MIDDLETOWN HISTORICAL SOCIETY
"Linking the Past with the Present for the Future"
Miami Valley Vignettes
by George C. Crout
Two hundred years ago, the Miami Valley was the land where the West
began. It was the frontier with Indians lurking in the deep forests. As
the valley developed, the great city of Cincinnati became the Queen City
of the West. The Miami Valley grew into the fabled land, or as Abraham
Lincoln described it, "the garden spot of the world." Few river valleys
have as rich a history as the Miami Valley of Southwestern Ohio.
In this small book we can only introduce the reader to some of its most
famous people, its historic sites, and those events which were to
influence our state and national development. In the Miami Valley much of
the historic past is still with us, preserved in its museums, on its
markers, in many of its old buildings and landmarks. A road map will guide
the modern explorer to these places.
A vignette is a simple little sketch, and this book is a collection of
such historical highlights of our valley. Perhaps the reader will want to
dig deeper into area history. Your librarian can direct you to old county
histories, which are rich in detail, and to local history books and
brochures, and even to manuscript materials. A few general series of books
have been written, such as Howe's Historical Collections of Ohio, Memoirs
of the Miami Valley, and the History of Southwestern Ohio: The Miami
Valleys (1964) by William E. and Ophia D. Smith.
This publication was written for the general reader, as well as the
student of Ohio and American history, where it can serve as a resource in
area schools. It was prepared as a public service by the Middletown
Historical Society, whose motto is "Linking the Past with the Present for
the Future." This book by our Curator, George Crout, was designed with
this purpose in mind.
This book is dedicated to the inhabitants of the 14 counties which make
up the beautiful Miami Valley. The counties are listed below in
alphabetical order. Each county name is followed by its year of
organization and county seat, with a brief note as to the origin of the
Butler - 1803 - Hamilton. General Richard Butler fought through the
Revolutionary War, and later took part in St. Clair's ill-fated campaign
against the Indians in western Ohio, where he was killed in 1791.
Champaign - 1805 - Urbana. The name is derived from the French word
which means "level plain" thus indicating the French influence on early
Clark - 1817 - Springfield. Gen. George Rogers Clark's campaign
against the Indians and their English allies, resulted in the western
lands becoming part of the U.S. under the Treaty of Paris.
Clermont - 1810 - Batavia. The name is from the French word which
means "clear mountain" or it may have come directly from the French town
Clinton - 1810 - Wilmington. Clinton was a Revolutionary War
general who gave up his command in 1777 to become New York's first
Governor. This soldier-statesman went on to become Vice President of the
Darke - 1816 - Greenville. Present at Braddock's defeat, Gen.
William Darke was captured during the American Revolution, but exchanged
in time to be at Yorktown. He aided in the retreat of St. Clair's forces
Greene - 1803 - Xenia. A military leader when the Revolution began.
Gen. Nathaniel Greene took part in the siege of Boston, and was in command
of one company at Trenton, N.J., Christmas, 1776.
Hamilton - 1790 - Cincinnati. Alexander Hamilton had served as a
general in the Revolution, and helped in obtaining the adoption of the
Constitution. He then served in Washington's cabinet.
Logan - 1817 - Bellefontaine. Serving under Gen. Clark, Gen.
Benjamin Logan helped secure the West during the Revolution, then in the
years following helped to subdue the Indians along the frontier.
Miami - 1807 - Troy. Named in tribute to the brave, and intelligent
Miami Indians, who inhabited the area along the Miami Rivers, before being
driven out by the Shawnee tribe.
Montgomery - 1803 - Dayton. In 1775 Gen. Montgomery led a military
expedition to Canada and succeeded in capturing Montreal, but he died in
the attack on Quebec, becoming the first American general to be killed in
Shelby - 1819 - Sidney. General Isaac Shelby began his service
during Lord Dunmore's War. After the Revolution he was elected Kentucky's
first Governor, and as such led his men to the aid of Harrison during the
War of 1812.
Preble - 1808 - Eaton. Gen. Edward Preble won his place in history
as Commander of the naval attack force on the pirates of Tripoli in 1804,
thus gaining world respect for the new nation. He had served in the
Warren - 1803 - Lebanon. As a doctor, General Joseph Warren helped
organize forces for the American Revolution, and made speeches of protest
over the Boston Massacre. As General, his service was short, for he was
killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
Miami Valley Vignettes
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© 1982 Middletown Historical Society