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Butler

1882 History of Butler County

On the 24th day of March, 1803, the General Assembly of the State of Ohio passed "An act for the division of the counties of Hamilton and Ross," (Laws of Ohio, Vol. 1, page 9.) by which act the county of Butler was established, comprehending the country included within the following boundaries: Beginning at the northeast corner of section number seven, in the third township of the second range in the Miami purchase; running thence west to the State line; thence north with the State line to a point due west from the middle of the fifth range of townships of the Miami purchase; thence east to the Great Miami River; and bounded on the east by the Miami River and a line running north on the section line from the place of beginning to the Miami River.

The southern boundary of the county, as established by this act, was a west line from the place of beginning. This line, when run, passed through the tier of sections south of the present boundary line, dividing farms, and struck the Miami River in the Colerain bend, about a mile south of the present county line. To remedy this inconvenience, the Legislature passed a law on the 20th of January, 1808, to establish the line between Hamilton and Butler Counties. (Laws of Ohio, Vol. VI, page 19.) By this act the line was established, beginning at the southeast corner of Butler County, as mentioned in the first act; thence westwardly along the line of the tier of sections to the Great Miami River; thence down the Miami River to the point where the line of the next original surveyed township, on the west side of the river, strikes the same; thence west along that line to the western boundary of the State.

On the 15th day of February, 1808, the Legislature established the county of Preble, (Laws of Ohio, Vol. VI, page 164) and made its south boundary a line beginning at the southwest corner of the sixth township in the first range east of the meridian drawn from the month of the Great Miami River (the northwest corner of the college township); thence east along the township line to the range line between the third and fourth ranges; thus cutting off from the county of Butler, on the north, about one tier and a half of sections. The north boundary line of Butler County, as originally established, struck the Miami River on the west side, about two miles above the town of Franklin, opposite where the protection wall, on the east side of the river above Vanderveer's mill, has since been made, at the time the Miami Canal was constructed. On the 30th of January, 1815, the Legislature passed a law attaching that part of Butler County which lay within the first and second fractional townships in the fifth range to the county of Warren, (Laws of Ohio, Vol. XIII, page 109.) and which now comprehends that portion of Franklin Township, Warren County, lying west of the Great Miami River; thus reducing the county of Butler to its present dimensions.

This county was named Butler after General Richard Butler, a heroic soldier of the Revolution. He distinguished himself on more than one occasion in a remarkable manner. He was a native of Pennsylvania, and was one of a family of brothers who were active in the Revolutionary struggle. He lost his life in the memorable defeat of St. Clair (ST.CLAIR) by the Indians, as is told more fully elsewhere

At the same session that the county of Butler was established by the Legislature, a resolution was passed on the 15th day of April, 1803, appointing James Silvers, Benjamin Stites, and David Sutton commissioners to examine and select the most proper place for the seat of justice of Butler County.

These commissioners, having given twenty days' notice of their time and place of meeting, met at the town of Hamilton early in the month of July, 1803, and having taken an oath, as required by the law establishing seats of justice, proceeded to the duties incumbent on them. Several places were proposed to the commissioners as eligible sites for the seat of justice. Amongst the most prominent of them was a beautiful situation immediately on the west bank of the Miami River, about four miles above the town of Hamilton, called the "High Bank tract," then owned by William McClellan and George P. Torrence, adjoining to where the late John WILSON formerly lived.

A company, composed of Jacob Burnet, John Sutherland, Henry Brown, James Smith, and William Ruffin, owned a large tract of land on the west side of the Miami River, opposite the town of Hamilton, including the situation where the town of Rossville (now known as West Hamilton) was afterward laid. They proposed the ground where Rossville now is as an eligible site for the seat of justice.
Israel Ludlow, the proprietor of the town of Hamilton, submitted to the commissioners the following proposition in writing:

"I will give for the use of the county a square for public buildings, agreeably to the plan recorded of the town of Hamilton; also a square for the church and burying-ground, consisting of eight town lots, together with the commons in front of the town, for public uses, such as boat-yards etc. in case the honorable commissioners should conceive the town of Hamilton a convenient and suitable place for the seat of justice; and will also pay two hundred dollars toward the erection of a courthouse." (Signed) Israel Ludlow

The commissioners having examined the different places proposed, after due deliberation decided in favor of the town of Hamilton as the most eligible place for holding the several courts, accepted the proposition of Mr. Ludlow, and established the seat of justice at Hamilton, of which they made report to the Court of Common Pleas, then in session, on the 15th day of July, 1803.

Israel Ludlow died on the 21st of January, 1804, before complying with the proposition made to the commissioners. However, afterwards Charlotte Chambers Ludlow, John Ludlow, and James Findlay, surviving administrators of Israel Ludlow, petitioned the Court of Common Pleas of Butler County for leave to complete the contract, on which the court rendered a decree at the December term, 1808; in pursuance of which decree the administrators paid to the county of Butler the sum of two hundred dollars, and executed a deed for the square of ground at present occupied by the courthouse and public buildings, being in-lots Nos. 95, 96, 97, and 98, in the town, and also a square for the burying ground, being in lots Nos. 13, 14, 15, 16, 29, 30, 31, and 32.

