History of Cynthian Township, Shelby County, Ohio
From: History of Shelby County, Ohio
and Representative Citizens
By: A. B C. Hitchcook, Sidney, Ohio
Published by Richmond-Arnold Publishing Co.
Chicago, Ill. 1913

ynthian township is one of the west tier of townships. It is oblong in form, contains 32 sections and extends four miles north and south and eight miles east and west. McLean township bounds it on the north, Turtle Creek on the east and Loramie on the south, while Darke county lies on its western boundary.

Cynthia has a more rolling surface than any other township in the county. Its soil varies, in some parts being clay while in others black loam and sand are found. Its fine gravel beds furnish excellent material for highway construction. Almost centrally from north to south flows Laramie creek, other streams being Buffalo run, Lawrence creek and Salt Lick. Close to and parallel with Loramie creek runs the Miami and Erie canal and Great and South Panther creeks empty into it from the east. The farms and residences throughout the township present abundant evidences Of prosperity on the part of its inhabitants.


There is evidence that Cynthian township attracted settlers as early as 1815. In that year Thomas Butt, John Wise and Conrad Pouches had established themselves with their families, but it is still a question which came first. Nevertheless they soon had other neighbors for between that date and 1824 the following pioneers, some from the older states and others from countries across the sea took up their residences in the township: Leonard and Tobias Danner, Henry Hershaw, Zachariah Hurley, John and Alexander Miller, Samuel and Benjamin Weighty, Jacob Seerfauss, John Barker, John Gates; C. Stoker, William Hicks, George Hannan, William Jerome, Charles Lovell, George Moyer, Jacob, John and Andrew Wise, Robert Steen, J. Shagley, Robert Chambers and John Borden.

As in other sections, the pioneers in Cynthian township lived at first in log cabins and while these primitive dwellings were adequate to their early needs, as they grew more prosperous, frame houses were erected, which still later gave place to those of stone and brick. The first frame house in the township was erected on the present site of Newport by Josias Reaser but he did not, apparently, occupy it, selling it to Cyrus Reese. George Butt was the first to build a brick house, probably burning the brick on his own land. A saw mill, one of the first necessities, was built by Conrad Pouches, and a tannery, another desirable enterprise in a pioneer settlement was started by Stephen Blanchard. William Mills was the first blacksmith and in the villages which rapidly grew, other lines of business were started so that, within the first quarter of a century from the time of settlement, civilized conditions prevailed all over the township. Very early the people began to agitate the subject of schools and the first building especially dedicated to the cause of education was built on land owned by Jacob Wise. The United Brethren appear to have been the first here in the religious field. Originally this township belonged to Loramie but was detached in 1822. The first township election was held at the house of Alexander Miller, July 4, 1822.


Four towns - North Port, Newport, Cynthian and Basinburg - have been platted at different times in the township's history.

North Port - The plat of North Port (incorporated into Newport?) contained twenty lots and was located on the west half of northeast quarter of section 30, town 10, range 5 east and was surveyed for Richard Short, its proprietor, in June, 1839. It was laid out with four streets: Main, North, Elm and South.

Newport was surveyed and platted in the same year as North Port, for Nicholas Wynant. It is situated in section 30, on the Miami and Erie canal and at present has about 140 inhabitants the population having decreased considerably in the last twenty five years. The first frame house as mentioned above was located here and was used as a hotel by Cyrus Reese, who built a second one in which he conducted a grocery store. Pilliod Brothers, C. Belt and John Link, were early business men here and E. Piiliod operated the first steam saw and grist mill. In 1881 O. O. Mathers, of Sidney, established the Newport Flax Mill, which he operated in connection with the Sidney Flax Mill. This mill is still standing but has not been operated for a number of years.

Cynthian - On September 14, 1819, a town was platted, surveyed and recorded, at the Loramie crossing, in section 30, on land which subsequently was owned by the Sweigert family. It was named Cynthian village and a few lots were sold but not enough to make possible a village organization. In 1825 all hope of this was dissipated and the land was purchased by William Mills, who devoted it to agricultural purposes.

Basinburg - There was a time when Basinburg had prospects of becoming a considerable business and social center for the township but progress was slow and its village organization is no longer evident. It was laid out in 1839 by Herman Mier in the northwest quarter of section 18, town. 10, range 5 east, the plats showing sixty five lots, the sixty fifth being donated to the citizens as a site for a church edifice. Its main streets were Main, Canal, Basin, Water, East and South Lane.

Oran, formerly a postoffice, is now a settlement of about thirty eight people, located on the line between sections 27 and 28, and receives mail through Dawson.


