History of Butler Township, Ohio
From: History of Mercer County, Ohio
and Representative Citizens
Edited & Compiled by: Hon. S. S. Scranton
Published by: Biographical Publishing Company
Chicago, Illinois 1907


Is one of the leading townships of the county. Its land is in a high state of cultivation, the farms are well kept and the buildings are modern and up to date. A great many of the farmhouses are of brick and one seldom sees! other than large capacious barns and granaries. As in the case of the other townships, corn, wheat and oats are the main crops raised. The soil is well adapted to these crops as well as to timothy and clover, which are raised in plentiful crops. The township is traversed by two railroads, the Cincinnati Northern, running north and south and the Lake Erie & Western, which runs from northeast to southwest. Both pass through Coldwater, the principal town, thus affording a good market for the people of the township.

The township was organized June 4, 1838, 25 residents petitioning the County Commissioners for such action, and the first election was held at the house of David Gray on Saturday, July 9, 1838. The township is bounded on the north by Jefferson township, on the east by Jefferson township, the Grand Reservoir and Franklin township, on the south by Granville township, and on the west by Recovery and Washington townships. For the greater part it is six miles from east to west and five and a half miles from north to south, and has an area of about 32 square miles. The township had a population of 1,595 in 1880; 1,930 in 189o; and 1,995 in 1900. The present township officials are as follows: Trustees - Henry Stukenborg, Henry G. Uppenkamp and John L. Bucanon; clerk, D. W. Frick; treasurer, Jacob Wilhoff; justice of the peace; D. W. Frick.


One of the first settlers of the township was J. C. Gray, who came here in 1835. Peter Stevens came here from Licking County, Ohio, in 1837. Philip Baker moved to Mercer County in 1836; his son Jacob settled in section 21, Butler township, in 1840; some of the family still live in the township. The Snider and Frank families were among the earliest settlers of Butler township. Samuel Snider was the first settler on land in section 34. George Frank built the first blacksmith shop. The first store house was built by David Buzzard and the first dwelling house in Coldwater was built by Samuel Snider. John F. Hickman was born in Mercer County in 1836 and lived here all his life. Jeremiah Plummer moved to Mercer County in 1836 and became a resident of Butler township; Isaac Kester, in 1839; and John Buehler and W. B. Wigner, in 1840. Jacob Hyman settled near Coldwater in 1844. John F. Albers, a native of Germany, settled in Butler township in 1846; his family were the first settlers on land in section 4. At this time Mercer County was one vast woods. James Grunden was another pioneer of Butler township, settling here in 1846. Joseph H. Smith entered land in 1832 and settled on it in 1852. He was the first settler on land in section 32. President Martin Van Buren signed his government deed. The Indians were his nearest neighbors on the west. He assisted in building the first schoolhouse in the district. When the family moved on the land they had a big oak tree for their shelter until they raised a cabin in which to live. Wild animals of all kinds abounded. Henry Lennartz settled here with his parents in 1848, when 12 years old. John J. Spoltman came in 1849; John W. Bennett and Herman Nieberding, in 1855; Joseph Birkmeyer, in 1857; and Henry Roetker, in 1858. Butler township is at present settled with a German population, who are an industrious and frugal people.


Butler township has two large and flourishing Roman Catholic churches: Holy Trinity at Coldwater and St. Mary's at Philothea. The history of these churches is given in another chapter of this work.

The Coldwater Methodist Episcopal Church was organized at an early date. It has a present membership of 45, and an average Sunday school attendance of 55. The frame church building has an estimated value of $1,200. This church belongs to the Celina circuit and is served by Rev. C. M. Baker, who resides in Celina, and has charge also of Center and Copps' chapels in Center township and the Montezuma Methodist Episcopal Church in Franklin township. The names of the pastors who have served these appointments in recent years will be found in the sketch of the last mentioned church.

There are two United, Brethren churches in Butler township, Spring Valley and Burnt Wood, both located in the eastern part of the township. Both churches are served by Rev. William Miller. Spring Valley Church belongs to the branch of the denomination known as "Radical," and has only a few members. Burnt Wood Church, which has 10 or 12 members, belongs to the branch known as "Liberal."

Ash Grove Church of the German Baptist Brethren, in the Southern District of Ohio, is located in section 15, Butler township, three miles north of Coldwater. The church was erected in 1893 at a cost of about $1,200. The main part of the church is 34 by 48 feet in dimensions, with an ell 12 by 30 feet. Benjamin Coate and J. C. Shively were the trustees at the time the church was built. Them church has a membership of 28 and during the last quarter there was an average Sunday school attendance of 41. The church is served by local ministers, Revs. F. P. Cordier and A. D. Coate. The original church of the German Baptist Brethren was organized in Germany in 1708, Alexander Mack being one of the organizers. Members of this denomination came to America in the early history of the Colonies and founded the church here.


