Notebook on Green Township and Smithville Area History by Daniel L. Kieffer

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Notebook on Green Township and Smithville Area History by Daniel L. Kieffer

Pre-Green Township

Dark and fearful in aspect; deep beyond measure in magnitude; dense and unbroken in itself; and interwoven thickly with vines of venom, thorns and under-brus (sic) and high rankling weeds of every description, was the veil of forest which once covered the face of this country. Devoid of habitations of man, unsoiled in sheet, it lay over the entire field of Green township, up to 1811. Indians and wild beasts sporting through swamps and dusky avenues; serpents and reptiles hissing from their lurking places, abounded in swarming populaces all over the land; while the hawk and the buzzard in loud screams acclaimed dominion over the feathery tribe, which seemed to join in emission of uncouth notes from every tree-top. Amid this wild state of things, the first settlement was made upon the soil of Green.

Naming of Green Township

Afterward, when brought into the province of organization, the township took its name from General Green. This township is located north east from the centre of the county, and is designated as township No.17. of range 12, in what once was called "The New Purchase."

Green Boundaries

It is bounded on the north by Milton, on the east by Baughman, on the south by East Union, and on the west by Wayne. The surface of the township is slightly rolling, and in soil very fertile and productive. Its principle streams are, Little Chippewa, in the south east, running north west, and Sugar Creek, in the north west, running south east. Both of these streams are emptying into the Tuscarawas. It is six miles square, and contains thirty-six sections. Green township is well-watered each quarter-section being supplied with at least one good spring. When found in its pristine state, it was covered all over with a dense and heavy forest, with the exception of a square spot of about twelve acres on the south west quarter of section three. This spot being entirely clear from any timber, stump, and even roots. Tall and heavy timber surrounded it on all sides; but when & by whom it was cleared, or what caused it thus to be, has never been discovered. As it appeared that some corn had been raised thereon, by the Indians, the early settlers called it "The Indian Field". Green, in general, had more heavy timber than any of the other townships in the county. The largest tree ever found within the county, was a "White Oak," which stood on the south east quarter of section 22, in this township. This large tree measured a little over 23 feet in circumference, stump high. The timber covering the upland, chiefly consisted of white oak interspersed with hickery (sic), chestnut, red oak, black oak and walnut; and that on the bottom land and along the streams, principally consisted of sugar, maple and beech, mixed with hickery (sic), ash and elm. Thick underbrush abounded all over the township. Rank grass grew in abundence (sic) upon the low land and along the streams while tall weeds of every kind stood up from the soft, wet soil in their green living richness, to the hight (sic) of from two to six feet, all over the land. The face of the township being thus covered, presented it, in aspect, as a most dreary wilderness.

First Exploration

The first exploration ever made throug (sic) the township, was made in the fall of 1802, by a company of four young men who had come from Pennsylvania to Cleveland, who, by some motive or other, were propelled to make a strike southward, aiming for a little town which had just been laid out on the Muskingum, at the junction of the Tuscarawas with the Walhonding river, then called "Tuscarawa," now Coshockton (sic), the seat of Coshockton (sic) county.

First Death (Pre-Green)

On the third day of their journey, after reaching what afterwards was made the south east quarter of section No. 5, of this township (now the farm owned by William Pontius,) not having made quite half the distance of their tramp, they got into some difficulty with the Indians, when one of the young men was shot throug (sic) the breast, and instantly died. The ball passing through his body, and entering into a small sized oak tree, which the Indians for some reason or other, instantly knotched (sic) from the ground up as high as they could reach--perhaps as a monument of their bloodshead (sic). With much terror and dismay the three surviving young men hastened from the scene, without witnessing what was done with the body of their slaughtered companion. Having, in view of retrace, in case they should become lost, blazed the trees along the line of their route, two years afterwards, two of these young men, in company of some others, made a tramp back on the same route. They again saw the "knotched white oak" but neither clew nor trace could be found of the body, which, two year (sic) ago, they had seen fall in crimsoned carnage at its root, by the ball of the "red man"! This was the first death known to have occurred upon the soil of Green township.

First Settlement

The oak thus struck by the fatal ball stood untill (sic) within a few years. It is claimed by some that Green was settled as early as 1804. This, however, is absolutely erronious (sic). The first settlement made within its limits, was made in the spring of 1811. by Michael Thomas, who, with his wife and seven children emigrated from Washington county, Pennsylvania, and settled upon the south west quarter of section No. 33. now known as "the Bechtel farm." Isolated and alone, was this family in the wilderness of Green, until some time in the summer of the succeeding year, when Thomas Boydston and his wife, who had just been married, came from Green county, Pennsylvania, and settled on the north west quarter of the same section. These were all the white people within the township of Green, until the Spring of 1814. Lorenzo Winkler then with his family came from Monongahala (sic) county, Virginia, and settled on section No. 22. These were the first three white families within the limits of the township.

