A History and Biographical Cyclopaedia of Butler County, Ohio
Lemon Township: Pages 627 - 632
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The original town plat of Middletown, laid out in 1802 by Stephen VAIL and James SUTTON, reads as follows: "The above town is laid out in the fractional section No. 28, in township and fourth range, between the Miami Rivers. Each lot is six poles one way, agreeably to the plan, except the lots Nos. 43, 46, 47, and 50, which are six poles square. The streets are each four poles wide. The course of those running from the river is south, sixty degrees east. Water and Main Streets cross the other at right angles. North Alley and South Alley are each two poles wide. East Alley and West Alley are each one pole wide. The alleys are parallel with the streets. The streets and alleys to be perpetually kept open for public use. The lots Nos. 10 and 11, which are colored green, are set aside for the public, to be appropriated to county purposes. First, Second, and Third Streets are always to be kept open to the river."

In 1816 the first addition was laid out, as follows: "In addition to Middletown, in the county of Butler, the subscribers have laid off fifty-seven lots, of the same dimensions of the whole lots in the old plat, excepting Lot 65, containing one hundred and fifty-six poles and four-fifths. Broad Street is five poles wide. What was called South Alley is made three poles wide and called Fourth Street, and the one south of it three poles wide and called Fifth Street. What is called East Alley, in the old part of the town, between the lots on Broadway Street and Main Street, is continued at one pole wide and called Middle Alley; and the one east of the lots, on the east side of Broadway, is one pole wide and called East Alley. The streets and alleys are parallel with those of the old town plat, as recorded, and are to be opened at any time a majority of the subcribers may think necessary, as witness our hands this the twenty-seventh day of March, 1816. Broad Street is to be continued at each end thereof the same course until it intersects the county road to Franklin and the one south to Middletown, leading to Reading and thence to Cincinnati." This is signed by Hugh VAIL, Shobal VAIL, John CUMMINGS, Daniel DOTY, AND Abner ENOCH.

Among the first settlers of Middletown are names yet familiar--Ezekiel BALL, Daniel DOTY, Stephen VAIL, Garrett VAN VOST, Moses POTTER, and David ENOCH. All these except ENOCH were from New Jersy. He came about the year 1800, and settled on Section 23 and a fraction of 24, with his father. Abner ENOCH was one of the most remarkable men in this part of the country. He possessed natural abilities, was very energetic, and had an unusual tenacity of purpose. He engaged in manufacturing and farming. He built one of the first new mills ever on the Miamai River, which consisted of a saw-mill, grist-mill, and a woolen factory, and he also built a distillery. All these mills received water from the same race. Abner ENOCH married first a Miss PIPER, who died early. He then married her brother's widow. His first wife's father kept a hotel in Middletown, on the corner of Second and Main Streets. In the same house Mr. ENOCH had a store at the same time. The hotel and the store were about the first of the kind in the town.

Probably the first settler in Middletown was Daniel DOTY, one of the Western pioneers, who died on Monday, the eighth day of May, 1848, at his residence near Middletown, at the advanced age of eighty-three years. Daniel DOTY was one of the first settlers of Bulter County, and among the first pioneers of the Miamai country. He was born in Essex County, State of New Jersey, on the twenty-third day of March, 1765. His parents were respectable, honest people, in the humble walks of life, who were unable to give their children any education other than thta which could be acquired at a common country school. They, however, taught them their duty to their Creator and fellow-beings, and brought them up to havits of honest industry on which, with their own exertion, they had to depend to make their way through life.

Having heard of the fine fertile country then opening in the far West, Daniel formed the resolution of exploring it and judging for himself. Accordingly, on the tenth day of September, 1790, he left his home in the State of New Jersey and proceeded to Fort Pitt (now Pittsburg), from whence he descended the Ohio River to Columbia, six miles below Fort Washington, situated where Cincinnati now is. He landed at Cloumbia on the twenty-third day of October following. At that time there were but two hewed-log houses in the town. They stood near the bank of the Ohio River. One of them was occupied by Major Benjamin STITES, the other by John S. GANO. GANO was captain of the militia, and Ephraim KIBBY was lieutenant. The company consisted of about seventy men, good and true, who were willing to risk their lives for the defense of the country.

