History of Turtle Creek 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


Turtle Creek township was organized in 1820, but since that date has undergone some change in its boundaries. It occupies a position in the second tier of townships from the west, and has Van Buren and Franklin townships on the north; Franklin and Clinton on the east; Washington and McLean on the south and McLean and Cynthian on the west. The surface is mainly level except along Turtle creek and its branches, where it is somewhat broken. The soil is black loam. In March, 1821, the township was laid out in road districts and in 1822, when organization was probably more complete, it was divided into four road districts. According to the early redords life in this township was peaceful and public affairs were conducted ably and honestly by its leading citizens heads of families which in many cases are still represented here.

Among the settlers who came here in 1812 or earlier were the following: John Kennard, a Kentuckian, took up land on the south half of section 31; William çarddingly entered the northeast quarter of section 18; Cephas Carey located his log cabin near what is now Hardin, and on the present site of the town; Thomas McClish established himself on the present site of Hardin and William Bush became his near neighbor. These settlements were near together and the location was no doubt chosen because of the abundance of wood and water. The winters might be cold but with an abundance of fuel close at hand the little log cabins could be kept warm, while the flowing streams watered the land from which the timber was cut and the cattle and stock, which then, as now, made up a large part of the pioneers' prospective wealth. In 1815 Richard M. Cannon came here from his former home near the present city of Sidney; Richard Lenox and John Lenox came, both having families, and in the same year arrived Joseph Weinberger. In 1816 Kentucky contributed William Davis, who settled in section 30; John Stephens settled in section 28 and Jeremiah White in the same section, while William Grooms established his home in section 29. In 1815 Basil Burton, David Coon and James Davis became residents and in 1818 the families of James Thatcher and Joseph Lyons came here. After the organization of the township it is probable that its advantages became more widely known and among the families who soon after became settlers may be mentioned those of Thomas Shaw, Edwin Barker, Joshua Cole and James A. Graham.

In the face of what must have appeared almost insuperable difficulties, the early settlers sturdily went about improving their section of the county and there seems to have been a great unanimity of sentiment concerning many of the enterprises of a public nature. Roads were among the first necessities and in 1816 the Hardin and Wapakoneta road was laid out and a few years later William Davis did much of the cutting. The second road in the township, connecting Hardin to Sidney, was laid out in 1817. As a fine quality of gravel was at hand, it was net long before use was made of this material and at the present time there are many miles of some of the finest turnpike roads running through the township. Among the principal ones may be mentioned the Turtle Creek Valley pike, the Sidney and Hardin, and the Russel, these running north, south, east and west and intersecting, with turnpikes from other counties. Hardin Station, which is located one mile south of Hardin village was established by the C. C. C. & I. railroad, which runs along the southern boundary of the township. Transportation is no longer a problem in Turtle Creek township and many of the residents own stock in organized companies of this nature. In 1831 William Davis built the first brick house, the first frame one having been erected by Joseph Steinberger in 1829. On June 3, 1818, occurred the first marriage in the township, Cephas Carey, justice of the peace, uniting Richard M. Cannon and Mary Brodrick.


As soon as the actual necessities of life were provided, the residents of Turtle Creek township began to consider ways and means to provide for the education of the children. After a primitive round log structure was erected, which was accomplished in 1816, a Mr. Gibson became the first teacher and among the other early instructors were Richard Lenox, Mrs. Eliza Wells, Mr. Cohoon and Mr. Rosby, a second building having been put up in 1820, on the bank of Turtle creek in the village of Hardin. In 1824 a third school building was erected on land belonging to R. M. Cannon. The cause of education has never since languished in Turtle Creek township and here reside some of the county's best informed and most intelligent citizens. Further information in regard to the schools may be found in the chapter on education.


The town of Hardin has been the principal center of affairs in Turtle Creek township from the beginning of community life, although its present nearness to larger centers of population has had its influence in limiting expansion. At the organization of the county in 1819 it became the seat of justice but in 1820 that honor was transferred to Sidney. The name of Hardin was given in honor of Col. John Hardin, whose prominence as a man and soldier need not be more than recalled in this connection, every Ohio history dwelling on the life and exploits of this brave explorer and victim of Indian treachery. He was assassinated on the spot on which the village of Hardin now stands, in 1792, and it seems appropriated that a memorial should be thus preserved of one who so deserved the admiration of his fellow countrymen. Them original plat of the village of Hardin bore date of October 5, 1816, and consisted of thirty six lots, exclusive of the public square. The original proprietors were Thomas McClish, Joseph. Steinbérger and James Lenox. The first merchants were Robert Aldrich and Aaron Harkness; Hezekiah Stout kept the first hotel and travelers were satisfied with even its "limited capacity and accommodations; William Herr found a public needing his work as cabinetmaker, his business including the making of coffins; Robert Brodrick was the first village blacksmith and Lewis Steinberger probably the first carpenter. The first wagon shop was built in 1840 by Joseph Jackson and C. P. Lenox and W. H. Stephenson were among the early shoemakers. In 1854 William and. Hugh Patten built a sawmill near Hardin, on Turtle creek, which was later operated by the Wilsons until it was destroyed by fire in 1868. In 1869 William, John and Frank Thomas' built a mill on the. east bank of Turtle creek. It burned down some years later, was rebuilt and then burned down again, after which it was not rebuilt. In 1880 the firm of Ewing & Dinsmore established spoke and bent works at Hardin Station, one mile south of the village, it being in the hands of Ewing Brothers for a number of years. The business. was abandoned about 20 years ago, and the old frame building, bought by H. V. Wilson, is now used as a barn, it having been moved to a location half a mile south of Hardin. Hardin Station is chiefly important as a shipping point for stock and grain and as a station for the village of Hardin. The latter place constitutes an independent school district and has a substantial school building. Capable professional men are among its residents and church bodies are well represented. Its present population is 146 individuals. There are two general stores and one blacksmith shop. At Hardin Station; one mile, south of Hardin, there is an elevator and grocery store.