In consequence of the slow emigration to the west, on account of the war of 1812, the township became settled very slowly up to 1815. Its earliest settlers were nearly all of English and Irish descent; among whom were, beside those named, George Boydston, David McConahay, David Boydston, Thomas Hayse, David Antles, Thomas Dawson, John Wade, George Smith, Benjamin Boydston, Thomas Smith, Jacob Breakfield, John Harris, Douglas Wilford, Barter Harris, James Sparks, John McFaddin, Samuel Fergason, William Sparks, John Hobbs, Frances Shackler, Isaac Robbins, Phineas Burrwell, Thomas Johnston, John Bigham, Robert Calvins, Jacob Cook, Charles Kelly, William Ruffcorn, George Carson, Jacob Breakbail, and Thomas Alison.

Green Township Official April 1817

Not struck off, the township, in legal measures, remained with East Union, until 1817. It now had attained a population of 147. of which 26 were legal voters. On application it then was struck off, named, and became organized. On the 7th day of April, in 1817. the electors convened at the residence of William Barnett, a small log-cabin, then on the north east quarter of section 21, for to elect their own officers for the first time.

First Election

First Judges

By unanimous acclimation (sic), on motion of David Boydston, Thomas Hays, David McConahay and Thomas Davison were appointed Judges;

First Clerks

and Thomas Boydston and Jacob Breakfield Clerks, for to hold the election.

First Elected Officers

The officers elected were as follows: David McConahay and George Boydston, Justice / Police order / and Safetys of the peace; Peter Flickinger, George Boydston and Thomas Hays Trustees; Thomas Dawson, Treasurer; David Boydston, Clerk; Lorenzo Winkler, Lister and Appraiser; George Smith, Constable; Jacob Breakfield, Overseer of the poor; John Harris, Fence Viewer; and Douglas Wilfort, Supervisor. These were the officers of the township for the first year after its organization.

Green remained in one undivided district until the 18th day of April, 1818, when the Trustees divided it through the centre, east and west into two equal road districts - designating the southern half of the township as district No. 1. and the northern half as district No. 2. assigning District No. 1. to David Burgan, and that of No. 2. to Jacob Kieffer, as Supervisors. For one year before this division being made, the one Supervisor had jurisdiction over the entire township. From 1818, up to 1822, Green remained in two districts.

First Highways

On the 4th day of March, 1822, the first division line was erased, and the township laid out into three districts. The part of the Portage road now running through the north western part of the township, was the first public road opened in Green; the survey of which was made in the spring of 1817. This survey was made by Cyrus Spink, who was assisted by Joseph Barkdoll. The chain was carried by George Bender and Adam Kieffer, and Peter Flickinger carrying the axe as marker. The next road opened in Green was run through the southern part of the township, then called the Wooster and Kindle road. Its survey was made in 1818.

Labor & Food

The disadvantages and inconveniences under which the settlers of Green for the first ten years were compelled to labor, on account of the few and poor roads, in addition to the hardships common to pioneer life, were many, and very great; one of which was the great distance to flouring mills. At times some were obliged to go to Cuyahoga Falls, in Summit County, for milling, or to Canton, in Stark county. On account of the great distance and bad roads, men would oft times remain for their "grist", in which case many a time weeks intervened ere their return.

For instance: Robert Calvins, one morning making ready his "Ox team" for a trip to the Caton (sic) Mills, loading a little wheat in view of getting it converted into flour, was interrogated by his wife, as to what she and the "little ones" were to subsist on during his absence, replied, that there was a little bran in what they call "a sugar trough," covered up with some clap-boards, which she might make use of, and that he thought the potatoes which they had planted, had, by that time taken root enough so that the old ones could be extracted from the hills without destroying the younger growths, that by using them in addition to the bran, they perhaps could get along until he returned. Many instances consequent to want and privation, equally stern and severe might here be given, which, from want of time and space, must be excluded.

First Births

The first born in the township was Martha, daughter of Michael Thomas. She was born on the 25th day of September, in 1812. The second birth was that of Richard Antles, who was born on the 3rd day of February 1813.

First Marriages

In 1815, the first wedding was had in Green, which was solemnized by Priest Jones, in the marriage of Liverton Thomas, to Anna Wade.

First Occupations

In 1815, George Bair, the first shoemaker in Green, settled on the north west quarter of section No. 10. the farm now owned by A. H. Myers. In the same year Jonathan Casebier, settled on the north east quarter of section No. 32, he being the first black smith in the township. This being the farm now owned by Daniel Wenger. In 1819, the first saw mill was put up in the township, which was built by Thomas Smith, on the site whereon the grist mill of Smithville now stands. The first frame building in Green, was put up in 1822, on the north east quarter of section No. 19, now the farm of Cyrus Hoover. This was a small dwelling house for George Boydston. In 1826, the first bank barn was put up. It being built by John Zook, on the south west quarter of section No. 28, now the farm of R. Buckwalter. In 1827, Peter Flickinger put up the first brick house in Green--it being the present residence of J. M. Flickinger.