At that time General HARMAR was commander-in-chief of the military forces of the country, and John Cleves SYMMES, the porprietor of the Miami country, was chief magistrate and head of the civil department. At the time Daniel DOTY landed at Columbia, General HARMAR was out on his expedition against the Indians, and returned to Fort Washington with his army about ten days afterward. A number of his men were wounded, among whom were George ADAMS and Thomas BAILEY. During the years 1791 and 1792 the country was in an almost continual state of alarm on account of the Indians. Three men were killed and scalped by the Indians near Covalt's Station, on the Little Miami River, about ten miles from Columbia. Their names were COVALT, HINKLE, AND Abel COOK. Daniel DOTY and some others went from Columbia to the relief of the station and guarded the graves while the dead were buried.

In the latter part of December, 1790, the Indians made an attack on the fort at Colerain, eight miles from Fort Hamilton, killed were two men and took some horses and cattle. An express was sent to Columbia, and the company to which Mr. DOTY belonged got ready immediately and started on the run. When they got over to Fort Washington, the commandant of the fort ordered Lieutenant KINGSBURY and twelve private soldiers to join them. That evening they marched four miles and encamped on Mill Creek until next morning, when they continued their march to Colerain, but upon reaching the place found the enemy gone. About two weeks after this the fort was attacked by a large body of Indians, supposed to consist of three hundred or four hundred warriors, and who invested it closely for three or four days, then withdrawing without doing much injury.

Mr. DOTY was instrumentral in bringing the second minister of the Gospel into the Miami country. The first preacher was the Rev. Daniel CLARK, a licensed minister of the Baptist profession, who came from Pennsylvania in the Spring of 1791. The second preacher who came was the Rev. James KEMPER. He lived near Danville, Kentucky. Daniel DOTY and a man named FRENCH were chosen by the people to go and bring him and his family to the country. They proceeded on their way with rifles primed, their only road being a bridle-path for sixty miles, sleeping in the woods at night. This was in the Spring of 1792.

On the 24th of April, 1792, Mr. Doty returned to New Jersey by the way of New Orleans, coming back in 1795, and in the Spring of 1796, with his wife and children, came to Middletown, where he commenced a settlement on a tract of land, where he spent the remaining portion of his life. He built his cabin near the Great Miami River, about one mile below where the town now is. When his cabin was raised and inclosed, he lad no table, chairs, bedstead, nor any boards of which to make them. He cut down timber, and split puncheons and clapboards, and made his floors out of the puncheons and doors out of the clapboards. A table was made of a slab split from the tree and supported by four round legs set in auger holes. Some three-legged stools were made for seas, and a bedstead was constructed out of saplings, with a fork or limb of proper height from the bottom of the bed; the lower and upper end fastened to a joist above; in the fork or limb was placed a round pole, with the bark on, the other end being placed through a crack between the logs in the wall. This front pole was crossed by a shorter one laid within the fork, with its outer end through another crack in the wall. Clapboards were now laid with one end on the front pole and the other end in the crack of the wall, for the bottom of the bed. He also constructed a rude cupboard out of clapboards, in which were kept their pewter dishes, plates, and spoons, but mostly wooden bowls, trenchers, and noggins, using gourds and hard-shelled squashes when gourds were scarce. Pegs were inserted in various places on the wall, on which to hang petticoats and hunting-shirts. The buck-horns were fastened to a joist, for the rifle and shot-pouch, which completed the carpenter work of the building. For the accommodation of the babies, Mr. Doty cut down a large sycamore tree, out of which was constructed a cradle.

