History of Brown Township, Darke County Ohio
From: History of Darke County, Ohio
From its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time
By: Frazer E. Wilson
The Hibart Publishing Company
Milford, Ohio 1914


This township was organized in December, 1833, when it was taken from Richland. As now constituted it comprises all of township 13 north, range 2 east, except one tier of sections on the east, making it six miles north and south, and five miles east and west. It lies largely in the plain between the Mississinawa and the Union Moraines, mentioned in Chapter I, and is one of the most level townships in the northern part of the county.

Its territory is drained by the upper Stillwater and its branches which reach nearly every section of the township. The main stream enters the township near the northwest corner, and flows southeastward to Ansonia, at the center of section 22, thenee eastward, crossing the east line near the northeast corner of section 23. The main southern tributary is the Woodington branch, which rises in the northwestern part of Greenville township and flows in a northeast direction past Woodington and joins the main stream about a half mile west of Ansonia, The North Branch rises in the western central part of Allen township, flows in a southeast direction, and joins the main stream about a fourth of a mile east of Ansonia. On account of the level condition of the land and the large number of tributaries the upper valley of this stream, beginning a short distance above Ansonia and extending into eastern Jackson and southeastern Mississinawa townships, was originally subject to overflow after every freshet, and was known as the "spreads of Stillwater." On this account the land in this section was considered almost worthless in early clays, and for probably forty years after the first settlement remained a morass, the last retreat of the wolves in the county. By extensive and systematic ditching, mostly in the "sixties and seventies," it became the most fertile and valuable tract in the township. Lands in this township sold in early days from $1.00 to $2.50 per acre the former price prevailing in the vicinity of Ansonia. The original forest showed a diversity of fine hard timber, which, at first, was cut down and destroyed indiscriminately, but, upon the building of the railways became a valuable asset to the landowners and suppliedmaterial for an immense business in the manufacture of hardwood hubs, spokes, staves, etc.

The trails of St. Clair and Wayne crossed the western part of this county, following the general course of the present Fort Recovery pike. St. Clair's army camped in the neighborhood of Woodington and made special mention of the heavy forest there. Signs of an extensive encampment on the higher ground of the Tillman farm in the southern part of section 20, were found in early days. The outline of a low embankment was distinctly seen and numerous relics were found here. Some fine springs are located here and today there is an artesian well of considerable strength. Wayne's army camped in the Stillwater at the crossing of the old trail, probably near the southeast corner of section 6, on the evening of July 28, 1794, that being the first day's march northward from Greenville.

John Woodington was probably the first settler in the township. He located along St. Clair's trail in the southern part of section 29. William Teegarden came in 1817, and located in the southwest quarter of section 20. His brother Abraham came in 1820, and entered the southeast quarter of section 18. Daniel Dewall settled in the east half of the northeast quarter of section 20, in the same year. Other early settlers were James Titus, Smith Marquis, James White, David and Silas Riffle and Thomas Marcum.

The first school house was a pole cabin built about 1827, in section 28. John Hoffman was the first teacher. There are now nine school houses in the township besides the one in Ansonia.

The first church was built by Abraham Teegarden in 1835, on the north side of the present Ansonia pike, a short distance west of the intersection of the Fort Recovery pike in section 18. It was a "Campbellite" church and has been discontinued many years. The present "Teegarden" Christian church is located about a fourth of a mile west of this site on the opposite side of the road in section 19, and was built about 1881, as the result of the "splitting" of the original Teegarden church which stood at the southwest corner of the intersection of the Fort Recovery and Union City, Ansonia pike. The original church was built in 1862, and when the division occurred in 1881, the members living to the south organized the Christian church at Woodington and those living to the north the one above mentioned. The Teegarden church is now the only rural congregation in the township, a condition due largely to the proximity of various churches in surrounding townships.

Brown township is well supplied with railways. The C. C. C. & St. L. R. R. crosses in a straight line inclining south of east. It enters near the center of the east line of section 23, and crosses the west line at the extreme northwest corner of section 30. The Logansport division of the Pennsylvania railway cuts diagonally across the southwestern corner of the township. The Cincinnati Northern R. R. was the last constructed through the township, being in a north and south direction through the second tier of sections from the east line, and has proven quite beneficial in affording larger market facilities.

Ansonia.

The principal village is Ansonia (originally Dallas), which was laid out in 1845, near the center of the east line of section 22. In early days the location was considered unhealthy, but sinee the drainage of this section has changed materially in this respect. It is situated in the Stillwater bottoms and is about forty five feet lower than the county seat. Being eight miles from Greenville, and about ten miles from Versailles, and Union City it makes a convenient trading point for a large section of surrounding territory, and has been a good commercial center for many years. The building of the "Bee line" railway in 1852 gave Ansonia enlarged commercial opportunities and made it a center for the manufacture of hubs, staves and spokes for many years, until the supply of hardwood in the neighborhood had been greatly reduced. The construction of the Cincinnati Northern railway some thirty years later made it a shipping point of importance and guaranteed the future stability of the place. Besides several substantial mercantile establishments, Ansonia now has a town hall, fire department, postoffice, two banks, hotel, public school, three churches, a newspaper, Masonic, I. O. O. F. and K. of P. lodges, two elevators, a tobacco warehouse, and a union railway station.