In the fall of 1815, John Wade got up a "hand mill," whereon to crush corn, for family use. This mill was established upon the farm now owned by D. L. Kieffer, and simply consisted of a lower stone of about two feet in diameter, which he had hammered as near round as he could with the pole of an axe, then putting around it a hoop made of a large piece of hickery (sic) bark, and, placing a stone of similar shape on top of the lower, through the centre of the upper a hold being picked with an iron wedge, in which hole an upright stick of wood being fastened, with a crosspiece over it in the shape of an auger handle. This mill was executed by lifting the upper stone, then throwing a handful of corn on the lower, and replacing the upper, then grasping each end of said crosspiece, and turning it with vigor, as you would turn an auger handle in the act of boaring (sic) a hole. For years some of the early settlers were compelled to resort to this tiresome contrivence (sic). Sometimes two or tree of the neighbors would meet there before daylight, and help each other to run it "turn-about," then at night go home with a mite of meal which would last them but a few days! They called it "The Sweat Mill," because by sweat it was run. In course of time there was put up a small mill which was run by horse power, and the Sweat Mill was denounced a "nuisance," and became abandoned.

Indian Village

On section No. 21, were seen remains of a small Indian village, of which seven huts appeared as late as 1819. In the fall of that year, on one sunny afternoon, in the golden season of "Indian Summer," after the many-colored forest had shed its "verdant honors," a company of about a dozen of the red-faced tribe returned from the west, once more to look upon their abandoned hamlet. After viewing it and its changed surroundings, and the many changes which had, since their departure, fallen from the hands of the pale-faced race upon things in general, some of them were moved to tears. And, oh! Who could read their feelings! They looked at the fast sinking sun - at once arose - set on fire their last seven hust (sic) in Green township, then again wended themselves Westward.

First States Warrant

The first states warrant ever issued in Green, was issued on the 5th day of April, in 1818, by George Boydston, the first justice of the peace in the township. The action being brought on complaint of Cephas Clark, against John Freasure, for assault and battery. It appears that a difficulty arose out of Freasure's pretension by profession to be a "fortune teller" - that Clark had his fortune told by Freasure "on tick" - that the favorable predictions alleged by Freasure proved failure to Clark - that Clark, therefore, refused to pay Freasure, and, consequently a most fearful infliction of battery by Freasure upon the body of Clark. Both Clark and Freasure were residents of East Union township; but in view of increase of costs, the case was brought to Green township.

Religious Services

In 1812, Green had the first sermon preached. Among the earliest institutions of all nations, are those which regard religious worship. It has so been from the beginning. The uninstructed savage will infer the existence of a God, and His attributes, from the general order and mechanism of nature. The temporary irregularities of the natural world around us, even lead to religious veneration of the unknown Power which conducts it. Incited under these impulsions, and elicited under aspiration at the truth of Christianity, those who made the first settlement upon the soil of Green, sought early to assemble for to worship. So, the first sermon preached in Green, was delivered on the evening of the 8th day of October, in 1812, in the little round-log cabin dwelling of Michael Thomas, which was, as already stated, "the first abode of man," in the township. There were but two families in Green at the time; but this cabin standing not very far from the East Union line, some came from that township, making a congregation of sixteen. Early in the evening, after perhaps a dozen had convened at the cabin of Mr. Thomas, a young minister called "The Rev. Mr. Gray", who being stationed here as a missionary, was seen coming along on horse back, winding around through under-brush and frost-bitten butter weeds, when all ran out to meet him. Under "fervent greetings warm," he pressed their hands, exclaiming: "I believe I have found my little flock in the desert"! After supper of venison and Johnny cake was served from the table made of split clapboards, the minister took his text from the 9th verse of the 72nd Psalm: "They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before Him." His discourse was congruent, eligible, sweet and impressive - commending his little flock to Him who smiled upon the "Faithful" in the wilderness of old.

The first house of worship erected in Green, was the old wood-colored churchlet still standing on the eastern border of the village of Smithville. On the 16th day of June, 1830, James Hazlett, conveyed by Deed a lot of about 1 1/2 acres of ground to the Presbyterian congregation of Green, in appropriation for a churchyard and burying ground, whereon this little church building was erected in the fall of the same year. The job was undertaken and executed by John Graham and Hugh McIntyre. Nearly all Christian denominations then here, aided in building this house; and for many years of nearly all denominations from different townships met here to worship. Disputations on doctrinal points were not indulged in then; but, under motives of purity and one-ness of heart, were then the greetings at the "Shrine of Grace".

Here, in this little church building, many a youth has heard the first sermon preached; and many of the aged, who are still among us, were here awakened to the duty of Christianity.


