This township as now constituted lies immediately north of Twin and between Neave and Franklin townships. It
was erected in June, 1838, and named for President Van Buren, who was then in office. At that time it contained
all of township 8 north, range 4 east, that is in Darke county, and all of township 9, north, range 3 east, except
sections 5, 6, 7 and 8, which were included in Greenville township. Franklin township was detached in June, 1839,
being formed of four tiers of sections off the east side.
The northern and extreme western part are drained by some minor branches of Greenville creek, and the southern
part by upper branches of Painter creek.
It is one of the most level townships in the county, and the soil, being largely of an alluvial nature, is very
fertile, producing good crops. As noted in Chapter I, a distinct moranic belt passes through it in a north and
south direction which was formerly traced by the large number of boulders strewn along its track, and the presence
of gravel cairns along its course Some of the boulders along this moraine were of immense size, but most of these
have been blasted, buried or removed, leaving the surface free for cultivation. Before the forests were cut off
and the land drained, it is said that from one to five feet of water covered most of the surface of this township
during half of the year. On this account settlement was delayed and it is probable that no settlers came before
1818. Between this time and 1826, the following pioneers established homes in the wilderness:
Samuel Pearce, Samuel Martin, Elias Burt, Eli Townsend, Jacob Sebring, John Charkwith, Isaac Byers, James Gregory,
David and William Byers, Richard and James Gower. John Forman, Mordecai Ford and Jacob Potoff were also early settlers.
The first school house was built in the southwest quarter of section 20, and was taught by Mordecai Ford. There
are nine school districts in this township.
The Christians are credited with building the first church in the township, which was erected at Delisle, in 1851,
over thirty years after the first settlement. Among the pioneer preachers in this denomination were Revs. Sneithen,
Ashley, Williams and Mordecai Ford.
The United Brethren established a church. at Abbotsville, about 1850, and the Methodists one just east of Jaysville
about the same time. Rev. Edward Caylor caused the erection of a church at Ninevah, near the center of the township,
in the northeast corner of section 2, about 1869. It is now known as Caylor's Chapel. There is also a Dunkard church
across the road from school No. 6, near the center of the north line of section 35.
This township is strictly rural, the only villages being Delisle and Jaysville, both of which are stations on
the D. & U. railway, which crosses diagonally through the southwest part of the township. Jaysville is located
on the west line between sections 18 and 19, and contains an elevator, a store and a blacksmith shop, with a M.
E. church a short distance east. It was named after some member of the Jay family, who were early settlers. The
Ohio Electric railway passes through this hamlet.
Delisle was laid out about 1850, by a Mrs. Fairchild, probably in anticipation of the building of the Greenville
and Miami railroad. It early gave some promise of developing into a good trading center, but like Jaysville, was
too near Greenville and Arcanum to make much of a town.
The Abbottsville cemetery, located on the Arcanum pike and the Ohio Electric railway in section 20, is one of the
prettiest and best kept cemeteries in Darke county, and is the burial place for many families in Arcanum, and the
western part of the township. It seems that a man by the name of Abbott laid off a town in this neighborhood in
early days, and that a store and wagon shop were at one time in operation here. Both of these have disappeared.
Poplar Ridge is the name of a small settlement on the Greenville and West Milton pike, which crosses the northern
part of the township in a direction north of east. This is one of the oldest pikes in the county and is known to
have existed as early as 1815. It was probably cut through the forest during or before the war of 1812, to connect
Greenville with Dayton.
The township has been well drained and piked and one traveling through it now would scarcely suspect that it was
Once practically covered with swamps.
The population in 1910 was 1,360.
The real estate assessment in 1913 was $1,717,590, and the chattels were entered at $603,730.