There were a few settlers in the neighborhood at the time Mr. Doty commenced his improvement, but no crops had been raised, and he went to Cincinnati the first year to buy provisions to support his family. Corn meal was worth one dollar a bushel, which was bought, packed home on horseback, and baked into johnny-cakes on a clapboard before the fire. This was their only bread. Wild game was plenty. Deer, bears, and turkeys were killed when needed.

In the Summer of 1796, while Mr. Doty was on his way to meeting, Sunday night, he heard his dog bark, crossing the cornfield. It was barking at a wildcat on the fence. On Mr. Doty speaking to the dog, the cat turned round and jumped off the fence towards him, and he ran toward the cat. The corn being thick and high, he lost sight of both dog and cat, but soon heard the dog cry out, when Doty went in that direction, and met the cat, and the dog walking behind him. Doty went straight toward the cat, and when the cat turned round to seize the dog, he kicked the cat over, caught him by the hind leg, and placing his left foot on his breast, pressed him with all his weight upon the ground until he was dead. Mr. Doty had killed a number of wild-cats, but thought this one ws the largest he had ever taken hold of.

Mr. Doty had three encounters also with bears, in all three of which he was successful. In one instance, during the struggle the bear cough hold of him by each of his shoulders with the claws of in forefeet, when he struck it down by a blow of his fist in the bear's throat. Another time he split open a bear's head with an ax, and at another time killed a bear with a club, knocking it down first, then following up the blows until it was killed. This last encounter took place more the twenty miles from any house, and while he was on his way to New Jersey.

Daniel Doty was the first collector of taxes in this part of the country. His district was twelve miles wide from north to south, comprising two ranges of townships extending from the Great Miami to the Little Miami, comprehending the sites where the towns of Franklin and Waynesville are, and the immediate country. The whole amount of tax contained on his duplicate was two hundred and forty-four dollars. He collected it all and paid it over to Jacob BURNETT, the treasurer, at Cincinnati. In discharging his duties he must have ridden near a thousand miles. HE became a man of wealth and of influence. For several years before his death he himself paid a tax of one hundred and thirty-four dollars per year. He and his wife Betsey lived together on their farm near Middletown, fifty-two years, and raised a family of ten children, and before he died he lived to see the railroad take the place of the Indian trail, and comfortable brick buildings that of the wigwam and the rude cabin.

Moses POTTER came in 1796, with his family, and settled first in Cincinnati. The next Spring after the departure of the Indians, he moved near Middletown, settling where Henry REED now lives. He remained in that locality only a few months. Thence he moved two miles and a half east on a rented farm, where he stayed one year, and then to the farm occupied by Garrett DENISE, one mile and a half east of the town, where he died three years after. He bought a half section of land where he last settled, and here built a double cabin. His family consisted of two children prior to his coming to Ohio. Their names were Levi and Sarah. Jane was born April 2, 1797, being the first white child born in Middletown; he also had Amos and Johathan HOEL. All the children are now dead. Jane POTTER married John SUTPHIN, a weaver, from New Jersey. He was born in 1794, came to Ohio in 1811, and was engaged on the canal between Cincinnati and Middletown, lolding at first some minor position. Subsequently, for a continuous period of twenty-two years, he was superintendent on the canal, and again after a few years interval held the same position some time longer. He raised a family of twelve children, nine of whom are living. The family throughout is noted fro its morality and high standing.

Levi POTTER has three children living, John JOHNSTON, Mrs. Maria SILL, and Frances Marian. Amos POTTER has two children living, Mrs. Mary CRAMER, of Iowa, and Mrs. CRANE, of Middletown. Mr. Moses POTTER came from the same neighborhood that Daniel DOTY did in New Jersey, and was probably induced by Mr. DOTY to emigrate to the wilderness. He also had one brother, Russell POTTER, who came at the same time, but settled over the river, near where Trenton stands.

Stephen VAIL was a native of New Jersey, and came to Middletown in 1800. Two of his sons and a daughter arrived in Ohio the year before, and settled in Warren County, near Waynesville, temporarily. They were Shobal, Aaron, and Mary RUSSELL, the wife of George RUSSELL.