The first grave opened on this burying ground, was that of "little Johnny," who had seen the flowers of three summers - a child of William Lang, in 1830. It was in the afternoon of the 2nd day of November, and the little boy, with meekened face and folded hands was placed above his lovely little tomb in the woods, and the light of the world shone upon him the last time forever! But, many a grave has since been gathered to that of little Johnny. Many of the early settlers, who strove hand in hand, in subduing the wilderness, here are resting side by side; while the little church building, still shadowing fourth (sic) the sacredness of its ancient simplicity, seems though in silent reverence, to hold communion with the peace of their ashes! It is here that the aged Daniel Davidson, perhaps the latest of the Revolutionary heroes, lieth entombed.

Educational Services

First Schoolhouse

In 1818, the first school was taught in Green. The first emigrants to the township were from western parts of Pennsylvania and Virginia, from localities where, to some extend (sic), they had been taught to see and feel the value of education. Stimulated under this sense of feeling, with keen vehemence they looked forward to the day that might open to them a school for to educate their children. But, under servitude of want and privation then holding regency over the domain of the wilderness, they were, for the first seven years, denied the sacred object of their desire. It was now in the fall of 1818, and a young man by the name of Peter Kane, who had made progress in literature at the University of Oxford, in England, and had for some time been teaching in Canada, crossed Lake Erie, and striking south, happening to come to the settled portion of Green township. On his arrival here, and after making known his profession as a teacher, with much joy and gladness the citizens procured his service for one year. There not being any place in the township wherein to hold school, and to arrange matters in accordance with convenience as far as possible under the rude circumstances, the centre of the most thickly settled part of the township was deemed the site eligible for a schoolhouse, which fell upon the north west quarter of section No. 23, now the farm owned by Christian Yoder. Accordingly, and fourthwith (sic), there was erected on the site chosen a round-log cabin, 18 by 22 feet - adorned with a split-puncheon floor - clap-board and weight-pole roof - stick and mud chimney built up on the outside with a large fire-place inside - with two windows, one on each long side, about 10 inches high and 8 feet wide over which were papers pasted saturated with bear's oil in service of glass panes. The seats were also made of split-puncheons, and the door and desks of clap-boards. Thus was finished and furnished the first school house in Green township. The branches then taught were Orthography, Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. The text books used were the United States Spelling Book, the Testament, Murray's English Reader, and the Western Calculator. The children and youth of the township in general, gathered to the door and around the desks of this rustic little cabin for one year. They here greeted each other with feelings as warm as those who now meet under slated roofs and frescoed ceilings. They reveled in sports as innocent, anticipated with hopes as high, and rejoiced with hearts as pure as those who now gather to the doors of marble halls.

Second Schoolhouse

The second school taught in Green was a term of four months, commencing in the fall of 1822, taught by George Boydston, in a small log-cabin then standing on the north east quarter of section No. 29, now the farm owned by John Freeman. The text books and branches taught were the same as those in the school of Mr. Kane.

Third Schoolhouse

The third school in the township commenced in the fall of 1824, taught by Adam Kieffer, in a small cabin erected on the north east quarter of section No. 8, now the farm owned by Joseph Myers. As by this time a number of German families resided within the township, German orthography, Reading and Writing were taught in addition to the English branches which had previously been taught. This being the first German teaching in Green. The 'Free School System,' which, in conformity with the provision of the constitution of Ohio by legislative enactment, had just been introduced and regarded as a settled policy of the State, now began faintly to dawn upon the consideration of the inhabitants of the township; but not with the force requisite to its establishment until 1827. Now, having attained a population of 629, of which number 118 were householders, and the agitation of the matter having ripened into achievement, pursuant to a call of a meeting of the trustees, Peter Flickinger, Adam Kieffer and Jacob Bowman on the 7th day of November, met at the residence of the latter, (now the residence of Robert Hutchison) and, in compliance with a petition of a majority of its householders, divided the township into four equal school districts; pointing out the centre of section No. 11, as location for schoolhouse No. 1 - the centre of section No. 8 for that of No. 2 - the centre of section No. 29 for No. 3, and the centre of section No. 36, as the site for schoolhouse No. 4. In the spring following the erection of a school house in each of these districts was contracted for, and vigorous efforts were put fourth (sic) for to establish the free school system in Green. After two of these buildings were commenced, some began with impropriety and protest to look upon the large divisions of the township, and the entire procedure; while others deemed the plan eligible, and resolved to carry it forward. By this time, however, some of the inferior views to those of the first settlers infested the township; some being of the "Papal persuasion," preferring illiteracy to learning; some who could neither read nor write denounced education a course (sic) to the welfare of man. Hence, much discord and dissatisfaction ensued; and, on the night of the second day of November, in 1818, after the cabin put up on section No. 8. was finished, and the one on section No. 11. being raised, the former was set on fire and burn (sic) down into ashes, and the log walls of the latter were demollished (sic) to the ground. So the matter rested at this for about one year. The number of householders now having swollen to 131, and, petitioning anew for smaller school districts, the township was, on the 25th day of November, 1829, divided east and west, into three equal ranges, of which, the northern and southern ones were cut into two equal districts each, and the range in the centre equally, into three, making seven districts in the township - not being, however, all of an equal size. This met the approbation of the citizens with a still less welcome than did the former divisions. Here exertion again fell into relapse; and for a space of six years no steps were taken toward establishing schools in Green. In this state of things the township scholastically progressed very slowly. Although there were now and then short terms of what were called subscription schools here and there instituted in the township; but as many of the inhabitants were under poor circumstances, the greater portion of the children were deprived entirely from school. In the winter of 1835, the cause again became agitated, and on the 7th day of March, 1836, the trustees laid out the township into nine equal districts. At this date the householders numbering 226 - entire population, 1,187. Harmony now seemed to prevail; and during the ensuing summer each district became supplied with a small school house, some of which being hewed log cabins, and some of the cheapest of frames. Thus, free schools finally became established in Green. By this time, many of the inhabitants were from German localities of Pennsylvania; and the earliest settlers who were, as stated before, of English and Irish progeny, had nearly all moved away, and quite a number of Germans just from Europe had come into the township. Consequently, the first free schools in Green were nearly entirely German. The following named gentlemen taught the first free schools in the several districts of Green, respectively, to-wit:

