An American Family History

Dinsmore Township-Early Years

  Excerpts from The History of Shelby County, Ohio  
Milk sickness which is also known as tremetol poisoning. It is characterized by trembling, vomiting, and severe intestinal pain and affects individuals who eat dairy products or meat from a cow that has fed on white snakeroot. Although rare today, milk sickness claimed thousands of lives in the early 1800s.

Although this township was very late in its settlement and organization, its development was steady and its progress, along every line, rapid. It boasts of the two most important towns in the county, aside from the county seat, in Botkins and Anna, although the latter is partly in Franklin township. It is regular in its outline, being six miles square, and is centrally located in the northern tier of townships of Shelby county, its north line being bounded by Auglaize county.

The commissioners' records show the township to have been independently organized on December 3, 1832. Pursuant to an order by the commissioners of the county, the citizens of the township met at the home of Joseph Green, December 25, 1832, and elected the various township officers. Dinsmore township is level, practically speaking, and the soil is such as to attract agriculturists, being well adapted for the growing of the various grains and grasses. It is drained by a number of small streams which take their rise in the township.

It seems the first real settlement was made here in 1832, which marked the arrival of a number of families, but it is reasonably certain some located farms here the previous year, notably Wilham Blakely, of Franklin county, Ohio, and Silas D. Allen, of Pickaway county, Ohio.

There has always been a diversity of opinion as to who was the. first to take up residence within the township, many according the honor to George Turner [born 1805 in Caesars Creek Township, Greene County, Ohio] married Catherine Munch b. 1810 Harper's Ferry], who came from Greene county, Ohio, in 1832. The latter did not remain long at that time, owing to the prevalence of milk sickness, but in 1837 again returned but took up a different farm.

Most Americans were farmers in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Lutherans are Protestants who follow Martin Luther's religious teachings, especially the doctrine of justification by faith alone.

Settlers often built log cabins as their first homes.

Mr. Turner was followed, in the same year, by Joseph Green, from Warren county, Ohio, who with his wife and five children, located on a farm in section 28, on a part of which the village of Anna is partly located.

John Munch, of Greene county, Ohio [born 1788 in Harper's Ferry, married Mary Magdalena Goodnight], whose farm also lay in section 28, and was partly included in the village of Anna; Richard C. Dill, of Hamilton county, Ohio, who brought his wife and eleven children; Samuel Blakeley, of Franklin county, Ohio, who came here from   Franklin township where he had settled in 1830; and Richard Botkin, who came from Hamilton county, Ohio.

The following year, 1833, witnessed   the arrival of: Alfred Staley, of Montgomery county, Ohio; Hector Lemon, of Chester county, Pennsylvania: Joseph Park, of New Jersey; Erasmus B. Toland, of Miami county, Ohio; Philip Good, who came from Greene county, Ohio, but was a native of Pennsylvania; and Philip Hagelberger, a native of  France.

In 1834, there came: Jacob Wilford, his wife and five children, from Virginia; Philip Brideweiser, from Franklin county, Ohio; David Taylor, his wife and eight children, from Greene county, Ohio; Peter Boling  and family, from Montgomery county, Ohio; William Ellis and family from Virginia; Frederick Oxburger, of Germany; and Samuel and William Elliott, who located in section 4.

Thomas Iiams and family came from Warren county, Ohio, in 1835; Cornelius Elliott, of Licking county, Ohio, in 1835; Daniel Toland, of Montgomery county, Ohio, in 1836; William H. Abbott, in 1836; John Fahr, of Perry county, Ohio, in 1836; and Diadrich Schulte in 1838. [Daniel and Elizabeth Branstetter also came about 1838]

This is by no means regarded as an exhaustive list of those who came during the period mentioned, but time has thoroughly obscured facts once so easy to obtain. Settlement was quite backward in the early years, largely because of milk sickness, but became very general in the forties, and as a whole those who came were of a wholesome and progressive class. . .
Farming has generally claimed the attention of the rural residents of Dinsmore township, and such industries as have been fostered have been mainly in the villages.

There was in earlier years considerable sawing done, but timber too quickly disappeared for that industry to be other than a small one here. . .

The first regular school in the township was conducted in a crude log structure, about twenty feet square, with puncheon floor and seats. A large fire-place extended the full width of the building, on one side, and there was a stick chimney and a one-light window. It was built in 1836 and the first teacher there was William D. Johnson.

A second building of similar type, except as to windows, was built in section 23 in 1840, and here William Wilson and E. T. Mede were early teachers. . .

The greatest civilizing agency we have, the church, was not long in establishing itself, in fact before the township was more than sparsely settled. Brief mention is here made of the history of the various congregations:

St. Jacob's Evangelical Lutheran Congregation
One of the most beautiful church edifices in the county is that of St. Jacob's Evangelical Lutheran at Anna, which was dedicated August 4, 1907. The birth of this church was eighty years ago in 1832, when a few Lutherans, strong in their faith, settled in the virgin forest near Anna and the first preacher was the Rev. Henry Joesting, whose parsonage was a log structure of one room, which served as a residence, a schoolhouse, and a place for Sunday services.

The names of John Altermath, Michael Altermath, Louis Bey and John Moothart, appear on the records, and they were soon joined by Germans of like faith. In the fall of 1833 their number was increased by Philip Jacob Hagelberger, John Fogt, John Jacob Finkenbein, John Jacob Zimpher, Frederick Knasel, Henry Breitweiser, Henry Schaefer, Samuel Schaefer, and Benjamin Werth, with their families.

A log church was erected in 1835-36, thirty-six feet long and twenty-four feet wide, for which the contractor, Jesse Weistch, got $100 for his labor. The seats were boards on trestles. It was built on the site which afterwards was the Lutheran cemetery, David Swander giving the land.

Botkins Methodist Episcopal Church
The congregation of this church was in existence some years before a church edifice was erected. It was organized in 1833 or 1834 at the home of Richard Botkin, by the Rev. Daniel D. Davidson, assisted by Rev. James Smith. Among the prominent early members were: Richard Botkin and wife, Henry Hildebrant and wife Cornelius Montfort and wife, Cornelius Elliott and wife, and Samuel Elliott and wife. For several years services were held in the home of Richard Botkin, and subsequently in a log house in Botkins until 1841, in which year they erected a hewed log church, on ground donated for that purpose by Richard Botkin

American pioneers migrated west to settle areas not previously inhabited by European Americans.
  Anna Methodist Episcopal Church originally known as Mt. Gilead Methodist Episcopal church, was organized at the home of Richard C. Dill, in 1833, Rev. D. D. Davidson and Rev. James Smith. Services were for some  years held in the homes of Mr. Dill and Joseph Park, and from 1840 until the completion of a house of worship in 1841, at the home of Mary J. Young. It was built a quarter of a mile north of Anna, was of the hewed-log type, and served the congregation until a frame structure was erected some years   later, in the same vicinity. The latter was dedicated in July, 1858, by Revs. Wilson and P. G. Goode, the latter being then pastor. Among the original members were Mrs. R. C. Dill, Jane Dill, E. B. Toland and wife, Thomas Iiams and wife, Mrs. Forsha, John Lucas and wife. . .  


Colonial Maryland
Colonial New England
Colonial Virginia & West Virginia
Quakers & Mennonites
New Jersey Baptists
German Lutherans
Watauga Settlement
Pennsylvania Pioneers
Midwest Pioneers
Jewish Immigrants

©Roberta Tuller 2020
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