In September 1799, Shobal VAIL married Miss Mary BONNELL, daughter of parents who were also from New Jersey, and were among the earliest settlers of Warren County. Many of the descendants of the BONNELL family are yet there. Shobal VAIL CLEVENGER, the distinguished sculptor, was of that family. He received his name Shobal VAIL in honor of his uncle by marriage. Stephen VAIL, with the remainder of his family, came, as stated above, in 1800. The children who accompanied him were Moses, Lydia, Randall, Hugh, Sarah, and Katharina. Soon after he came he purchased a large tract of land lying on both sides of the Miami River, and commenced the erection of mills, consisting of a grist-mill, a filling-mill, and a saw-mill. The filling-mill was rebuilt the next year.

Mr. VAIL built his first cabin near the river, not far from where F. KEMP & Co.'s slaughter-house is now. He lived there but a short time, when he built another cabin on the table-land, west of and about one hundred and fifty yards from Edward JONES present residence, and near what is now the corner of Young and Fourth Streets. This was, doubtless, the first cabin built in Middletown. In this cabin Mr. VAIL died in 1808. His son Moses and Lydia settled in Warren County, and built a mill near Franklin previous to 1824. He died many years ago, and left children; but they are scattered, and it is not known where they are. The descendants of the other members of this family settled in Middletown and vicinity.

Shobal VAIL CLEVENGER, the American sculptor, was born in Middletown in 1812, and died September 28, 1843. In his youth he worked as a stone-mason in Cincinnati, where the figure of an angel he carved on a stone attracted attention. From Cincinnati he removed to Boston, where he executed busts of CLAY, VAN BUREN, and others. He afterward went to Europe, taking up his residence at Florence, where he executed may busts, which showed a rapid advance and gave promise that he would attain by pulmonary consumption he embarked for America, but died of the passage.

Judge Ezekiel BALL was among the first early settlers, and was a man of considerable importance, holding many township offices, also being associate judge.

John FREEMAN settled on what was known as Abram SHAEFER'S farm prior to 1800. His son Thomas some years afterward purchased what has since been known as the CULLUM farm and built a residence there. He was commissioned captain in the War of 1812, and took his company to Detroit in 1813. He moved to Middletown in 1818 and took charge of the Black Horse Tavern, which had been previously kept by Jesse CRANE. He remained in the tavern a year or so, and then built a flat-boat and carried a load of produce to New Orleanns. John P. REYNOLDS succeeded him in the tavern and subsequently Mr. HUGHES. Mr. FREEMAN was from Pennsylvania, and his wife was from New Jersey. She was a daughter of Alexander CRANE.

After Middletown was laid out and a few cabins erected, Mr. Jonathan MARTIN came to the village and began blacksmithing. This shop was a frame building, that stood a short distance from the Baptist Church on Main Street. Mark DIXON and Abner ENOCH had stores prior to this time. DIXON'S room was on the south-east corner of Third and Main Streets, and ENOCH'S store was on the north-west corner of Main and Second Streets. Soon after this time and as the town began to grow up the number of the stores multiplied very fast.

The first cabin in Middletown was that of Stephen VAIL, on the ridge. A log cabin was built very early near the corner of Main and Third Streets, where OGELSBY & BARNITZ'S bank is now, and afterwards occupied by Amos POTTER. Probably one of the oldest standing and the first built frame building in Middletown is the one now seen on the south-east corner of Main and Fourth Streets. The first brick building in Middletown was the one erected for a school house in the east part of lot No. 11. This structure was an elegant one for those days, and was about twenty by thirty feet. It was one story high, with a huge fireplace in each end for the burning of wood. In later years one chimney east taken out and the door was move from the side to the end, while the warmth was provided from a large stove. In this house were day-schools, singing-schools, and religious meetings of different denominations on the Sabbath.