John Peters,     in district number 1.
M. E. Fowler,    in   "       "     2.
Heinerich Woldenhousen, in dis. no. 3.
Benjamin Musser,        in  "    "  4.
Cyrus Jeffries,         in  "    "  5.
John Martin,            in  "    "  6.
John Herman,            in  "    "  7.
___________             in  "    "  8.
Joseph Wilford,         in  "    "  9.

All of these teachers have long since disappeared from the township with the exception of Mr. Musser, who is still living in the district where fourty (sic) years ago he taught the first free school. About that time, between teaching, Mr. Musser laboured in clearing off the ground now occupied by the beautiful yard and edifice of "The Smithville High School," where since he has permanently established himself under the distinction of the "far famed master of chirography." For about fourteen years after the establishment of free schools in Green, there was taught nothing above Orthography, Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. Many a youth quite finished his course without the faintest idea of anything higher. If a young man then could read, write, and work to the "Single Rule of Three," in the Western Calculator, he was considered a scholar of the highest order.

Colleges / Universities / and Professional Schools

The first students from Green, to a higher than common school, embarked in 1845. Joseph Martin, Esther Martin, (now Mrs. Dr. Perky,) D. L. Keiffer and John Brenizor were the first four who engaged, as it then was looked upon, in this degenerating enterprise. It was thought that sloth, indolence and corruption promoted them to resort to this perversion of principle. Suspicion marked them as aspirants at degeneracy of the lowest grade.

Grammar Introduced

There was no Grammar introduced in any of the schools of Green, until 1850, when Campbell Beall introduced it in district No. 4. - D. L. Keiffer in No. 6. and Joseph Harsh in No. 2. About this time summerschools, too, became general in the township; and the darkness which so long enshrouded the intellect of Green, became gradually dispelled; and the township is now prepared, intelligently, to vie with any of her sister townships. Green has now better school buildings than any other township in the county. One of the best Academy Schools in the State, is located in Smithville in Green. This institution was established in 1866, and has ever since been under the superintendency of Prof. J. B. Eberly, A.M. This school has now prepared and sent forth over three thousand different teachers. Green township in its infancy, gave promise of intelligence; and although in after years, groveling under the shadow of illiterature, it prepared itself to meet its manhood upon "The Lustre of Lore".

First Singing School

The first singing school had in Green was taught by Joseph Wilford, in the fall of 1819. The music book then in use was called "The Beuties (sic) of Harmony," a work which was published at Philadelphia as early as 1776, by Lewis & Stockton. For many years this book took the lead as the musical standard in America, and but a few copies of it are now in existence.

First Sunday School

The first Sunday School in Green township was organized in the Spring of 1828, in the small round-log residence of Thomas Hayse on the north west quarter of section 15. now the farm of Gideon Smoker. Hugh McIntyre being the first superintendent. George Leasure, Polly Leasure, Thomas Hayse and Eliza Hayse were the first teachers. The children of Mr. Hayse, Mr. McIntyre and William Ruffcorn constituted the pupilage, numbering 18. at the first organization. This school was continued at the residence of Mr. Hayse until 1831, after the finishing of the Presbyterian Church, where afterwards Smithville was located. This organization was called "The Green township Union Sunday School." The fast settling up of the vicinity of this little church, and the establishment and progress of the adjacent village of Smithville, yielded rapid increase to the Sunday school, which being continued in the Presbyterian Church until 1848. when it was removed to the Meeting house of the Weinbrenerians (sic). Its name now became changed, and it was called "The Smithville Union Sunday School." Since it first was organized from year to year, after short suspension during inclemency of winter, the origional (sic) organization was reassumed, and should propriety demand it, new officers were elected, and the interest of the school was enhanced with marked success. In 1860, It was moved to the Church of St. Paul in Smithville, where it has ever since been kept. This Union Sunday School, now under organization well nigh fifty years, at present enrolls a pupilage of about 140. Mrs. Jane Martin is the only person that attends this Sunday School at present, who witnessed its first organization, over ten and fourty years ago. There are now 8 Sunday Schools organized in Green, of which the entire pupilage numbers some over one thousand.

