to the alley, going east; another was Lot 1552, where Doctor SCOBEY's residence stands; two others, 1544 and 1547, behind it make a front of 165 feet on the north-east corner of Main and Second.

Lots 1562 and 1563 extend on Ross Street, south side, between Front and Second. Mrs. MATTHIAS lives on part of 1562, and P.C. CONKLING, Mr. BECK, and Daniel SHAFFER on Lot 1563. Sutherland & Brown sold Lot 1562 to Ethan STONE, June 19,1809, for $55, and William CORRY sold lot 1563 to John REILY, July 16, 1813, for $400.

The school-house lot opposite (Lots 1553 and 1558) were sold by the Presbyterian Church to directors of school district No. 2, St. Clair township, August 9, 1851, for $500.

Lot 1559, northwest corner of Front and Ross, occupied in part by Daniel GALLOWAY, was sold by Sutherland & Brown to John REILY, June 19, 1809, for $50.

John Wingate

John WINGATE was one of the earliest settlers in Hamilton. He was here almost as soon as the clash of arms ended, and remained here through our infancy as a town, although afterwards going away to other places. He was born in the State of New York in the year 1774, and in his youth learned the trade of stonemason. Soon after the date of St. Clair's defeat, Mr. WINGATE came to the Western country with the army commanded by General WAYNE. He was a sergeant in VAN RENSSELAER's cavalry, in the battle of Fallen Timber's, when WAYNE gained a complete victory over the savages. He behaved with bravery on this occasion and his deeds were long remembered by his associates in arms. His brother was slain by his side in that action. After the disbandment of the army, Mr. WINGATE came to Fort Hamilton, where he settled, marrying Miss Mary DILLON, who was the daughter of one of the earliest pioneers. She died in a few years, leaving him with two children. Soon after coming here he opened a store on Front Street, in a log building, situated on the west side of the street, on the lot now occupied by St. Mary's Catholic Church. In 1806 he gave up business, and the store was rented to the HOUGH Brothers of whom the survivor, Joseph HOUGH, was long an ornament of Hamilton. In October, 1807, he was elected sheriff of the county, serving for two years, and being preceded and followed by Mr. William McCLELLAN. On the 24th of May, 1809, Mr. WINGATE was married to Mrs. Emma TORRENCE, widow of John TORRENCE, then lately deceased. She was a lady of great worth, and highly esteemed for her many amiable and excellent traits of character. She was a daughter of Captain Robert BENHAM, and sister of Joseph S. BENHAM, the distinguished lawyer. Mr. WINGATE was elected about 1810 a brigadier general of the Ohio militia, and the year 1813 again went out to the war, serving six months in that capacity.

After his marriage with Mrs. TORRENCE, in 1809, he kept an inn for the accomodation of travelers, on the corner of Dayton and Water Streets, the stand that had been previously occupied by John TORRENCE. In 1816 he removed to Cincinnati, where for some years he kept the old Cincinnati Hotel, on Front Street between Sycamore and Broadway, and after a time removed to Big Bone Lick, Kentucky, where he kept a house of entertainment for several years, finally removing further West. He returned during the last weeks of 1851, and took up his abode with John BURKE, Jr., near Symmes Corner, whose father, when an unprotected boy, had found a friend and benefactor in him.

His death occurred only a few weeks later, on the 14th of April, 1851, when he had attained the age of seventy-seven years. His funeral was largely attended. It was held in the Methodist Episcopal Church in Hamilton, the discourse being pronounced by the Rev. Arthur W. ELLIOT, and the body being interred in Mr. ELLIOT's own lot in Greenwood Cemetery. After the service at the church had closed a funeral procession was formed, under the direction Lewis D. CAMPBELL. The funeral car was preceded by marital music; then followed a company of artillery with a brass field-piece, under the command of Captain Nathaniel REEDER; Major William P. YOUNG, bearing the national flag, appropriated trimmed; the mayors of Hamilton and Rossville; the clergy and pall-bearers. The body was followed by the friends of the deceased, the soldiers and a large train of citizens. As the procession entered the cemetery grounds, the artillery commenced firing minutes guns, which with the tolling of the bells in town, continued until the service at the grave was concluded. The whole formed a combination at once solemn and impressive.