The first associate judges appointed by the Legislature for the county of Butler were James Dunn, John Grerr, and John Kitchel. They met at Hamilton on the 10th day of May, 1803, and held their first Court of Quarter Session at the house of John Torrence, who then kept a tavern in the house standing on the corner of Dayton and Water Streets, on lot No. 132. This house is still standing, and owned by Henry S. Earhart, who has occupied it as a family residence for many years. It was built by John Torrence, and was the first frame building erected in the town of Hamilton outside of the garrison. Although this house was built more than eighty years ago, the framework is as solid and firm, apparently, as it was half a century since. The siding or weather boarding was of black walnut, and was sawed by means of a whipsaw. Every nail used in putting on the siding and roof was made to order by a blacksmith then residing in Hamilton. The judges at this session appointed John Reily their clerk pro tem., divided the county into five townships, and ordered an election to be held in the several townships on the 1st day of June then next, for the election of a sheriff and coroner for the county of Butler, to serve until the general election in October. (Laws of Ohio, Vol. 1, page 69.)

On the 1st day of June, 1803, the associate judges commenced the second session of the Court of Quarter Sessions at the same place in Hamilton. At this session a statement of votes given for sheriff and coroner at the election held on the 1st day of June was returned to the judges, by which it appeared that James Blackburn was elected sheriff and Samuel Dillon coroner.

The first regular term of the Court of Common Pleas for Butler County, at which cases were tried, was commenced on Tuesday, the 12th day of July, 1803, at the house of John Torrence, in Hamilton. The court was composed of Francis Dunlevy, president judge; James Dunn, John Greer, John Kitchel, associate judges; Daniel Symmes prosecuting attorney for the State; James Blackburn, sheriff; John Reily, clerk. The grand jury, being the first impaneled in the county of Butler, were:

1. David Enoch, Foreman
2. James Watson
3. John Scott
4. Samuel Dick
5. William Crooks
6. James Scott
7. Matthew Richardson
8. Robert Lytle
9. Moses Vail
10. James McClure
11. Andrew Christy
12. Benjamin Line
13. Solomon Line
14. John McDonald

At this term John Reily was appointed clerk of the Court of Common Pleas; July 13, 1803, James Heaton was appointed county surveyor for the county of Butler; July 14, 1803, Joseph F. Randolph was appointed county treasurer; and on the same day the court made an order that the building lately occupied and used by the troops of the garrison as a magazine should be assigned to be the jail for Butler County.

The first term of the Supreme Court of the State of Ohio for Butler County. was held at Hamilton on the 11th day of October 1803, by Samuel Huntingdon and William Sprigg, judges; John Reily, clerk; Arthur St. Clair, prosecuting attorney for the State; William McClellan, sheriff.

At their meeting of Tuesday, May 10, 1803, the Court of Quarter Sessions established the boundaries of Fairfield, Lemon, Liberty, Ross and St. Clair Townships.

On the 21st day of January, 1804, the Legislature passed a law to provide for the incorporation of townships. (Laws of Ohio, Vol. 11, page 93.) This law empowered the commissioners of the county to alter the boundaries of townships and to set off new townships.

At a meeting on June 11, 1804, consisting of the following persons, Ezekiel Ball, Matthew Richardson, and Solomon Line, John Reily was appointed their clerk.

 

Fairfield Township

Beginning at the bank of the Miami, on the eastern side, at the place where the south boundary line of the county strikes the same; thence east with the southern boundary line of the county to the southeast corner of section No. 14 of the second township of the second entire range; thence north to the Great Miami River; thence southwestwardly down the same to the place of beginning. Two justices were assigned.

 

Hanover Township

At the meeting of the Board of Commissioners December 2,1811, William Robison, John Wingate, and James Blackburn being present, on petition of the inhabitants of Reily and St. Clair Townships, it was "ordered, that so much of the said townships as lies within the following boundaries, to wit: Beginning at the southeast corner of the surveyed township No. 4 in the second range east of the meridian line drawn from the mouth of the Great Miami River; thence north to the northeast corner of the same township; thence west to the northwest corner thereof; thence south to the southwest corner thereof; thence east to the place of beginning, shall compose a township which shall be known and designated by the name of Hanover Township." Election to be held at the house of Aaron Sachet on the 21st day of December, 1811, for the election of officers.

 

Lemon Township

Beginning on the west bank of the Great Miami, at the southwest corner of fractional township No. 1 in the fourth range west of the Miami; thence north to the northern boundary of the county; thence east with the northern boundary line of the county to the northeast corner thereof; thence southwestwardly and south with the eastern boundary of the county to the southeast corner of section No. 11, township 3, in the third entire range; thence west to the Miami; thence southwestwardly down the Miami to the beginning. Two justices.

 

Liberty Township

Beginning at the southeast corner of section No. 14 of the second township in the second entire range on the south boundary line of the county; thence north to the Great Miami; thence northeastwardly up the Miami to the northern boundary of fractional section No. 10 of the second township in the third or military range; thence east to the eastern boundary of the county; thence south with the eastern boundary of the county to the southeast corner thereof; thence west with the southern boundary of the county to the place of beginning. Two justices.