Deaths & Burial

The first death in Green, after settlement was made in the township, occurred on the 27th day of December, in 1817. While in the act of raising a round-log cabin barn, on the north-west quarter of section No. 10, the land then owned by Daniel Blocker, afterwards known as "The Old Ruble Farm," and now owned by A. H. Myers, by some means or other, a stick of timber fell from the top of the building upon the breast of Christian Partshie, killing him instantly. This took place late in the afternoon. The dead body then was taken to the house on the place of accident, which being a small round-log cabin, standing right in the woods. Early on next morning, he was wrapt in his "Winding Sheet." Phillip Leasure and Daniel Blocker, then went fourth (sic) to seek a place for his grave, which was selected on the north-west quarter of section No. 4. whereon his family then resided - the now owned by Abraham Huffman. There, on a cold morning, in the heart of a dark and dense forest, with axe and shovel, David Speicher and John Flickinger, then young men, cut through the roots of trees and frozen ground to make the grave. And, as no materials for a coffin could be procured nearer than Wooster, which being over ten miles distant, and the unprepared circumstances of the neighbours - the poor roads and inclemency of the weather not permitting of going that distance in time for interment, it was concluded to take the boards used for a box on the wagon whereon Daniel Blocker had emigrated from Pennsylvania for to make the coffin out of. So then, Philip Leasure, being an edge-tool mechanic, fell to work and made the coffin. Jno. Jacob Keiffer, being a Blacksmith, went home to Milton township, and with his hammer made the nails wherewith to nail it together. On the second day after the fatal accident, the people of Green, who were then but few in number, for the first time repaired to "the house of mourning" They then proceeded to the grave - not with pomp and ostentation which speaks of rank and royalty; but in simplicity and purity of oneness of heart then common to all - carrying the coffin on hand-spikes, over a distance of more than two miles - through the woods - over trunks of trees and under-brush - there, with his aged mother - with his wife and orphan children who casted themselves in agony upon the frozen clods which thus unexpectedly separated them from their supporter in a lonely wilderness - a husband and father, to take the last look at their pioneer-brother whom they had loved and respected - and seen thus fall in their midst! At the grave, prayer was made by Phillip Leasure - a hymn being read and "lead in song" by Michael Kieffer. Thus was buried the pioneer who filled the first grave in Green township. Nine and fifty times the Robin has since sang for him. Summer suns and winter-storms of nine and fifty years since held their interchange above him. Dark Clouds may gather - tempists (sic) may howl - lightnings may swiftly pass from cloud to cloud - thunders may roar in their fearful majesty, but he not heedeth them, though all alone he sleepeth - his sleep be sweet - his rest be peace!

The second death in the township was that of George Payne, who was the grand-father of John Winkler, the oldest resident now living in Green. Mr. Payne died in October, of 1819.

Church Organizations

There are now 9 different church organizations in Green, namely,

The Methodists.
The Amisch. (sic)
The German Bapdists. (sic) (Dunkerds.)
The Presbyterians.
The Weinbrenariens. (sic)
The Lutherians (sic)
The River Brethern. (sic)
The Brethern (sic) in Christ.
The United Brethern. (sic)

The Methodists, 1st Church

The first of these organizations was had in 1814, by the Methodists, in the little cabin of Michael Thomas, under the pastoral influence of Rev. Summerville. The membership resulting from that organization consisted of six in number, namely: Lawrance Winkler, and his wife - John Wade and his wife, and Michael Thomas and his wife. For the first five years after organization the (sic) continued to congregate at the cabin of Mr. Thomas, in religious service. In 1819, they moved their seat of service to the cabin of Lawrance Winkler, where they continued to worship until 1828, when Mr. Winkler removed to Chester township. They then took up for their meeting place a cabin which was put up for to hold school in near where afterwards School house No. 9. was erected. Here they continued their meetings until on the Baughman township side of Orrville, their denomination put up a church building, where they since then meet to worship.

In 1842, they organized a class at Smithville, in the little cabin School house then standing on the N.E. corner of the Presbyterian Church ground - (now the dwelling house of Yost Baker). The members of this class were David Antles, Hanson Brown, Mother Miller, Mr. Simon Bowman, Mrs. Greager and Mrs. Weed. Within one year all of these members became scattered, and their organization "was not." In 1864, they again organized in the old Presbyterian Church, under the voice of Rev. James Elliott; but their membership being of exceeding limit, this organization was of but short duration. In 1866, the (sic) had an other organization at Smithville, in the old grove of I. A. Keiffer. This being held under the influence of Rev. A. Reader. Since the last organization of this church, they erected a neat little house of worship at Smithville, and the church it is in prosperous condition.

