History of Neave 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 contains all of township 11 north, range 2 east, except the two northern tiers of sections which were thrown into Greenville township. It was erected December 5, 1821, and, at that time, contained eight sections of Van Buren township which were detached when Van Buren was organized in June, 1838. If this township had been created to include all of township 11, north, range 2 east, its northern boundary would now run on Sater street, Greenville, thus throwing the county seat in two townships. It was probably to prevent this that the northern tier was detached, while the second tier was included, it seems, on petition of a number of residents, who thought that it would be advantageous to live in the township containing the county seat. Had the second tier been retained it would have made Neave township nearer the normal size and would probably have been better for all concerned.

This township is drained by the upper waters of Mud, Bridge and Painter creeks and the surface, especially in the western portion, is somewhat hilly. The Mud creek prairie was originally almost impassable and, with its bluffs, formed a distinct landmark for the original inhabitants. A distinct glacial moraine passes through this township, leaving unmistakable traces of its origin in the glacial gravel cairns heretofore mentioned at length in Chapter I, to which the reader is referred for a proper conception of this remarkable feature. Although one of the smallest townships in the county, it is one of the most intensely interesting from an archeological and historical standpoint.

From the meager scraps of information that can now be secured it would seem that an ancient and well marked Indian trail entered the southern part of the township, practically following the present Ithaca pike, which is built on the Moraine belt, extending along the Twin creek valley into Preble county. This trail, it seems, was joined by the old Whitewater trail, leading from Miami county, along Greenville creek to Greenville, then south along the east bluff of Mud creek, to below Fort Jefferson, where it joined the above mentioned trail and then probably turned southwest approximately running in direction of the present New Madison Pike. During the war of 1812, this was known as Fort Black trail. The meeting point of the two trails was a few rods north of the present junction of the Ithaca and New Madison pikes, near the point where the latter road is crossed by the line separating sections 27 and 34, Neave township. St. Clair probably came into this trail between Beech Grove and Matchetts Corner following it some three or four miles to Fort Jefferson. It is generally conceded that Wayne cut a trail from Eaton to the neighborhood of West Manchester, and thence in a direction west of north, keeping on the west side of Twin creek, and the present right of way of the C. N. railway, passing just west of the Butler township house, crossing to the east side of the railway in the southern part of section 9, about a mile below Tecumseh (Savona) and then striking directly toward Fort Jefferson. Tradition says that his army camped on the present site of the Schlecty farm in the northeastern part of section 33, where there is a fine spring of water and a good, level, elevated site suitable for that purpose. It is probable, however, that Wayne also used the trail running through Lewisburg, Ithaca and Matchett's Corner for transporting some of his supplies, and the bringing up of some of his troops. An old resident of Neave township said, "The old corduroy road built by General Wayne ran inside the fence to the right of the road leading toward Matchett's Corners. I have many times traversed it as far as I could, at time losing all trace of it."

As before noted, St. Clair built the most advanced post established on his campaign in October, 1791, on the present site of the village of Fort Jefferson. Here three soldiers were hanged, being the first execution of white men in the county. To this post the defeated army of St. Clair retreated on the evening of November 4, 1791, but found it too small to contain any but the most severely wounded, and were compelled to continue on toward Fort Washington.

The wounded were left in this little post with a small detachment of soldiers, and lived in horror of a prospective attack in this exposed position. It is supposed that Captain Shaylor was left in charge of this fort as his name appears in that capacity on January 30, 1792.

An outpost, so far advanced in the enemy's country could only serve as a menace, and of necessity must irritate the Indians. As the Indians were bent on having the Ohio river for the boundary line, they determined to take the fort. On June 25, 1792, a band of Indians to the number of one hundred made an attack on a party of soldiers, who were cutting hay near the fort. Sixteen of the soldiers were killed and missing.

The Indians were dressed in white shirts, and one of them had a scarlet coat on. They also had along with them three horses. They came from and retreated towards the Tawa river. Who commanded the Indians is unknown, but it is positively asserted that the notorious Simon Girty was present.

As General Wilkinson brought the news of the battle from Fort Jefferson, it is probable that he assumed command during the engagement. In his letter to the Secretary of War, dated July 5, 1792, Rufus Putnam, one of the commissioners to the Indians, thinks it was the purpose of the Indian raid to take him prisoner, for he was to have been at Fort Jefferson at the time of the attack, and the Indians had been so notified.