Butler township is well supplied with excellent district schools. The schoolhouses compare favorably with those in other sections of the county. The Coldwater Village School District has a modern, two story, brick schoolhouse, one of the finest in the county, erected recently at a cost of $10,000, which is a credit to the village. John Omlor is superintendent of the schools, having recently succeeded J. H. Tener in this position. The village Board of Education is constituted as follows: William Wendel, F. A. Franks, Anthony Mesher, J. M. Wilhoff and Charles Stukenborg. The High School department of the village schools has 17 pupils and ranks as third grade.


This village, located in the center of Butler township, on the Cincinnati Northern and Lake Erie & Western. railroads, is one of the most active business towns in the county. It was laid out by William A. O. Munsell, the plat being recorded on August i8, 1859. It is a growing town and has a bank and a newspaper, and all the stores and industries necessary to the welfare and the convenience of the people. It is also well supplied with churches, Holy Trinity Catholic Church, one of the largest structures in the county; and the Coldwater Methodist Episcopal Church. During the last 25 or 30 years the town has had a steady growth. The population was 237 in 1880; 490 in 1890; and 627 in 1900. Coldwater was incorporated as a village in 1883. The present village officers are: Mayor, F. A. Franks; clerk, Edw. W. Hess; treasurer, J. B. Haslinger; and marshal, William Mackey. The village has a Town Hall.

The People's Bank of Coldwater is an incorporated institution under the supervision of the State banking department. The bank, which has been running a number of years, moved into its new bank building in December, 1906. The following are the directors of this institution: John Birkmeyer, F. Birkmeyer, Ben Baker, C. C. Borman, A. D. Coate, H. C. Fox, H. B. Hoffman, Charles Hess, Fred. Hehmeyer, Henry Hagenian, Phil. Kirsch, Anthony Rathweg, J. H. Saalnian, John M. Wilhoff, Martin Wilhoff, John Wilhoff and John Wannarnacher. H. B. Hoffman is cashier.

The Coldwater Chronicle, which was established a few years ago, is conducted by E. B. Lewis as editor and publisher.

Quite a little manufacturing is done at Coldwater for a town of its size. Andrew X. Walter conducts a large brickyard; Anthony Rathweg, a broom factory; Joseph Weamer, a butter tub factory; Henry H. Lampe, an excelsior factory; and Henry Fuerst and J. F. Schults, cigar factories. Fox & Hess operate a grist mill and deal in grain, also having a branch at St. Henry; H. B. Hoffman also operates a grain elevator at Coldwater. There are three general stores, conducted by Henry C. Fox, William Haslinger & Son, and F. Morvilius; three grocery stores, conducted by Joseph Franks, John Sutherland and Mrs. Catherine Desch; three meat markets, run by Becker & Konrath, M. G. Martin and James Schuckman; two millinery establishments, conducted by N. M. Gast and Mrs. D. H. Miller; one tailor shop, owned by F. A. Franks; one clothing store, conducted by Samuel Cahn; one notion store, of which the proprietor is Mrs. Anna Heman; one drug store, conducted by C. E. Schindler; one jewelry store, of which the proprietor is Phil C. Stachler; one confectionery store, conducted by P. E. Arbaugh; two hardware stores, run by Jacob Wiihoff and Kleinhenz & Garner; and three blacksmith shops run by Bernard Brothers, John Martz and Henry Stuve. Other business houses of the town are the following: George Heiser, dealer in vehicles, harness, etc.; Henry Landwehr, harness; Rathweg & Hoyng, implements; Robert Hixon Lumber Company (the Coldwater branch of a Toledo, Ohio, establishment), lumber; Wapelhorst & Mackey, coal; J. F. Hoyng and Henry Wapelhorst, who conduct tinshops and deal in stoves; J. C. Miller, who conducts a repair shop and deals in bicycles; a branch produce store of J. A. Long, of Portland, Indiana; D. H. Miller, hotel; J. B. Birkmeyer, livery stable; J. J. Birkmeyer, barber; J. B. Desch, undertaker, also dealer in furniture; and Desch & Hummer, monuments. Coldwater has three physicians, Drs. Charles W. Mackenbach, C. F. Bolman and Weamer; and one dentist, Dr. H. G. Glew.


Is a small settlement with a population of about 20, situated in the southwest part of the township. St. Mary's Catholic Church is located here. J. H. Bruns & Company have a grocery store here; H. T. Noble, a tailor shop; and Ben. Spoltman, a blacksmith shop.

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