Amish, 2nd Church

The second church organization in Green was that of the Amish. This being organized in 1816. Their pastor being David Zook. The first elders of this denomination were Peter Yoder, John Zook and Benjamin Schrag. In 1862, they put up a house of worship near the centre of Green, comfortably seating an auditory of about 500. This is perhaps the only meeting house owned by this denomination in the United States. The beauty of simplicity and neatness, which is the chief characteristic of the modest little building certainly is remarkable. And, the attention bestowed upon it in reparation, commands the admiration of the passer-by.

German Baptists, The Dunkerds, 3rd Church

The third organization was that of the German Bapdists (sic) (The Dunkerds.) This denomination organized in 1826, on what was then called "The John Shoemaker farm". This organization extends over what they call their district, including different counties, but its organization was had here, and for many years the residence of Rev. John Shoemaker was one of their chief meeting places.

Presbyterian, 4th Church

The fourth church organization in Green was that of the Presbyterians, which took place in 1830, at Smithville, in their church building then being finished. This organization was had under Rev. Mr. Thomas Barr, Sr. The membership resulting there from ____ consisted of 40 in number. George Leasure being the first ruling elder of this organization. The Pastoral order descends as follows:

Rev. Thomas Barr, Sr.
Rev. Thomas Beer.
Rev. J. McCray.
Rev. H. Nouse
Rev. Philo Sample.
Rev. Mr. McCanlish.
Rev. Robert Finly.
Rev. Edward Barr.
Rev. Mr. Virtue.

Winebrennerian, 5th Church

The fifth organization being that of the followers of John Weinebrenner, (sic) who organized in 1839. at the residence of Christian Allaman, on the south west quarter of section No. 14. the farm now owned by David Arick. This organization being had under Rev. Samuel Miller and John Keller. The members of this organization were as follows:

Christian Allaman, and his wife.
David Shelly, and his wife.
Jacob Axe, and his wife.
John Peters, and his wife.
John Oberling, and his wife.
John St. Myers, and his wife.

Christian Allaman being appointed elder, and David Shelly was appointed the first deacon. In less than two years after this organization Mr. Allaman died, and the other members all scattered off. So in 1841, The same denomination organized at Smithville, in the little cabin schoolhouse then standing on the north east corner of the Presbyterian Church ground, under Rev. Samuel Scherrich. The membership of this organization consisted of Peter Eberly and wife, Samuel Plymesser and wife, Jacob Schroll and wife, Daniel Williams and wife, Hugh Norris and wife, and David Heikes. Peter Eberly being elected as elder and David Heikes as deacon. Not having a house of their own wherein to worship, they bought one of the first-put-up-dwelling houses in Smithville, wherein they had their meetings for a number of years. More being added to their number, they put up a small meeting house of their own, about 10 rods west of where the St. Paul church now stands. Now, becoming quite numerous, they, in 1867, erected an elegant church building on Milton Street, in Smithville, of 38 by 62 feet dimension, the top of the spire of which being 112 feet above the pavement.

Brethren in Christ, 6th Church

The sixth church organization in Green was that of "The Brethern In Christ," which was had in 1843, in the little wood-colored church building that was put up at Smithville, in the spring previous to their organization by those who then became members of the church when it was organized. The members of its first organization were

David Brenizer and his wife.
David Gish and his wife.
Jacob Goodyear and his wife
John Host and his wife
Jacob Steman and his wife
Simon Bowman and his wife
Henry Bowman and his wife
John Mahler and his wife

The ministers present at this organization were

David Brenizer.
John Horst.
Jacob Goodyear.

Evangelical Lutherans, 7th Church

The Seventh church organization in Green being that of the Evangelical Lutherans, at Smithville in January, 1844 under the ministerial function of A. H. Myers. The membership constituting this organization consisted of the following named persons, to wit:

Jacob Hess
David Herman
Joseph Hutchison
Joshuah (sic) Hess
Reed Hess
William Hess
Father Bing
John Bing
Phillp (sic) Kater
Eliza Bing
Esther Bing
Mary Hess
Rebecca Hess
Margaret Hess
Nancy McIntyre
Maria McIntyre
Elizabeth Kieffer
Elizabeth Kater
Hannah Kater
Eliza Caltrider
Ella Bing
Sarah Hutchison

David Herman and Jacob Hess being elected elders, and Joshuah (sic) Hess and Joseph Hutchison were appointed deacons. This organization was held in the old Presbyterian meeting house still standing at Smithville. Not having a house of their own wherein to worship, they, for about ten years, continued to hold their services in that of the Presbyterian.

In 1852. the old school Lutherian (sic) & German Reformed denominations erected a church building together, at Smithville, of 35 by 45 feet dimention (sic), comfortably seating an autitory of about 300. Here the Lutherans are still holding their worship. This church is in a prosperous condition at present, its attending members now being about 70 in number.

