History of Granville Township, Mercer County, 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




GRANVILLE TOWNSHIP

Was organized June 5, 1837, at which time it comprised only that part of the present township lying north of the Greenville treaty line, which was originally a part of Recovery township. The portion south of the treaty line, constituting about two fifths of the township, did not become a part of Granville township until 1849. The first election was held on June 26, 1837, at the house of John Wright. The first township officers are said to have been James Grant, justice of the peace; William Franklin, constable; and John Wright, clerk. The present township officers are as follows: Trustees - Henry Uhlenhake, Joseph Osterfeld and William Evers; clerk, H. A. Beckman; treasurer, Henry Gottemoller; justice of the peace, Joseph J. Schlosser.

The township is bounded on the north by Butler township, on the east by Marion township, on the south by Darke County and on the west by Gibson and Recovery townships. It is practically six miles square; the southern and western lines are slightly irregular. The surface of the township is generally low and level, with an extended basin in the central eastern portion, known as Cranberry Prairie. This prairie was originally something of a marsh but in the years since the settlement of the township it has undergone a wonderful change. The dredging of the Wabash River, which cost many thousands of dollars, has reclaimed all this waste land, which has become the finest farming section of the township. In this locality the Wabash River begins to assume an important aspect; its source is some distance west, on the line between Darke and Mercer counties in the Hog Prairie, which at the present time is all farm land. The land of Granville township is highly productive and is in an advanced state of cultivation. All kinds of grain are grown in abundance, but the soil is best suited to the raising of corn. In 1881 this township had 10,452 acres of arable land; 438 acres of meadow land; and 13,325 acres of woodland. In 1906 there were 13,179 acres of land under cultivation, 2,624 acres of pasture land, 3,891 acres of woodland and 1,829 acres of waste land. Nearly all the original woodland has been cleared and is now under cultivation. Farms of 4o and So acres extent predominate; some men own farms of 160 acres, and Judge Dwyer, of Dayton, Ohio, owns over 400 acres of the Cranberry Prairie, all in one farm, but these are exceptions to the rule. One of the first gas wells in the county was drilled on the Cranberry Prairie, on land owned by Judge Dwyer, and a good supply of gas was found. Afterwards a large gas territory was opened up in Mercer County, which supplied Dayton, Troy, Piqua and other towns with gas for fuel and light for a number of years.

Granville township today can boast of being one of the best townships in the county, as well as being one of the largest and wealthiest. Few farms are encumbered by debt. The farmers in this township take pride in having the best stock that money will buy and as a class are industrious. and economical. Well kept and cultivated farms are seen everywhere; good farm residences and barns are found on nearly all the farms. Thrift is indicated in the neatness of the home surroundings. Good gravel roads are on every hand. The township is crossed by the Cincinnati Northern Railroad, with stations at St. Henry and Burkettsville, thus affording ample shipping facilities. The free rural delivery of mail has been well established in this township and communication by telephone is general throughout the community. The inhabitants as a rule have always been and are now, either German or of German descent. The German people have made this section of the county, transforming it from a wilderness to scores upon scores of productive farms, all under a high state of cultivation. They own nearly all the land. The population of Granville township was 1,616 in 1880, 2,013 in 1890 and 2,329 in 1900.

Granville township has none but Roman Catholic churches, of which there are four, namely: St. Henry's at St. Henry; St. Bernard's at Burkettsville; St. Wendelin's at Wendelin; and St. Francis's, located near the settlement of Cranberry Prairie. The history of these churches will be found in another chapter of this work. Good school buildings, both public and parochial, have been provided for the education of the children. The first public school in the township is said to have been taught by William Franklin.

PIONEERS.

William Simison, a child of the forest, was born in Mercer County, Ohio, May. 22, 1827, being a son of John Simison, who located at Fort Recovery in 1817. William Simison was long a. resident of Granville, township and served as constable two years. His grandfather, William Price, was with Gen. Arthur St. Clair in his defeat at Fort Recovery on November 4, 1791, and afterwards was a soldier under Gen. Anthony Wayne. Mr. Simison's youth was passed amid the exciting scenes of pioneer hardships. He frequently sold his furs to traders in Piqua, and took his pay in hogs, some of them escaping while driving them home. The killing of deer was an ordinary sport, and it created no terror in him to hear the howling of wolves, as he wended his way through the forests a distance of 4o miles to pay a visit to his future companion for life. On one occasion he was compelled to borrow a pair of pants to go home in, his own, which had been used to fill a crack in a log cabin to keep the wolves out, having been torn to shreds.