The second brick house was built by Jonathan TULLIS. It was on the corner of Third and Main Streets, where the Merchants' National Bank is now. The erection of this house caused a little comment, as it was known Mr. TULLIS was a little involved. Mr. David HEATON was desirous of expressing his opinion on the matter, and one day, while riding by, he was seen to stop and take more than a casual glance. When asked by Mr. TULLIS what new points were discovered, he replied that he thought the walls leaned a little. "What way?", asked the astonished owner. "Towards Hamilton", was the nonchalant reply. In Hamilton were the courts and the sheriff's office. This house was erected in 1818, and in two or three years afterwards David ENYART, who previously lived where Tobias LEFFERSON now lives, moved into it.

Hotels or houses of entertainment were numerous in earlier times. Their "taverns", "houses of entertainment," and "coffee-houses", now come under the general terms of "hotels", "boarding-houses, with day board or rooms "to let" and "saloons". First among these, and one as famous as any, was the "Black Horse", standing on Main Street, about where the post-office is now. This was kept first by Jesse CRANE. Following him were John P. REYNOLDS and HUGHES, who was styled Governor HUGHES. This was prior to 1818. John FREEMAN kept it in 1819. Mr. PIPER, father-in-law of Abner ENOCH, kept a hotel on a small scale on the north-west corner of Second and Main Streets, in part of the building used by Mr. ENOCH as a store. David ENYART kept hotel in his house on Main and Third a few years, and just opposite Mr. Levi POTTER kept a few years. This was where RUSSELL'S grocery now is. Prominent among the first-class houses during the building of the canal, was the building on the corner of Broadway and Third Streets, where the agricultural store now is. The was extensively patronized by those interested in canal contracts, and became the leading hotel for many years. Just above RUSSELL'S grocery, and on the same side, between Second and Third Streets, Mr. PHARES kept hotel also. This was as early as 1815.

David ENYART came to Ohio in 1802, settling first at Princeton, and then in 1815 came to Middletown. Mr. Aaron HAMNER built a one story brick house on the northwest corner of Main and Fifth Streets in 1819 or 1820, that was afterwards sold to Joseph TREON, who was a cripple. Mr. SIMPSON built a brick on the southwest corner of Main and Fifth Streets in 1822 that was not only the largest in the town, but ws considered the finest. Mr. MARTIN built the present brick of OGLESBY & BARNITZ'S bank in 1827, and sold goods there for many years. Levi POTTER, who lived just opposite, was probably the first brick-mason in Middletown.

The United States Hotel, on Main Street, was built in 1831 for a dwelling-house and coffee-house. It was then but two stories high. The second story was used to live in, while the parlor and barroom were used for a store and coffee-room. Wilson GILCHRIST sold goods in the parlor for several years, and I. C. FARIES and others, at different times, used the present bar-room for a coffee-house. Cyrus MITCHELL was the first to keep hotel. This was near 1845. His brother, James MITCHELL, built the third story. Mrs. FURRY now keeps the house.

The old Middletown Cemetery originally contained four acres, in the south-east quarter of section No. 28. This ground was laid off by James HEATON, who surveyed it, thirteen lots being set aside for a potter's-field. The original trustees were Israel GIBSON, John M. BARRET, and Robert CAMPBELL. This was the 30th of May, 1827.

The Middletown Cemetery Association was organized May 25, 1878. On the 4th of August, 1863, two acres were added, and again, October 11, 1869, five acres were purchased. The association, ;when organized under the special act of the Legislature, consisted of the following persons: W.B OGLESBY, Jos. S. KELLEY, John CORSIN, Thos. WILSON, Edward JONES, B. Rathman, S.V. CURTIS, G.E. WAMPLER, C.W. SURPHIN, I.C. FARIES, A.D. COLLINS, William SHEELS, William MOORE, C.S. BARNITZ, C.F. GUNCKEL, J.B. HARTLEY, J.J. PALLER.

