History of Greenville 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 is the most central and by far the largest in Darken county, containing approximately sixty square miles of territory. At first it included the entire county. Twin township was detached in July, 1817, and included all of the county south of a line running due east from the northwest corner of section 31, township 11 north, range 1 east. In the same month Wayne township was detached from the northern part and included all the territory north of a line running due east from the northwest corner of township 12 north, range 1 east, to the northwest corner of township 9 north, range 4 east, thence south to the middle of the latter township, and thence east to the county line. In March, 1819, all of Greenville township that lay in range 1 was taken into a new township called Washington, and in the same month Adams township was formed, containing all the land in the county east of a line running south from the northwest corner of section 4, township 10, range 3, to the southwest corner of section 28, township 9, range 3.

In September, 1830, two tiers of sections across the north end of Greenville township were taken into a new township called Richland. In 1821, Neave township was laid out, taking four tiers of sections from the south side of Greenville township.

The Union Moraine, which extends through the central part of this township in a general direction somewhat south of east, separates the drainage basin of the Stillwater on the north from that of Greenville creek on the south. As before mentioned Greenville creek skirts this moraine belt on the south and west and with its southern branches, West Branch, Mud creek, Bridge creek and Dividing creek and minor branches drains the southern part of the township, while the Boyd's creek branch of Stillwater drains much of the northern and northeastern section, and the upper waters of the Woodington branch, the extreme northwestern corner. The surface is somewhat rolling, especially along Greenville creek, and in the southern portion where the signs of glacial action are quite plain. The valley of Mud creek is an especially noticeable feature, heretofore mentioned. There is a diversity of bottom and upland suited to all kinds of crops raised in the county, and the soil compares favorably in productiveness with any section of equal size in the county.

This township is especially well supplied with pikes as most of the important roads of the county converge at Greenville, in the south central part. The Logansport division of the Pennsylvania railway crosses the northern part in a straight line in a direction south of east. The Indianapolis division crosses the east boundary on the south line of section 32, township 10 north, range 3 east, runs almost due west and keeps south of Greenville creek to the county seat. It then turns southwest; down the Mud Creek valley and crosses the southern line in the southeast corner of Section 9, township 11 north, range 2 east. The Dayton and Union Railway crosses the southern line in section 12, township 11 north, range 2 east, runs west of north to Greenville, and thence northwesterly on the north side of Greenville creek, crossing the west line in section 18, township 12 north, range 2 east. The Cincinnati Northern crosses the south line along side of the Pennsylvania, keeps parallel with the latter almost to Greenville, then turns northward and traverses four and a half sections of the northern part of the township in practically a due north and south direction, crossing the northern line midway in section 3, township 12 north, range 2 east. The Ohio Electric railway comes in from the south on the Eaton pike which it follows to Greenville. From this point it follows the Union City pike and crosses the west line near the same point as the D. & U. above mentioned. On account of the diversity of surface and soil, Greenville township was originally covered with a diversified growth of fine timber, including oak, beech, hickory and sugar on the uplands; elm, ash, walnut, sycamore and linden on the lowlands, besides a great variety of less common trees and bushes. The central location, attractive and fertile uplands and comparatively healthful conditions led to the early settlement of this township as extensively noted elsewhere. The only villages in this township, besides the county seat, are Coleville, Pikeville and Woodington. The former is situated in the northern part of section 19, township 12 north, range 2 east, and was platted in 1848. It is located on the north bank of Greenville creek on the Greenville and Union City pike, the D. & U. railway and the Ohio Electric railway. There is a general store, a school, Christian church and a station (Mt. Heron) at this place.

Pikeville was platted in 1866, at the intersection of the Beamsville pike and the P. C. C. & St. L. railway in the northern part of section 12, township 12 north, range 2 east. It now contains a general store, a school, a Union church building, a station and grain elevator.

Woodington is located in the northeast corner of section 5 township 12 north, range 2 east, at the intersection of the Fort Recovery pike and the P. C. C. & St. L. railway. It was platted in 1871, and was probably named for John Woodington or one of his descendants, who lived in this vicinity. General St. Clair camped near this place on the evening of the first day's march from Greenville (October 30, 1791). The village now contains a general store, a school, a Christian church, a station and an elevator. From the writings of E. M. Buechly we gather the following facts concerning fruit culture in Greenville township:

The first nursery in Darke county planted for commercial purposes was set out about 1832, by David Craig on the east bluff of the Mud creek prairie, in the southern part of section 10, Greenville township, on land recently owned by F. M. Eidson, and known as "Fruit Hill" farm; seeds of apples, pears and peaches were planted. The apples were afterwards top grafted in the nursery rows with the leading sorts then to be had, but the planting was discontinued and the nursery rapidly declined.

"From what we have been able to learn from the earliest settlers now living, grapes were not yet planted until about this time, the simple wants of the backwoodsman being satisfied with the wild ones with which the woods abounded. Mrs. Craig, wife of the aforesaid David Craig, now living in Greenville, told the writer that she gathered wild grapes by bending down the saplings on which the vines clung, on the very spot where the court house now stands, in the very heart of the city. The early May cherry also dates not far from this time.

