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[edit | edit source]

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-brush 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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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 and Little Chippewa in the south east running north west, and Sugar Creek in the northwest 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 vocered all over with a dinse 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 ay timber, stump, and even roots. Tall and heavy timber surrounded it on all sides; but when and by who it was cleared or what caused it this 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 southeast 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 hickory, 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 hickory and ash and elm. Thick underbrush abounded all over the township. Rank grass grew in abundance 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 height of from tow to six feet, all over the land. The fast of the township being thus covered, presented it in aspect as a most dreary wilderness.

First Exploration[edit | edit source]

The first exploration ever made through 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 Coshocton, the seat of Coshocton county.

First Death (Pre-Green)[edit | edit source]

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 quite half the distance of their tramp, they got into some difficulty with the Indians, when one of the young men was shot through the breast and instantly died. The fall passing through his body and entering into a small sized oak tree, which the Indians for some reason or other instantly knotched from the ground up as high as they could reach-perhaps as a monument of their bloodshed. With much terror and dismay the three surviving young men lastened 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, tow 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 years 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 occurred upon the soil of Green township.

First Settlement[edit | edit source]

The oak thus struck by the fatal ball stood until within a fear years. It is claimed by some of the Green was settled as early as 1804. This, however, is absolutely erroneous. 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 ad 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 with his family came from Monongahala county, Virginia, and settled on section No. 22. These were the first threee white fmailies 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, Davis Antles, Thomas Dawson, John Wade, George Smith, Benjamin Boydston, Thomas Smith, Jacob Breakfield, John Harris, James Sparks, John McFaddin, Barter Harris, James Sparks, John McFaddin, Samuel Ferguson, 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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

First Judges[edit | edit source]

By unanimous acclimation, on motion of David Boyston, Thomas Hays, David MCConahay and Thomas Davison were appointed Judges;

First Clerks[edit | edit source]

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

First Elected Officers[edit | edit source]

The officers elected were as follows: David McConahay and George BoydstonJustices of the Peace; Peter Flickinger. George Boydston and Thomas Hays Trustees; Thomas Dawson, Treasurer, David Boydston, Clerk; Lorenzo Winkler, Lister and appraiser; George {{Surname|Smith, Constable; Jacob Breakfield, Overseer of the poor; John Harris, Fence Viewer, and Douglas Wilfort, Supervisor. These were the officers of the townshipfor 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 ad district No. 1 and the northern half as district No. 2 assigning District No. 1 to David Burgan, and that of Number 2 to Jacob Kieffer as Supervisors. For one year before this division being made the one Supervisor had jurisdiction over the entire remained in two districts.

First Highways[edit | edit source]

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 northern 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. Thechain 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. It's survey was made in 1818.

Labor & Food[edit | edit source]

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 obligated 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 who 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 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 beans, 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[edit | edit source]

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

First Marriages[edit | edit source]

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

First Occupations[edit | edit source]

In 1815 George Blair, the first showmaker in Green settled on the north west quarter of section No. 10, the farm now owned by A. H. Myers. In the year Jonathan Casebier settled on the northeast quarter of section No. 32, he being the first blacksmith in the township, this being the farm now owned by Daniel Wenger. In 1819 the first sawmill 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 fram 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 of 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.

Mill[edit | edit source]

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 hickory bark, and, placing a stone of similar shape on top of the lower, through the centre of the upper a hold being picked with one 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 when 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 your would turn an auger handle in the act of boaring a hole.For years some of the early settlers were compelled to resort to this tiresome contrivance. 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[edit | edit source]

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, one one sunny afternoon, in the golden season of "Indian Summer" after the many colored forest had shed its "verdent honors" a company of about a dozen of the red-faced trive 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 huts in Green towsnship then again wended themselves Westward.

First States Warrant[edit | edit source]

The first states warrant ever issued in Green township 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, 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[edit | edit source]

In 1812 Green had the first sermon preached. Among the earliest institutions of all nations are those which record religious worship. It has been so 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 impulsion's 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 already stated "the first abode of man" in the township. There were but two families in Green at the time, but this cabin not standing 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 horseback, winding around through underbrush 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 was served from the table made of split clapboards, the minister took his text from the 9th verse of the 72nd Psalms: "They that dwell in the wilderness shall now nefore 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 woo-colored churchlet still standing on the eastern border of the village Smithville. On the 16th days of June 1830, James Hazlett conveyed by deed a lot of about 1 1/2 acres of ground to the Presbyterian Church congregation of Green in appropriation for a church yard 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 denomination 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 there, 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 here awakened to the duty of Christianity.

Cemetery[edit | edit source]

The first grave opened on this burying ground was that of "little Johnny" who had been the flowers of three summers - a child of William Lang, in 1830. It was 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 forth 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.

Education[edit | edit source]

First Schoolhouse[edit | edit source]

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 were to some extend, 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 the 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 Keane, 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 happened to come to the settled portion of Green township. On his survival 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 the a schoolhouse, which fell upon the northwest quarter of section No. 23 now the farm owned by Christian Yoder. Accordingly, and fourthwith 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 fireplace inside - with two windows, one on each long side, about 10 inches high and 8 feet wide over which were papers pasted saturated with bears oil in service of glass panes. The seats were also made of split-puncheons and the door and desks of clap-boards. Thus finished and furnished the first school house in Green township. The teacher then taught Orthography, Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. The text books used were the United State Spelling Book, the Testament, Murrays English Reader, and the Western Calculator. The children and youth of the township in general gathered at 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 innicant anticipated with hopes as high and rejoiced with hearts of pure as those who now gather to the doors of marble halls.