The M. E. church in Ansonia is the outgrowth of services held in the vicinity of the village in early days probably from 1845 to 1850. Later services were held in a school house a short distance north of the village, and still later in the village sschool house. Regular services were held after the organization of the Hillgrove circuit in 1863. Among those who preached prior to the organization of the Ansonia church were H. O. Sheldon, J. T. Bower, H. Boyers, M. Perkey, A. Armstrong, H. Burns. Some of the early pastors were Benj. L. Rowand, D. G. Strong, Henry Burns, Jason and William Young, Valentine Staley, James Jackson, P. M. Young, M. M. Markwith, R. D. Oldfield, and E. D. Whitlock, under whose pastorate a neat, brick church costing some $3,200 was erected on the northwest corner of High and Cass streets and dedicated in 1873. This structure served until 1902, when it was remodeled and furnished at a cost of about $4,200, giving increased and modern facilities for the Sunday school, and a better auditorium. Great stress is placed on the work of the Sunday school in which the enrollment is now about 100. The enrollment in the church is about 136.

The Christian church was organized in early days and built a place of worship on West Cross street. This denomination prospered and in 1894-95 erected a beautiful, modern, brick church on the southeast corner of Weller and Cass streets at a cost of some $5,000. A good congregation and a prosperous Sunday school assemble here from Sunday to Sunday.

There is also a substantial Lutheran church on South Main street, which has been supported by the descendants of the early German families for several years. The pastor of Grace church, in Greenville usually serves this charge:

Ansonia has taken great pride in educational matters for many years as shown by the fact that a commodious and substantial three story brick school house was erected on a two acre plat in Hulse's addition at a cost of some $10,000, as early as 1873. Competent instructors and a strong board of education have been important factors in maintaining a high standard of education in the village, which has been fortunate in securing services of such men as Professors J. H. Royer, P. C. Ziemer and the present efficient incumbent, G. H. Garrison, who has served as superintendent since 1904. The present school building was erected on the site of the above mentioned structure in 1903 at a total cost of some $23,000, including the heating system. The building is of red pressed brick, two stories in height and has eight rooms. The schools have a well equipped library and a well furnished laboratory. Eight teachers are employed. The high school was organized in 1873, and the first class was graduated in 1877. It was raised to a first grade high school in 1907, at which time Messrs. G. M. Marshall, C. J. Stephen, J. F. Howard, E. E. Vance and James Fry were on the board. The enrollment for 1912 and 1913 was 135 in the grades and 102 in the high school. There were sixteen members in the class of 1913, making a total alumni of 193 members. The superintendents to date have been J. M. Syckes, John H. Royer, P. C. Zemer, William Beachler, D. D. Bates and G. H. Garrison.

Ansonia has been the home of some of the best known physicians in the county, among whom were Drs. Knouf, W. E. Hooven, L. C. Anderson and H. A. Snorf.

C. M. Anderson, one of the most brilliant attorneys Darken county ever produced, was a citizen of this place, and Dr. S. A. Hostetter, the president of the Second National Bank of Greenville and a man of unusual ability, was for years a physician and influential resident of this place.

This village has been a strong lodge center for years and the social life of the surrounding country has been materially influenced by the various fraternal and secret organizations. Ansonia Lodge F. and A. M. was chartered on October 21, 1874 with sixteen members by the Grand Lodge of Ohio and now has about 125 members, including many of the most conservative and substantial men of the community. Ansonia Lodge, I. O. O. F. No. 605, was instituted on June 18, 1875, with sixteen charter members and now has about 110 members, including many representative citizens. In recent years this lodge erected a neat and substantial three story brick building on the southwest corner of Main and Weller streets. The first story is occupied by a bank and the third story is used as a lodge room, being beautifully furnished and equipped for that purpose. The Daughters of Rebekah organized on June 18, 1894, with sixteen charter members and now have about 120 members. The K. of P.'s also have a lodge here.

The principal streets are finely graded, and have curbs and cement walks, and the streets are lighted by electricity. The banks and newspaper are mentioned elsewhere in this volume. The enterprise of the citizens was shown by the erection of the first mausoleum in Darke county. This modern burial structure was built in the cemetery in 1911, under the direction of J. P. Collett, a former resident of Brown township and a descendant of one of its prominent families. It is built of rock faced Bedford stone, lined with Vermont marble and contains a public receiving vault, one private tomb, and four family groups, and 140 crypts in all. An endowment fund of $240 is reserved for its support.

The population of Ansonia in 1910 was 636, and of the Brown township entire, 1,944. Earl Hostetter is mayor, and Hilton Gillett is clerk of the village. The real estate of the township was assessed in 1913 at $2,492,830 and the chattels at $1,093,000. Willard Whitesell is the township clerk.

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