"In 1858 Thomas H. McCune and D. R. Davis, both of Greenville, planted a nursery in partnership, north of the city limits. They had all grafted fruits, and were the first to attempt to keep a full line of trees, both fruit and ornamental grapes and other nursery stock. Planting was here continued some four years, when it was left to the fate of all the previous efforts to establish a permanent nursery.

From the time of the McCune and Davis nursery, in '62 or '63, until 1878 Darke county was again without a nursery. In that year E. M. Buechley planted some 5,000 apple root grafts and other nursery stock on the farm of his father, Jeremiah Buechley, near 'Weavers Station; Ohio, at which place he continued in business until 1881, when he purchased a farm in the northwest corner of section 4, some two miles west of Greenville, on which he has continued and increased the planting of nursery stock and small fruit, occupying at present some ten acres. About 1887, Mr. Beuchley discovered a seedling strawberry plant, which bore very promising fruit. This proves to he the original plant of the variety which he later named "Greenville." This berry was placed on the market and had a good sale for several years. It is said to be far better than many of the new popular varieties offered today.

Mr. Jason Downing, a pioneer orchardist of Darke county, originated an excellent variety Of the Fall Maiden Blush, which attained a national reputation, and was known for many years as "Downing's Winter Maiden Blush." Mr. Beuchley was largely instrumental. in introducing this apple and at the suggestion of the Ameriean Pomological Society changed its name to the "Greenville" apple. However, the most valuable addition to the list of fruits introduced by this nurseryman is the "Eldorado" blackberry. This fruit was found as an accidental seedling near Eldorado, Preble county, Ohio. It was first tested at the home of Albert Wehrly, of whom about 1890, Mr. Beuchley bought the entire stock of six hundred plants, and control the same, for $150. After over twenty years of public favor, this berry continued to grow in popularity and is said to equal any in hardiness while it excels most, if not all, other varieties in high flavor.

Other successful orchards have been planted from time to time, among which might be mentioned the Fletcher nursery, north of Jaysville; the Deeds nursery just north of Ansonia; the Butt's nursery west of Greenville, and the Martin nursery near Horatio. Mr. W. K. Martin, the proprietor of the lastnamed nursery, has taken a university course in horticulture and landscape gardening, and has been successful in securing some very large orders for nursery stock, one of which will require him probably five years to fill, requiring a large planting in Missouri to hasten growth of the stock required. Mr. Martin has also grown some fine varieties of berries, which he markets under the "Climax" brand. Mr. Alfred Kissell has a strawberry nursery north of Horatio where he grows berries of select flavor and excellent quality.

Besides the staple grains and a large amount of Dutch, Spanish, and seed leaf tobacco, the farmers of Greenville township have, in recent years, planted a good many acres of cabbage, which is marketed at a local kraut factory. The great success of the beet industry in Paulding county has suggested the propriety of planting a large acreage here, especially in the Mud creek prairie, where conditions seem exceptionably favorable. Alfalfa, which has recently been introduced, is also making a good showing in Darke county. It has been said that Darke county recently stood third in the list of all the counties in the United States in the amount of agricultural products produced - Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, and McLean county, Illinois, alone exceeding Darke county in this respect. Besides the products above mentioned, there has been a very remarkable increase in the amount of poultry raised, due largely to the enterprise of such dealers as Harry B. Hole, John Mong and others who have established poultry houses and gained a good reputation for The local product in the eastern market.

There are now twenty rural schools in the township. The only active rural churches in Greenville township outside of the county seat at this time are the Wakefield and St. John's Lutheran churches, already mentioned in Chapter X, and East Zion Reformed church. The latter church was originally established by the Lutheran denomination, being built by Rev. Alexander Klefeker in 1861, and called Zion's Evangelical Lutheran church. Rev. Klefeker came from Pennsylvania in 1853, settled near Gettysburg, and served as pastor of the Lutheran churches then located at Ansonia, Beamsville, Dawn and "The Beach." He was later pastor of the Wakefield church. Because of the scattered location of these churches and the growing use of the English language, it seems, some of the Lutheran churches in the county were finally either discontinued or taken over by the Reformed denomination, which became quite active in the "fifties" and early "sixties." Rev. Kiefeker donated the ground on which the building and cemetery are located and the church was popularly called "Kiefeker church" for many years. The old Concord Christian church on the Milton pike and the Oakland U. B. church located northeast of East Zion have both recently discontinued as have also the Dininger Lutheran church, on the western township line, and the Grand View U. B. church, on the Ansonia pike about four miles north of Greenville.

The supremacy of Greenville township, due largely to early settlement, exceptional size, natural productiveness and the location of the county seat within its precincts, is shown by the tax duplicate of 1913, which lists real estate, outside of Greenville at $4,128,420 and personal property at $2,008,500. When Greenville is included the totals reach $9,556,480, $4,920,244, respectively. It is expected that the amount of chattels listed in 1914, under the new law, will be increased by about $500,000.

The population of Greenville township, including Greenville City, was given in 1910 at 9,263, showing an appreciable increase over the 1900 census, while many townships showed a decrease. This was due largely, but not entirely, to the growth of Greenville. The population in 1850 was 2,366.

For an approximate idea of the development of the live stock industry the reader is referred to the biographical sketches of Lewis Dininger, Jonas Dininger and A. J. Warner.

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