History of Richland 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 as now constituted is less regular in shape than most of the others in the county and comprises territory taken from townships 10-3; 11-3, and 13-2. It was taken from Wayne township with sixteen sections from Greenville and four from Adams, and was erected September 8, 1820. As originally constituted it comprised practically all the, land now included in Allen, Wabash, Brown, York, Richland and two tiers of sections now forming the northern part of Greenville township. In March, 1829, all of township 12, range 2, then belonging to Richland, was put into Greenville township. In December, 1833, Brown township was detached and in June, 1837, York township in its original form was detached, reducing Richland to its present proportions. The entire township is drained by the Stillwater which enters near the northwest corner, runs southeasterly to the center of section 3, then takes a circuitous eastern course through the central part of the county, turns northward in the northern part of section 4, then eastward in the southwest quarter of section 27, and leaves the township near the line between sections 27 and 34. The surface is broken along its course, comprising fertile stretches of bottom land interspersed with hills. There is a diversity of black loam and mixed clay lands which are quite productive under scientific cultivation.

Fort Briar located in the southeastern part of the southwest quarter of section 27, on the south side of the Stillwater just beyond the bend, was erected during the war of 1812, and was used as a place of refuge by the earliest pioneers. Among these were Jacob Hartle, who came in the summer of 1817. David Riffle and sons, Jacob and Solomon, and George Ward came in the spring of 1818, James Stephenson and George Coppess in 1819. These were soon followed by George Beam, Adam Coppess, Henry Stahl, Philip Plessinger, Peter Brewer and John Homey, John Miller and John Coppess, Sr. For some ten years there was no further emigration on account of the ague and milk sickness, which prevailed. From 1834 to about 1850, the following prominent names were added: Daniel Warvel, E. Deming, D. L. Miller, W. J. Warvel, D. Hartzell, Philip Hartzell, George H. Winhiglem, Alfred Coppess, H. Kent, John E. Breaden and S. D. Rush. In more recent years quite a number of German immigrants settled in various parts of the township, so that the population today is largely of German descent. This fact accounts for the fine condition of many of the farms and the relative high standing of this comparatively small township in agricultural matters.

The first school house was erected about 1824 on the farm of John Coppess in section 24, across the creek from the Coppess cemetery. It was built of logs and had a capacious fireplace. John Wilkins and Thomas Crawson taught here. There are now seven school districts in the township.

John Childers, the Baptist minister, mentioned in chapter ten, is credited with delivering the first sermon in the house of James Stephenson. The Methodists purcahsed a building in the Coppess neighborhood which had been erected as a school house and converted it into the first church of the township: The United Brethren built the next church, a log structure, in Beamsville, in 1842, on a site donated by Fred Beam. There is now a church in the southwest corner of section 24, and a Christian church in the center of section 9, besides the churches in Dawn and Beamsville.

The "Big Four" railway crosses the north end of the township, and the Pennsylvania, the southern. There are three villages in Richland township, viz., Beamsville, Nevada (Dawn P. O.) and Stelvideo.

Beamsville.

This village is located on the Stillwater at the intersection of the Greenville and Ansonia pikes near the center of the west line of section 32, range 3. It was platted in 1837, by John Beam, who also erected the first house. Rev. M. Wintermuth, Baptist, was the first preacher in Beamsville, and was succeeded by Rev. Seymour Craig. The Reformed and United Brethren Societies built a union church on the north bank of Stillwater west of Main street about 1842. In later years the Reformed denomination took over the property and held services for several years but finally disbanded. Rev. George Adams represented the Christian church as early as 1848-49. All these denominations have disbanded except the Christian which still has a flourishing church and Sunday school in the village. The township house is located here, also school No. 5, which built a new two room modern brick school house a few years since. A good general mercantile business is carried on in this place. Among the prominent physicians who lived here were Ford, Smith, Hooven, Hostetter, Peck, Tillman, Zellers, Husted and Brandon.

Nevada (Dawn Postoffice.)

This village was laid out in 1854 by L. W. Johnson at the center of section 20, when he erected a saw mill. Additions were later made by Shelley, Birch, Uriah Winbigler, O. F. Davidson and James McFarland. The "Big Four" railway has a station here and considerable mercantile business is transacted. The Methodists built a church on the north side of the village in 1872, and the Christians on the south side in 1907. School No. 4 is located opposite the last named structure on south Main street.

Stelvideo.

This village was laid out by Solomon Farmer in 1851, near the center of the south line of section 9, range 3, township 11. It is located on the Logansport division of the Pennsylvania railway and lies in the midst of a fertile country. The story of its establishment is thus related by an early writer: "About the time when the forty miners' were en route overland to the gold fields of the far Pacific, John Patterson determined to realize his expectations nearer home. He had inherited a large farm, located east of Stelvideo. There being promise of quite a village here, Mr. Patterson brought a number of lots, erected a steam saw mill, a two story tavern and induced the erection of several other buildings. These improvements were made in 1852 and 1853. Through correspondence with Alfred Brisbane, S. Andrews, Dr. Nichols and other noted Socialists, Stelvideo soon became a center for modern radicalism of all kinds, save and exceptfree love.' Meantime, the dress reform movement was being agitated by Amelia Bloomer and other ladies. The costume was generally adopted by the feminine population of this village. So many 'isms' and 'eulogies,' so much amplitudes in freedom and brevity in costume was obnoxious to the people residents in the neighborhood, who proceeded to make Paterson and his 'confreres' desirous of going elsewhere. The Pluribus Unum hotel was vacated, several houses partially completed were left unfinished, the saw mill and other property was disposed of at a sacrifice, and Mr. Patterson and his followers moved to Berlin Heights, in Huron county, where quite a colony of Modern Liberalists of various phases assembled. They published a weekly newspaper, and, for a time, attracted popular attention."

The wearing of "bloomers" by the women of this village, who followed the liberal ideas of those days caused the village to be dubbed "Bloomertown" for many years.

There is a railway station and a grain elevator in this village and a Christian church a short distance north.

The tax assessment of Richland township in 1913, showed real estate to the value of $1,391,130 and chattels amounting to $863,330. The population in 1910 was given at 1,070.

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