Of those who deserve mention in connection with the dead is the Rev. James GRIMES. He was a native of the District of Columbia, born January 1, 1760, and died March 16, 1846. He came here after the War of 1812. He had two children, George and Rebecca. George was in that war, and was taken prisoner. Rebecca married William BRIDGE, and had two children, Ann and Susan. Ann became the mother of James LUMMIS. She is still living, and is now in Illinois. Susan married J.J. PETTIT, and died in the Spring of 1875.

Mr. GRIMES was educated at Alexandria, Virginia, became a local Methodist preacher, and was ordained deacon by Francis ASBURY, bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was ordained September 17, 1815. He was in the War of the Revolution seven years, and was taken prisoner by the British, but escaped by mounting a horse and riding past the guards, who fired upon him. His son George was in the navy in the War of 1812. The Rev. James GRIMES was a carpenter and stairbuilder. After the burning of the city of Washington in the War of 1812, he rebuilt the stairs in the capitol. He was a stout, well-built man, and when eighty years old could shingle a roof. He lived near where the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis Railroad depot is now. The house still stands.

Mr. GRIMES had two wives, who were buried in this yard. His first wife, Eliza GRIMES, died November, 1827, when seventy-two years of age. His second wife, Jane GRIMES, was born September 27, 1776. She died in August, 1850, seventy-four years of age. Near by the grave of Mr. GRIMES lie the remains of another Revolutionary soldier, Daniel HEATON.

The business of Middletown is largely in the manufacturing of all kinds of paper. The paper interest is immense, great enough to make the town one of the principal centers in the country for that kind of business. Seven great paper-mills run in full force, month in and month out, year after year, giving employment to hundreds of men, women and children.

The first mill on the hydraulic north is that of OGLESBY, MOORE & Co. The mill manufactures blotting, sized, and super-calendered book, wrapping, and roofing papers. The firm members are W.B. OGLESBY, William MOORE, George C. BARNITZ, and F.J. TYTUS. The mill was built in 1833 by J. W. ERWIN and brother. After two years Messrs. TYTUS, OGLESBY, and BARNITZ then took the mill, and under the firm name of OGLESBY, BARNITZ & TYTUS, ran it for seven or eight years. Then is passed into the hands of the present company, under whose management it has been highly successful and prosperous. Eighty to one hundred hands are employed constantly, about twenty-five of whom are women and girls. The annual sales of manufactured articles amount to $150,000. There are two mills in one. One is furnished with three four-hundred pound and four two-hundred and twenty-five pound engines, and one seventy-two inch Fourdrinier. It has water-power, and manufactures book and blotting paper, its capacity being five thousand pounds a day, or one million five hundred thousand pounds a year. The wrapping-mill has two four-hundred and fifty pound and one six-hnudred pound engines and sixty-eight inch Fourdrinier. It is run by water and steam, and its productions rank with the best made in the country. This establishment furnishes most of the paper upon which the Cincinnati dailies are printed. All these mills are located along the banks of the hydraulic, in pleasant situations, among the willows and sycamores.

Across the city, upon the canal, stands the mill of WARDLOW, THOMAS & Co., or the Niagara Paper Mills. The first mill was built in 1868, and burned down in September, 1872, and a new building was erected in 1880. The whole building is four hundred and sixty feet long, and eighty-six feet wide, and one main building sixty feet wide. It has two machine rooms, each thirty-five feet square, and the boiler and steam-engine room seventy feet square. The smoke-stack rises one hundred and five feet from the base. It has ten rag engines, one Gould engine, one eighty-four-inch double cylinder, and one sixty-eight inch. It uses both water and steam, and makes manilla paper. Its capacity is from twelve to fourteen thousand pounds per day. This mill makes a specialty of flour sacks and manilla bag papers. It has six wells and ten driven wells, and a ten horse power pump that throws eight hundred gallons per minute. The water is clear and pure, the subsoil of all this locality being a gravel. They employ about forty hands.