In 1804 a post-office was established at Hamilton and on the second day of August in that year John REILY was appointed postmaster by Gideon GRANGER, then Postmaster-general. There was at that time only one mail route established through the interior of the Miami country. It was carried on horseback, once a week, leaving Cincinnati, and passing by Hamilton, Franklin, Dayton, and as far north as Stanton; thence to Urbana, Yellow Springs, and Lebanon, back to Cincinnati. In a year or two afterwards the route was reversed, so as to go out by the way of Lebanon and return by Hamilton. At that time all the people living north and west of Hamilton had to come to this post-office for their letters.

John REILY held the office of postmaster from the time of his appointment, in 1804, until July 1832, when he resigned and James B. THOMAS was appointed in his room.

James LOWES was appointed postmaster and entered on the duties of the office on the first day of April 1851. He resigned on the thirty-first day of January, 1853, and on the next day James K THOMAS, son of the former postmaster, who had been appointed, took possession of the office.

On the eighth day of August, 1853, L.M. FURROW, who had been appointed postmaster in the stead of James K. THOMAS, removed, took possession of the post-office, and entered upon the discharge of the duties of the office.

On the twenty-sixth day of April, 1855, the post-office in Rossville was discontinued, and the business transferred to the post-office in Hamilton.

The following are the dates of the appointment of the postmasters at Hamilton and Rossville:
Hamilton.—John REILY, August 2, 1804; John REILY, June 29 1818; James B. THOMAS, July 9, 1832; James LOWES, March 27 1851; James K. THOMAS, June 19, 1853; Lawrence M. FURROW, July 29, 1853; Jacob TROUTMAN, March 13, 1857; William H. BLAIR, April 23, 1861; William H. ROSSMAN, March 30, 1871; John McKEE, September 8, 1873, Charles E. GIFFEN, January 20, 1882.

Rossville. Joseph WILSON, November 24, 1819; Robert B. MILLIKIN, September 2, 1824; Jacob MATHIAS, September 21, 1836; Samuel G. SWEENEY, March 8, 1837; Samuel MILLIKIN, March 29, 1839; Levi RICHMOND, May 1, 1844; Joseph CURTIS, May 29, 1849; George LONGFELLOW, April 14, 1853; Robert HARGITT, December 10, 1853. Discontinued April 19, 1855.

Old Advertisements

In the Western Spy and Hamilton Gazette "published weekly at Cincinnati, Northwestern Territory by Carpenter & Findlay" are several interesting and curious advertisements. Among the list of letters remaining in the post-office at Cincinnati, the only post-office in the Territory, we find the following; "Charles BROWN, care of Samuel DICK; James CARTER, care of Paul HUESTON; James COLE, Big Miami; Patrick GRAHAM, Gregory's Creek; Abraham LAKES, Deerfield; David LEE, Big Miami; James McCLELLAN, near Hamilton; John Cleves SYMMES; Thomas ALSTON and Peter ATHERTON, below the Big Miami; David HENDRIX, near Hamilton; Jerome HOLT, Dayton; King DEARMOND; Daniel DOTY, Big Prairie; Zina DOTY; James McCLOSKEY, care of Samuel DICK; Reverend Richard McNEMAIR; Joseph McMAHAN, near Hamilton; Azarias THORN, near Hamilton; John Torrence, Hamilton; James WHITE, schoolmaster; James WATSON, near Hamilton; Anthony Williams, Deerfield.

Here is a Hamilton advertisement:
LAST NOTICE: We have every reason to return our warmest acknowledgment to those who have to give birth to and support our interest in trade, yet the delinquencies are numerous, which renders it inconvenient to visit their several dwellings. We therefore request those (in friendship) to call the places of contracting, viz: here or a Dayton, and settle up their accounts per contract. Such characters as may fail in so doing before the 10th of August next will be deemed as being pregnant with fraud and deceit, and may not expect further indulgence by

Hamilton, June 20, 1804.
N.B. We wish to purchase beef cattle delivered by the 10th of August next.
S. & B.