Its Pastoral order of succession is as follows:

Rev. A. H. Myers.
Rev. Wm. Emmerson.
Rev. Geo. Leiter.
Rev. J. W. Snyder.
 "   W. J. Sloan.
 "   Wm. Seacrist.
 "   Ruben Smith,
 "   Mr. Balsley.
 "   Solomon Ritz.
 "   Mr. Weaver.

The zealous little band which constituted the first organization of the Lutheran Church in Green, has long since been utterly scattered; and Elizabeth Kieffer, (now Mrs. John Medsker,) is now the only present member here who, more than thirty years ago, was numbered in that organization. The present church counsel be as follows:


Solomon Kieffer.
Jacob Miller.


Adolph Schaaf.
Jacob Campbell.

United Brethren, 8th Church

In the year of 1845. the 8th Church denomination was organized in the township, which being that of the United Bretheren (sic). They then organized in a little building put up on the north east corner of the south east quarter of section 29. used as a schoolhouse, where afterwards the Union Meeting house was erected. In 1867. this denomination formed an organization at Smithville, holding their meetings in the schoolhouse. Previous to their organization, they met for worship in the house of the Brethren In Christ. They organized under Rev. David Ecker. The organizing members were:

John Myers.
Catherine Myers.
Anna Myers.
Leah Myers.
Jane Greiner.
Margaret Rogers.
Mary Felix.
William Weible.
Benjamin Musser.
William Eberly.
William Ripply.
Mrs. B. Musser.

This organization is at present in quite a prosperous condition, their membership being of about 60. in number. The Pastoral order of succession of this denomination being as follows:

Rev. David Ecker.
 "   N. Slater.
 "   D. Kosht.
 "   J. J. Baldwin.
 "   Ira Mudy.
 "   Mr. Friffith.

River Brethren, 9th Church

The River Brethern was not included in the original text we have on file.

Pages seem to be missing from this manuscript (BK 12/88)

Oldest Residents

Lawrance Winkler

Lawrance Winkler, the third emigrant to Green, was the sixth son of Jacob Winkler, and was born on the 15th day of January, 1771. in Esecs (sic) County, New Jersey. When 15. years of age, he emigrated with his parents to Birk (sic) County, North Carolina. In May of 1796, he was married to Fanny Payne, a native of Old Virginia. In 1806, after being married about 10 years, he moved with his family from North Carolina to Monogahala (sic) County in Western Virginia, where he remained for about 8 years. Now, taking under survey the moderation of his circumstances - the future welfare of his family, and the promise which seemed to await him among the frontiers of the then new State of Ohio, in the Spring of 1814, he took his wife and six young children to his father-in-law, George Payne, who then had moved to Pennsylvania. Leaving the family with his father-in-law, he with him took his eldest son and sought his way to Ohio, where he selected the north west quarter of section No. 22 in Green township, for his future home. In the fall of year, he went back to Pennsylvania for his family, then returned with them onto the place where he and his boy during the summer had been labouring for to establish a home in the wilderness. After residing here about 14 years, in 1828, he moved to Chester township, where he lived about 20 years. He died on the 4th day of March in 1848.

Ann Maria Flickinger

Anna Maria Flickinger, the oldest resident of her sex in Green, and eldest child of Peter Flickinger, was born on the 1st day of August, in 1814, in Summerset (sic) County, in the State of Pennsylvania. At the age of 9 months she came with her father and mother to Green township, when they settled upon the south east quarter of section No. 9. whereon she has since been living. Quite many a change has she since seen, be wrought upon the face of Green. The "field of grain" then waved not here - there waved but "weed" and "forest tree". "Spire on Church" then reared not here - none reared here then but "mighty oak". "Sweet Organ Song" then sang not here- then none but "Toad" and "Bull Frog" sang.

John Winkler

John Winkler, the oldest pioneer of Green, and first son of Lawrance Winkler, was born on the 22nd day of April, 1799, in Birk (sic) County of North Carolina. In 1806, at the age of seven years, he, with his parents, emigrated to Monogahala (sic) County, in Western Virginia. Here eight years, years of his early boyhood were spent. In the spring of 1814, he went with parents to Pennsylvania to where his grandfather, George Payne, then resided. Here, the remainder of the family took up a tempory (sic) stay, while John, who was now about 15 years of age, accompanied his father to the much-talked-of new State of Ohio, where they selected a site in Green township for their future home. After arriving here, among the Bears, Indians, Wolves, Snakes and moschitoes (sic), they fell to work and cleared off about 4 acres of ground, and cut sticks for a cabin. But there being then but two men in the township besides themselves, they failed in getting the cabin raised. They then split out puncheons for the floor, and clapboards for the roof, and made every thing ready for the cabin. They then started back to where the family was.


Notebook on Green Township and Smithville Area History by D. L. Kieffer 1876 - Handwritten Photocopied, indexed, and transcribed by Bonnie Knox by the Wayne County Public Library (Wooster, Ohio) in 1988 Digital entry in the Wayne County, Ohio Online Resource Center in 2018 by Jim Yergin