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
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.