Uno is a small settlement of about twenty two persons in the northwestern part of the township.


Hardin Methodist Episcopal Society - As early as 1819 the Methodists organized a society with a class of eighteen members, who met for worship in private homes. Between 1832 and 1834 they erected a church edifice on a lot donated by Thomas McClish, in the southeast part of. Hardin village. In 1865 a commodious and structurally beautiful building was erected in the northern part of the town and when it was dedicated in August of that year, Rev. Philip A. Drown was the pastor. To this church belong the descendants of the Carey, the Davenports, the Whites, the Bushes, the Carters, the Stephens, the Shaws, the Thatchers, and the Cannons, and other well known families of Turtle Creek. Rev. Parker is present pastor, as also of Cole chapel.

Cole Chapel Methodist Episcopal Society - About 1832, Rev. John Stewart organized the above society at the home of. Joshua Cole and until a building was erected the members met at the home of Mr. Cole. In June, 1865, a frame church building was erected, at a cost of $2,000, near the Turtle Creek Valley pike, in section 5, in which services were subsequently held, to the advancement and growth of life in the community.

White Feather Christian Society - This church organization was founded in 1839, by Elder. Joseph Warbington and others, who met at the home of Samuel Harshbarger. The membership was but nine individuals at that time but the spirit of this little body never gave out and while the society did not feel justified in building a church edifice until about 1855, it was ever a vital and influential body of Christian people. The first church building was on the southwest corner of the northwest quarter of section 2, this land, for building and also for cemetery purposes, being donated by Samuel Harshbãrger. In 1881 a more commodious building was erected on the Sidney and St. Mary's turnpike road, in section 1, much of the cost of labor being freely given by the members. Services have been discontinued by this society for several years.

Turtle Creek Presbyterian Church - In 1865 the Presbyterians in Turtle Creek township decided upon plans to erect a suitable place for their religious meetings. Prior to the completion of this building meetings were regularly held at the residence of William Patton. The edifice then erected cost $4,500, is of brick construction and is located a short distance north of Hardin Station. A number of able and convincing pastors have been in ministerial charge here. Rev. S. A. Dean is present pastor.

There is also a Catholic church in the township, located at St. Patrick.


At various times scientists have shown much interest in Indian relics found in this section and doubtless many museums have been enriched by gifts of the same. There can be little doubt but that at one time the gravelly elevations where the majority, of these relics, including bones, skulls and such vessels as Indians were known to have the habit of interring with their dead, were Indian burying grounds, but of how ancient a date it has probably never been yet decided.


The following is a list of justices of the peace who have held office in Turtle Creek township: James Lenox, 1819; Elisha Williams, 1820; James Lenox, 1822; A. Davenport, 1823; Robert Aldrich, 1823; John McClure, 1824; James Lenox, 1825; Richard It Cannon, 1827; Robert Brodrick, 1827; James Lenox, 1828; D. P. Williams, 1830; R. M. Cannon, 1830; James Lenox, 1831; James A. Graham, 1832; David Carey, 1834; James Lenox, 1834; R. M. Cannon, 1836; John Hutchison, 1839; R. M. Cannon, 1839; William Doak, 1842; James Lenox, 1842; William Doak, 1844; R. M. Cannon, 1845; John Hutchison, 1845; John Williams, 1847; William Doak, 1848; John Hutchison, 1848; F. C. McQuilty, 1850; William Critton, 1851; C. P. Lenox, 1851; F. C. McQuilty, 1853; John Hutchison, 1853 (resigned in, 1855); William Doak, 1854; S. M. Sharp, 1856; C. P. Lenox, 1856; Julius Sharp, 1857; Casper Yinger, 1859; John Hutchison, 1859; John W. Graham, 1860; Fleming Hall, 1862; C. Yinger, 1862; J. P. Heston, 1863; Edwin A. Bell, 1865; C. P. Lenox, 1866; William Doak, 1866; C. P. Lenox, 1869; William Doak; 1869; C. P. Lenox, 1872; George Quillin, 1872; Richard F. Bell, 1873; C. P. Lenox, 1875; Isaac Johnston, 1876; Joseph Hamilton, 1876; John R. Wilson, 1878; Noah Rauch, 1879; John R. Wilson, 1881; Andrew Gain, 1884; John R. Wilson, 1884; Jacob M. Hensel, 1887; H. E. Bell, 1887; A. G. Allton, 1890; A. N. Shaw, 1890; Jacob Hensel, 1891; A. N. Shaw, 1893; J. M. Hensel, 1894; Mark Wilson, 1896; J. M. Hensel, 1897; James Farley, 1898; Mark Wilson, 1899; S. D. Ike, 1901; F. B. Brown, 1903; S. D. Ike, 1904; J. J. Huffman, 1908; Isaac Beery, 1910; John D. Huffman, 1912. The present township officers are: L. A. Richards, of Sidney, clerk; and A. W. Buirley, Watt Loughlin and James E. Burress, trustees.

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