 

Madison Township

On May 7, 1810, at a meeting of James Smith, James Blackburn and William Robison, commissioners, on petition of some of the inhabitants of Lemon Township, it was "ordered, that so much of the said township of Lemon as lies within the following boundaries to wit: Beginning on the west bank of the Miami at the southwest corner of township No. 1 of the fourth range; thence north with the western boundary line of the said fourth range to the boundary line of the said county of Butler; thence east with the said northern boundary line to the Miami; thence south and southwardly with the meanders of the Miami to the place of beginning, shall compose a township which shall be called and known by the name of Madison Township." Election to be held at the house of Jacob Kemp on the 19th of May, 1810, for the election of township officers.

 

Milford Township

On the petition of a number of the inhabitants of St. Clair Township, December 2, 1805, Milford Township was erected as follows: It was "ordered, that the following tract of land and country, now part of St. Clair Township, in the county aforesaid, to wit: Beginning at the southeast corner of the fifth township of the second range west of the Miami; thence north with the east boundary of the said second range to the north boundary of the county; thence west with the northern boundary line to the northwest corner of the county; thence south with the western boundary line of the county to the southwest corner of the fifth township in the first range thence to the place of beginning, shall compose a township which shall be called and known by the name of Milford Township."

 

Morgan Township

On March 4, 1811, at the meeting of James Blackburn, William Robison, and John Wingate, commissioners it was "ordered, that so much of the township of Ross as lies within the following boundaries, to wit: Beginning at the southwest corner of the county of Butler; thence north with the western boundary line of the said county to the northwest corner of township No. 3 of the first range east of the meridian line drawn from the month of the Great Miami River; thence east with the northern boundary line of the same township to the northeast corner thereof; thence south with the eastern boundary line of the same to the south boundary line of the county of Butler aforesaid; thence west with the said southern boundary line to the place of beginning, shall compose a township which shall be called and known by the name of Morgan Township." Election to be held at the house of William Jenkins on the first Monday of April, 1811, for the election of township officers.

 

Oxford Township

On August 5, 1811, at a session of the same commissioners, on petition of inhabitants of Milford Township, it was "ordered, that so much of the township of Milford as lies within the following boundaries, to wit: Beginning at the northwest corner of the county of Butler; thence south with the western boundary line of the said county of Butler to the southwest corner of township numbered five in the first range east of the meridian line drawn from the mouth of the Great Miami River; thence east with the southern boundary line of the same township. to the southeast corner thereof; thence north with the eastern boundary line thereof to the north boundary line of the said county of Butler; thence west with the same to the place of beginning, shall compose a township which shall be called and known by the name of Oxford Township." Election to be held at the house of Sylvester Lyons on the 24th day of August, 1811, for the election of township officers.

 

Reily Township

On December 7, 1807, on the meeting of James Blackburn, Matthew Richardson, and James Smith, commissioners, on a petition of some of the inhabitants of St. Clair Township, it was "ordered, December 8, 1807, that so much of the township of St. Clair as lies within the following boundaries, to wit: Beginning on the western boundary line of the county at the southwest corner of the fourth township in the first range; thence east with the township line to the southeast corner of the section numbered 32 of the fourth township in the second range; thence north with the sectional line to the north boundary line of the said fourth township in the said second range; thence west with the township line to the western boundary line of the county aforesaid; thence south with the same to the place of beginning, shall compose a township which shall be called and known by the name of Reily Township." Election to be held at the house of Henry Burget on the 2d day of January, 1808, for electing township officers.

 

Ross Township

Beginning on the west bank of the Miami at the northeast corner of fractional township No. 1 of the third range west of the Miami; thence west to the western boundary of the county; thence south to the southwest corner of the county; thence east with the southern boundary of the county to the Miami; thence northeastwardly up the Miami to the place of beginning. One justice.

St.Clair Township

Beginning on the west bank of the Miami at the southwest corner of the fractional township No. 1 of the fourth range west of the Miami; thence north to the northern boundary of the county; thence west to the northwest corner of the county; thence south to the southwest corner of the township No. 4 of the first range west of the Miami; thence east to the Miami; thence northeasterly and northwestwardly up the Miami to the place of beginning. Two justices.

 

Union Township

At the meeting of the commissioners June 2, 1823, "petitions being presented for the division of Liberty Township, ordered that the prayer of said petition be granted, and that the new township be called by the name of Union Township, and that an election be held,".

 

Wayne Township

On the petition of a number of the inhabitants of St. Clair Township, December 2, 1805, Wayne Township was erected as follows: It was "ordered, that the following tract of land and country, now part of St. Clair Township, in the county aforesaid, to wit: Beginning at the southeast corner of the third township of the third range west of the Miami; thence north with the eastern boundary line of said third range to the north boundary line of the county; thence west with said northern boundary line to the west boundary line of said third range; thence south with the said last mentioned line to the southwest corner of the aforesaid third township in the third range aforesaid thence to the place of beginning, shall compose a township to be called and known by the name of Wayne Township."

 

 

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Thomas' Birds of a Feather 2007 Last Modified July 10, 1999