The people of ynthian township are well supplied with school facilities, there being eight special school districts, the officials of these being selected from among the leading men of the township. Hopewell special school district's officer for 1911 and 1912: S. M. Bodemiller, president; F. B. Miller, clerk, William Wiley, treasurer, and Charles Snow and Nathan. Cromes, in 1911, the only change in 1912 being that Henry Bodemiller took the place of Nathan Cromes. Grisez special school district for 1911 had John P. Lallemand for president; John Grisez for clerk; Henry Achbach for treasurer, with maize Cardo and Philip Cardo as other members of the board. The officers and members for 1912 were: Jesse Barder, president; John Grisez, clerk; J. P. Lallemand, treasurer, and: Xavier Cardo and Henry Achbach. Turner special school district's board of education for 1912: Henry Sherman, president; Peter Filerman, clerk; Frank Turner, treasurer, and N. A. Paulus, William Kloeker and Jacob Batty. Basinburg special school district in 1911 had John Swartz as president, Michael Loy, clerk, Henry Harrod, treasurer, and Joseph H. Kessler and John Martz, while in 1912 the board was as follows: J. H. Kessler, president; Michael Loy, clerks; Henry Harrod, treasurer, and Frank Lindhaus, John Lengerich and Joseph Wurtz. Short special school district board for 1912 had Henry Eilerman for president; Henry Holscher for clerk; Charles Broerman for treasurer and G. W. Short and Joseph Winner, no change being made in 1912, except that John C Short took the place of Joseph Winner. Forest special school district for 1911 elected J. H. Rhodeharnel as president of its boards; Charles C. Snyder, clerk, David A. McKinstry for treasurer and Robert and Leander Wright as the other members. In 1912 the officials and members were: Leander Wright, William Jelly and W. W. Widener, the same officials serving. Oran special school district's board of education for 1912 had D. W. Christman as president; George Wyatt as treasurer; E. J. Enjàrt as clerk, with David Swab and A. Fagan as other members. Other school statistics may be found in the chapter on education.


Methodist Episcopal Church - In 1872 through the efforts of Dr. Reaner and Mrs. Henry Sweigart, a Sunday school was organized at Newport, which developed into the Methodist Episcopal church at that place. A brick edifice was completed in the fall of 1873, the congregation then under the ministerial charge of Rev. Rauch. In spite of the decreased population of the village this church has maintained its organization and. has always been active in Christian work. Rev. Parker is the present pastor.

Oran. Christian Church - This church originally known as Cynthia Christian church, was founded in 1833, its first members being Samuel Penrod and wife, Isaac Short and wife, Isaac Mann, and George and Samuel Butt and their wives. A church building was erected in 1851 and the congregation is now presided over by Rev. Cain.

The Loramie German Baptist church was organized in 1848 and for a number of years the faithful gathered at stated times in private houses and in the Christian church. In 1865 the membership in the township was augmented by a number who came from other. sections and in the next year an edifice for church purposes was erected and this society was known until 1877 as. the North Branch of the Covington Society. In that year they became a separate congregation, Rev. Jacob Hollinger being elected the first minister.

The United Brethren have a church in this township and there is also a Dunkard church, presided over by Rev. McCokle.

St. Peter's and St. Paul's Catholic church at Newport was erected in 1856, and the same structure is still standing. It has been kept in good repair, and is now a modern structure and a church of which its members should feel proud.


Between 1835 and 1910, Cynthian township has been served by fifty three of its representative citizens in the office of justice of the peace, a list of the same being herewith given: Michael Penrod, 1835; John Miller, 1837; George Hale, 1838; John Miller, 1840; Isaac Short, 1841; John Miller, 1843; G. G Murphy, 1844; Josiah Clawson, 1846; H. Gloyd, 1847; G. G. Murphy, 1847; John Miller, 1848; Harry Floyd, 1853; W. W. Skillen, 1854; James R. Johnston, 1855; Isaac Short, 1858; J. S. Chrisman, 1859; Isaac Short, 1861; Eugene Pilliod, 1862; Isaac Short, 1864; Eugene Pilliod, 1865; M. Merrick, 1867; Isaac Short, 1868; George Barker, 1869; Eugene Pilliod, 1871; Charles Mann, 1871; Edward Huston, 1874; Charles Mann, 1874; Edward Huston, 1877; N. W. Mills, 1877; A. H. Leckey, 1877; Julius Foust, 1880; Francis Turner, 1880; A. H. Luckey, 1883; Frank Turner, 1883; S. S. Laymaster, 1886; John Carpenters 1886; Frank Moorman, 1888 (resigned in 1889): Charles Mann, 1889; Anthony Marshall, 1890; Benjamin F. Foust, 1890; G. W. Carpenter, 1892; R. Harrop, 1893; B. F. Foust, 1893; E. B. Sweigert, 1889; O. W. Nisewonger, 1899; J. F. Withringham, 1902; F. H. Turner, 1902; J. P. Galley, 1903; Wilbur Spraley, 1906; John H. Pickering, 1906; H. H. Short, 1909; J. F. Emert, 1910.

The present township clerk is E. B. Sweigert. Trustees: Joseph Barhorst, Nathan Cromes and James Wolaver.

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