Among the earliest settlers of Granville townships in and around St. Henry, were the families of Henry, Bernard and James Romer, all of whom settled here when the township was an unbroken wilderness. Henry Bruns and his wife came to the county in 1827 and settled in this township; their son, Bernard Bruns, was an infant at the time; Henry Beckman was a pioneer business man of Granville township as early as 1839. The descendants of the Bruns, Beckman and Romer families are numerous throughout the township and represent the leading business interests of St. Henry and Granville township today. There is scarcely an industry in St. Henry that has not connected with it a member of one of the above named families. Christian Stelzer settled in the township in 1833; his son Casper was born here December 25, 1837. William J. Stetcher has lived here since 1859; his parents, Casper Stetcher and wife, came here in 1833. J. B. Drahman settled here in 1836. Joseph Robbins, an early pioneer of this township, was born in Alsace, France, and settled in Mercer County in 1839. John E. Uhlenhake settled here in 1844 and George A. Mueller, in 1846, while John Shaner came to this section in 1848. Sebastian Gebele settled here in 1849 and Harman Savert in 1854. The Hemmelgarn family came to the township at an early date and located near the settlement of Cranberry Prairie. Joseph Rammel was another early settler of German nativity. Of the English speaking people who settled in Granville township, Alexander Grant, James Grant, William Franklin, Landon Bennett, John Wright, H. E. Franklin, Lot Timbrell, James Dunwoody and Nathaniel Hewitt were among the first settlers. These and many others came to Granville township in an early day and helped to subdue the wilderness. Their descendants are now enjoying the results of their labors.

ST. HENRY.

In the northern part of Granville township is located the thriving and prosperous village of St. Henry, which was laid out by Henry Romer in 1837, the plat being recorded on July 13th. The Romer, Beckman and Bruns families have been intimately connected with its history from the very start. Henry Bruns built the second cabin and started a blacksmithing business, which in later years grew to be an important industry of the town. Henry Beckman was also an early business man here. Joseph B. Drahman formerly conducted a harness shop and general store at this place. The town had a population of about zoo in 188o and was credited with 682 inhabitants in. 1890. It has over 1,000 at the present time. It was incorporated in 1901. The present officers of the town are: Mayor, George A. W. Schlosser; clerk, William H. Romer; treasurer, Joseph J. Romer; marshal, John Gardner; council - J. Henry Hartings, Henry Wimmers, Sebastian Ranley, Bernard K. Kessens, Edward Bellert and Henry Tumbusch. H. J. Anthony is superintendent of the village schools of St. Henry; the High School department ranks as second grade and has 25 pupils. The Cincinnati Northern Railroad passes through the town and the prospects are good for an electric road passing through St. Henry in the near future. St. Henry's Catholic Church, located here, is one of the largest and finest in the county. The parochial school is also one of the best attended in this section.

St. Henry is surrounded by a fine agricultural country and is a trading place for a very considerable district. It has quite a number of flourishing industries, including among which is the South Mercer Flouring Mills, operated by steam power, which are owned by B. G. Plummer. Among other manufacturing concerns of the town we may mention the Bany Washing Machine Company, the Conover Creamery Company, St. Henry Canning Company (canners and packers of vegetables and fruits); Sebastian Ranley, wagon and carriage manufacturing - also dealer in coal; and Wimmers & Wuebker, manufacturers Of tile, brick and cement blocks. The St. Henry Bank, which was organized January 5, 1906, on the individual responsibility plan, is an important addition to the town's business interests. It possesses assets totaling over $135,000. John Henry Romer is president; Henry Romer, vice president and assistant cashier; and William H. Romer, cashier. The mercantile interests' of the place are ably represented by the following firms: B. Forsthoefel, Joseph Bruns and Joseph John. Romer, general stores; Westerheide & Romer; St. Henry Hardware Company and A. Schuerman, hardware and farm implements; Beckman &.Gottemoller, stoves, tinware, tin roofing, etc.; B. J. Lammers and C. C. Siegrist, harness; Ed. J. Schmitz, patent medicines, jewelry, books, etc.; F. H. Gottemoller, furniture and undertaking; Bernard Bertke, West End Hotel; Buschore & Sunderhaus, livery barn; The P. Kuntz & Herr Lumber Company, lumber and building materials, represented by J. J. Moeller; William F. Bruns and L. Gebele, barbers; Louis Kothman, Henry Kevelder and Frank Saunderhaus, liquors; Dr. H. G. Glew, dentist; and Drs. J. A. Schirack and J. J. Mory, physicians and surgeons.

BURKETTSVILLE.

This village is located on the southern line of Granville township and is a station on the Cincinnati Northern Railroad. It was laid out in November, 1876, by Bernard Romer, Jr., Edward Frummel, William Sutherland and Jackson Galder. It was incorporated in 1901, and at the present time has these officials: Mayor, S. S. Erhart; clerk, Elzy Branham; treasurer, J. A. Wehrling; marshal, Joseph Flayler; council - J. W. Birt, George Vandenbosch, John Dresher, Joseph Balmert, J. B. Hemmelgarn and L. B. Jones. Frank Birt is postmaster. Dr. Inman is the only physician. There are two schools. One in conducted in English in a two room, brick schoolhouse by two teachers. The other, a German school, is in charge of one teacher and is taught in a frame schoolhouse. St. Bernard's Catholic Church is located here, also the Novitiate of the Fathers of the Most Precious Blood. The leading business interests of the village are as follows: The grain elevator of S. S. Erhart, tile plant of Aaron Jones, slack barrel factory of Dunn & Company and the general stores of J. W. Birt and Joseph Franks. J. A. Wehrling is proprietor of the village hotel, while J. H. Stimke and Nic. Cordonelia conduct blacksmith shops. The population of the village in 1900 was 23o, but it is now considerably larger.

CRANBERRY PRAIRIE AND WENDELIN

Are small settlements of Granville township - the former near the eastern boundary and the latter on the western line. Each has a Catholic Church. At Cranberry Prairie, B. J. Bertke has a general store, while Joseph Doner conducts a blacksmith shop.

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