History of Butler 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 geographical unit is identical with township 10 north, range 2 east, and is six miles square, containing 36 sections. It is one of the southern tier of townships and lies between Harrison and Monroe townships.

There seems to be some confusion concerning the date of its organization, which was probably effected in 1819 or 1820.

Many of the early settlers were from Butler county, Ohio (wbich took 'its name from General Richard Butler) and it probably owes its name to this fact.

Twin creek rises near the northern boundary of this township, flows southward and eastward, and, with the numerous small rivulets forming its head, drains the central and southern part of the township, except a small district in the extreme southwestern corner, in all about two thirds of the entire area. In early days an extensive swamp covered the central part and caused General St. Clair to turn his army eastward from the neighborhood of Castine towards Beech Grove. As before noted, this morass was long known as "Maple Swamp" on account of the large number of soft maple trees growing in it and was unfit for cultivation until a large ditch was run through it by the county commissioners. This district is now one of the fertile spots of the county. The upper waters of Mud creek drains the northwestern section, and the east fork of Whitewater formerly extended into the western part.

The land is generally level, except in the northwestern and western central portion, and was originally covered with a heavy growth of fine timber. There is practically no waste land in the township and the average fertility is probably equal to that of any other township in the county. It is generally supposed that Whine's trail crossed the south line near the intersection of the Eaton pike and kept about half a mile west of the main north and south stream of Twin creek, passing a few rods west of the present township house in the center of the township, and continuing on toward Fort Jefferson.

During the war of 1812 the more western and "round about" but higher trail through Fort Black (New Madison) was probably used.

John DeCamp came in 1814 and was probably the first permanent settler. James Mills and Francis Harter and sons came in 1817 or 1818. The early years witnessed the coming of Jacob Weingardner, Abram P. Freeman, Charles Harriman, Jonathan Pitman, Joseph Danner, John Ellis, Jacob F. Miller and Peter Fleck.

This township has been one of the strongholds of Democracy for many years, which condition is said to be due largely to the fact that quite a number of families moved in from Kentucky and the, south just prior to the Civil war.

The first school house was built near the present site of New Castine, in the year 1824. Samuel Saterley is credited with having been the first teacher. James L. Hunt and P. V. Banta were also early teachers.

Probably the first church building erected in the township was Otterbein Chapel, built in 1840, or land donated by George Coblentz in the northwest corner of section 28. This was a log structure but was replaced in later years by a more substantial building. A quarterly conference was held here in 1844. This congregation has maintained an active organization throughout the succeeding years and has probably done more toward building up the interests of the United Brethren denomination than any other single rural church in Darke county. Before the erection of this church religious services were held in houses, barns and school houses. The United Brethren also built a church at Castine in 1849, and have an active society today.

The Reformed Society built a church in the southeast cornér of section 2, along the Greenville and Ithaca pike, about 1859. Rev. John Vogt was largely instrumental in erecting this church and was its first pastor. This congregation has continued its organization and is one of the prosperous rural churches of the county. It is known as "Beech Grove" church, from the fact that a fine growth of beech trees originally covered that section of the township.

Butler township is well supplied with pikes, there being roads on all of the east and west section lines, and part of the north and south lines, besides the pikes leading to New Madison, Ithaca and Eaton. The Eaton road was piked in 1869, being the first in the township to be permanently improved. Three railways pass through the township. The P. C. C. & St. L. railway cuts across the northwest corner; the Peoria and Eastern crosses the east line near the northeast corner of section 12, runs due west to the New Madison pike in northern part of section 8, then turns northwesterly and crosses the western line near the northwest corner of section 6; the C. N. crosses the south line of section 35, runs north to Castine, thence west of north to the center of section 9, thence northerly, crossing the northern line near the intersection of the New Madison pike.

In early days this community was comparatively isolated with respect to the county seat and seems to have been in closer touch with the older settlements to the south in Preble county. Produce was carried to Dhiton and Cintinnati by the hucksters, and much of the milling was done at the stone mill of James A. B. Frazer, on Twin creek, a short distance above Lewisburg. This mill was built in 1838, and was regarded as a remarkable structure in those days. Coopering, blacksmithing, shoemaking were prosperous occupations carried on outside the homes, in the days when splint bottom chairs, spinning wheels, candle molds and fireplaces were in vogue. In spite of comparative isolation the pioneer families lived well on game, fish and fruits from the forest which stretched its dark mantle on all sides, and laid an enduring foundation for future generations.

There are now two villages in Butler township.

New Castine.

Is located on Twin creek at the center of the line between sections 6 and 35, one mile north of Preble county. Its location was probably determined largely by the fact that it lies at the intersection of the Greenville and Eaton pike with the old New Garden road. In early days the latter road was traveled extensively by the Quakers from Miami county when attending their semi annual meetings at New Garden, Indiana.

New Castine was first platted in 1832, on land belonging to John Ellis, Joseph Danner and Frederick Smith. About a year later Dr. J. P. Love and Samuel Brosserman bought out Danner and Smith's interests and replatted the town, claiming that the original proprietors had not conformed to the law, requiring legal notice of the act.

In the early years of the history of this village there was a blacksmith's shop, a pottery, a hatter's establishment, a hotel, etc. A directory published in 1857 shows the following enterprises:

John E. Matchett, physician and surgeon.
Dr. J. P. Love, dry goods, groceries and medicines.
F. Michael, dry goods, groceries, boots and shoes.
P. V. Banta, dry goods and groceries.
Frank Ford, Castine house.
P. Stephenson, boot and shoe maker.
J. Longanbaker, blacksmith.
A. Henderson, cooper.
Jacob Roller, harness maker.
S. B. Minnick, sawyer.
J. W. Hamiel, sawyer.
P. C. Hetzler, minister U. B. church.

The village grew and prospered but the building of the Little Miami railway through West Manchester some two miles to the south, and the growth of the latter village seemed to retard its progress. The building of the Cincinnati Northern railway through here about 1894 was a "red letter" event for the village. The village now has a U. B. church, a German Baptist church (built bout 1871), an I. O. O. F. hall, an elevator, stock yards and station. The population in 1910 was given at 142.

Tecumseh (Savona P. O.)
This village was laid off in the north central part of section 9, and given the name of the distinguished Indian chief, who lived for a short time in Darke county. In recent years the post office and station have been called "Savona," probably to avoid confusion, as there is now a town by the name of Tecumseh in Michigan. The Peoria and Eastern and the C. N. railway cross at this place, making it a good shipping point, and giving it some prospect of future development.

The village now has a U. B. church, a store, a station, an elevator and about thirty buildings in all.

The census of 1910 gave Butler township a population of 1,592. The tax duplicate of 1913 showed real estate listed at $2,425,100, and chattels to the extent of $1,114,660.

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