I have been informed, with how much truth I am unable to say, that the engagement took place between the fort and the site of the school house.

Another story is to the effect that some Indians knowing Major Shaylor to be quite fond of hunting, concealed themselves in the neighborhood of the fort and imitated the call of the wild turkey. This enticed the major and his son away from the fort to pursue the game, whereupon they were assailed by the Indians, and attempted to return to the fort. The son was killed but the major got into the fort after a hot pursuit.

As Wayne built Fort Greenville some five miles in advance of this post in the fall of 1793, it is supposed that he had no use for the little fort, regarding it as badly located for his purpose. In commemoration of the building of this post the Greenville Historical Society caused a memorial to be erected on its sit; which was unveiled with appropriate ceremonies in October, 1907, as noted in the chapter on "Notable Events."

Andrew Noftsinger is credited with settling in this township as early as 1810. It seems that he built a block house on the high ground on the western side of Mud creek prairie in the northern part of section 20. In 1817 he built a grist mill on Mud creek, which was said to be the third erected in the county. James Hayes was probably the earliest settler on the site of Fort Jefferson. During the years 1816, 1817 nd 1818, John Ryerson, Moses Arnold, George W. Hight, William Townsend, Hezekiah Vietz, John Puterbaugh and Christian Schiecty came. Dennis Hart settled on Bridge creek in 1819. In 1820 the settlers in this section erected a log school house on the Eaton pike about three fourths of a mile south of the present site of the county infirmary. Here Mr. Hart taught in the winter of 1820-21.

Peter Weaver came in 1819 and located in the northeast quarter of section 29. He built the first house in what is now known as Weaver's Station. John Puterbaugh erected a mill on upper Mud creek, near the southern line of the township, in 1819, which was run by oxen.

Later settlers were George Noggle, T. C. Neave, William and Simeon Chapman and Adam Beeles.

A singular story is told about the naming of the township as follows:

"When the township was formed, H. D. William and John Douglass played a game of cards against Eaton Morris and T. C. Neave, to decide who should name it. Williams and Douglass won, and on playing again between themselves, Williams won, but Neave was so anxious to name the township that he paid Williams $10 for the privilege, and named it after himself."

One of the most striking features of this township are the gravel knolls, located just west of Fort Jefferson and formerly known as the "Hills of Judea." For an extended notice of these, the reader is referred to Chapter I.

The Pennsylvania and C. N. railways cross the western part of this township in a north and south direction, following the Mud creek valley. The D. & U. railway cuts diagonally across the northeast corner while the Ohio Electric railway runs due west from Jaysville to the Eaton pike, and then north on that road towards Greenville. The township has several excellent pikes, but on account of their early construction and the location of the creek valleys they are built largely on the high ground regardless of section lines.

The principal villages are Fort Jefferson and Weaver's Station. The former is located on the line between sections 27 and 28 and now contains an excellent brick M. E. church built in recent years, the township hall, and a memorial monument elsewhere described, besides a store and several residences. The railway station of this name is about half a mile west on the C. N. railway.

The remains of Gosbary Elliot, who was killed by the Indians near Beech Grove, in 1813, are buried in the old cemetery just north of the M. E. church as are also the remains of the following six soldiers who served in the war of 1812: George Calderwood, William DeCamp, Peter Fleck, Richard Matchette, Jonathan Nyswonger and Peter Robinson.

Weaver's Station is on the P. C. C. & St. L. railway, about a mile and a fourth west of Fort Jefferson in section 29. It contains a store, station and elevator. Special school district No. 1 is located a short distance southwest of this village and Mt. Zion U. B. church a short distance west in the center of section 29. The only other church now in the township is the German Baptist in the southwest corner of section 18 along the western line.

There are six school districts in this township, all of which are special.

The real estate was listed for taxation in 1913 at $1,325,630 and the chattels at $799,030.

The population in 1910 was given at 1,091.

The village of Sampson was laid out in the southeast corner of this township in 1846, and within a few years contained several buildings and business enterprises. The building of the D. & U. railway and the location of the town of Delisle on that road about two miles to the northeast caused the decline and final absorption of this village, which is no longer on the map.

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