Second Schoolhouse[edit | edit source]

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 Greeman. The text books and branches taught were the same as those in the school of Mr. Kane.

Third Schoolhouse[edit | edit source]

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 N. 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 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 the 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 districts: pointing out the centre of section No. 11 as location for school house 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 school house 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 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 the "Papal persuasion" preferring illiteracy to learning, some who could neither read nor write denounced education a course 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 down into ashes, and the log walls of the latter were demolished 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 small 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 were taken toward 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 school finally became established in Green township. 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 district number 2
  • Heinrich Woldenhousen in district number 3
  • Benjamin Musser in district number 4
  • Cyrus Jeffries in district number 5
  • John Martin in district number 6
  • John Herman in district number 7
  • ____________ in district number 8
  • Joseph Wilford in district number 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 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.

Higher Education[edit | edit source]

The first students from Green to a higher than common school embarked in 1845. Joseph Martin, Esther Martin (now Mrs. D. R. Perky), D. L. Keiffer and John Brenizor were the first four who engaged, as it then was looked upon, the 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[edit | edit source]

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 summer schools, 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 illiturature, it prepared itself to meet its manhood upon "The Lustre of Lore".

First Singing School[edit | edit source]

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 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 is existence.

First Sunday School[edit | edit source]

The first Sunday School in Green township was organized in the spring of 1828 in the small round-log residence of Thomas Hays 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 Ryffcorn constituted the pupil-age, numbering 18 at the first organization. This school 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 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. Its name now became changed and it was called "The Smithville Union Sunday School". Since it was first organized from year to year after short suspension during inclemency of winter the original organization reassumed and should propriety demand it, now 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 pupil-age 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 forty years ago. There are now 8 Sunday Schools organized in Green of which the entire pupil-age numbers some over one thousand.

Deaths & Burial[edit | edit source]

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 buildings upon the breast of Christian Partshie, killing him instantly. This took place late in the afternoon. The dead body then was takin 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". Philip Leasure and Daniel blocker there went forth to seek a place for his grave which was selected on the north-west quarter of section No. 4 whereon his family there resided - 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 ten miles distant, and the unprepared circumstances of the neighbors - the poor roads and inclemency for interment, it was concluded to take the boards used for a box on the wagon whereon Daniel Blocker had immigrated from Pennsylvania for to make the coffin out of. So then, Philip {{Surname|Leasure, being and edge-tool mechanic, fell to work and made the coffin, Jhn. 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 there but few in number, for the first time repaired to "the house of mourning". They then proceeded to the grave - not with pomp and attention 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 Philip Kieffer. Thus was buried the pioneer who filled the first grave in Green township. Nine and fifty time since 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 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 oldest resident now living in Green. Mr. Payne died in October of 1819.

Church Organizations[edit | edit source]

There are now 9 different church organizations in Green, namely: the Methodists, the Amish, the German Baptists (Dunkers), the Presbyterians, the Weinbrenariens, the Lutherans, the River Brethen, the Brethern in Christ, the United Brethern. The first of these organizations was had in 1814, by 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, Lawrence Winkler and his wife - John Wade and his wife, and Michael Thomas and his wife. For the first five years after organization they continued to congregated at the cabin of Mr. Thomas in religious service. In 1819 they moved their seat of service to the cabin of Lawrence 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 Orrvill 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 they had another organization at Smithville in the old grove of I. A. Keiffer this being held under the influece of Rev. A. Reader. Since the last organization of this church they erected a neat little house of worship at Smithville and the church is in prosperous condition.

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 denonomiation 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 511. 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.

The third organization was that of the German Baptists (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 organizations was had here, and for many years the residence of Rev. John Shoemaker was one of their chief meeting places.

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

The fifth organization being that of the followers of John Weinebrenner 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 Arich. This organization being had under Rev. Samuel Miller and John Keller. The members of this organization were as follows:

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 school house 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 an 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 bieng 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.

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 at Smithville and put up 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:

The ministers present at this organization were:

The seventh church organization in Green being that of the Evangelical Lutheran 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:

David Herman and Jacob Hess being elected elders and Joshua 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 1952 the old school Lutheran and German Reformed denominations erected a church building together at Smithville of 35 feet by 45 feet dimension comfortable seating an autitory (auditorium) 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:

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 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: Elders:


In the year of 1845 the 8th church denomination was organized in the township, which being that of the United Brethren. 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 school house where afterwards the Union Meeting house was erected. In 1867 this denomination formed an organization at Smithville holding their meetings in the school house. 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:

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

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

Oldest Residents[edit | edit source]

Lawrence Winkler[edit | edit source]

Lawrence Winkler, and was born on the 15th day of January 1771 in Essex County, New Jersey. When 15 years of age he emigrated with his parents to Birk 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 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 his 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 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[edit | edit source]

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 Somerset 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. Despite 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 Son" then sang not here- then none but "Toad" and "Bull Frong" sang.

John Winkler[edit | edit source]

John Winkler the oldest pioneer of Green and first son of Lawrence Winkler was born on the 22nd day of April 1799 in Birk County of North Carolina. In 1806 at the age of seven years, he with his parents emigrated to Monogahala 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 grant father George Payne then resided. Here the remainder of the family took up a temporary stay, while John who was now about 15 years of age, accompanied his father to then much talked of now 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 Mosquito's, they fell to work and cleared off about 4 acres of ground and cut sticks for a cabin. But there being then but tow 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.

Source[edit | edit source]

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