Introduction

There is no known "official" history of Darrtown. The best we have to work with are the Darrtown-related articles, journals, and/or stories that are handed down from one generation to the next. This "History" section of Darrtown.com provides an unofficial, well-intentioned, collection of such information.

 

Some items, in this website, conflict with others; such is the lot of those who attempt to capture history. We gather as many pieces of the puzzle as we can, position them to the best of our ability, and a more accurate record of the past gradually evolves.

 

If you have information that enriches this collection of Darrtown-related history and/or makes it more accurate, please contact the Webmaster.

"History never looks like history,

when you are living through it."

John W. Gardner (1933-1982)

 

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Unwritten History

Grandmother's story of forbidden love revealed by former resident of Darrtown

The uwritten record......finally told.

The following item, titled "Romance of Early Days of Darrtown; Former Resident Gives Unwritten History" appeared in the Hamilton Daily News, Wednesday, August 21, 1929.

 

Unfortunately, the news article did not include the name of the person who submitted the item to the newspaper.

The word "unwritten" is used in the title of this website page, because the person who submitted the original article (below) to the newspaper believed that the story had never before appeared in print.

 

The 1929 news article was contributed to the Darrtown.com website, by Darrtown native, Rick Martin in September 2012. Rick credited Ginger Miller for finding and sharing the article with him.

"Romance of Early Days"

 

The following story, which was written and submitted to the editor of the Hamilton Daily News in 1929, is a treasure trove of information about the early days of Darrtown and vicinity.

 

Unfortunately, we do not know the name of the person who wrote this article. For reasons unknown, the author of this article was not identified in the newspaper. However, from comments within the article, we deduce that:

 

    The author was male.

    He was the grandson of Nancy Ogle (who was the daughter of Robert Ogle).

    He was the uncle of George Frank Bufler (who was the husband of Addie Bufler).

 

Please contact the webmaster, if you can identify the person who wrote the "Romance of Early Days of Darrtown."

 

"Romance of Early Days of Darrtown; Former Resident Gives Unwritten History

A former citizen contributed the following interesting article on Darrtown and the unusual, unwritten history of the village.

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I am not sure the “Press” will accept this article, but I am sending it hoping.

I was vey much interested, some time ago, in reading the article appearing in the Darrtown News in reference to the collapse of the Union church in that village. I attended Sabbath School in it, when I was a boy, my teacher was a gentleman by the name of Young, who went west some years later and was lost sight of. In speaking to a lady, some time after the collapse of the church, of my attendance in it, she remarked, “that I did not seem to have profited much by Mr. Young’s efforts.”

The article referred to several families who were much interested in the erection of the church. Cunnard Darr, for whom the village was named, was a surveyor (now called a civil engineer) and who charted the town in 1814; his cabin stood near where Harry Teckman’s residence now stands.  A Mr. Walden resided at the late H.D. Kyger’s homestead (I would suggest that, should this article meet the approval of the press, a representative be sent to call upon Mrs. Eliza Vaughn, a very old lady who, I believe, is still living somewhere in the first ward of this city and who can give a reminiscence of the Walden family). The article referred to a Jack Ogle, but, as I am somewhat familiar with the Ogle family, being a descendant, I am unaware of a Jack Ogle.

The article referred to the means employed for the successful completion of the church, which statement, as far as my information goes, was correct: some gave money, others their time in labor, still others (gave) various supplies of building material, such as brick, for there were three different sizes of brick used), others (gave) lime, logs from which the lumber was sawed and the sills for the floor were hand hewed on one side.

The mill, which did the sawing, was what was called the Up-and-Down mill, the saw was somewhat on the order of our present cross-cut saw only heavier. It worked in an iron framework. In its upward movement, it pushed forward and in the reverse, backward, a sort of a drag movement. The head pieces of the window frames were hand-dressed and formed, and the sides and head were dovetailed together at the corners and were black walnut, three inches thick, eleven inches and one fourth wide, and between five and six feet long. Mrs. Ada Bufler has a library-stand made of some of these frames. The shingles were yellow poplar cut (that is, the poplar blocks were water soaked and the shingles were pared from those blocks by a large, keen-edged knife). This roof was on the building some sixty years and was replaced by a new one; the building was beautified by a new, lower cornice (which was) added to the eaves and gables; this was accomplished by the generosity of Mr. Benjamin McVicker, who resided at the stone house, some two miles south of the village.

I have been informed that the administrator who settled the John Darr estate, after he was run down and killed by an auto, found papers, in his effects, which give a detailed and authentic account of the procedure in the erection of the church. If so, it seems to me that those documents should be preserved, in some one of the county’s institutions and not hidden away by one indifferent person.

When the building collapsed, the lawn in front of the former parish residence, now added to, owned and occupied by Mr. and Mrs. G.F. Bufler, was covered with brick, lumber, mortar, and dirt. The writer of this article, being an uncle of Mr. Bufler, went to Darrtown and after several days succeeded in removing the debris from the lawn. While doing this, he had a conversation with Mr. L.A. Miller, the proprietor of the Darrtown Telephone Exchange; the talk drifted to the early history and settlement of Darrtown and vicinity.

When Mr. Miller was leaving, he said to the writer, “I want you to write an article, setting forth the history you have described and send it to the press for publication; it is too valuable to be lost, as it will be when you are gone, as no one knows it, but you. I want you to promise me you will do this.” I promised him I would and here it is, as told to me by my Grandmother, Nancy Ogle.

 

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In 1803, John Douglas entered from the land office of the United States Government a mile square of land paying $1.25 per acre. In the spring of 1804, the families of John Douglas, Robert Ogle, William Ogle (and) Cunnard Darr emigrated from the “Hickory Shad” section of the Schuylkill river of Pennsylvania to this new mile square of land. The County of Butler had just been formed, having been set apart from Hamilton County, on the 9th day of February 1803 and named for Gen. Richard Butler, who, with his brother, came to America from Ireland about 1758 or 59. He gained fame in the Revolutionary War and fell a victim of the Indians, in St. Clair’s defeat. He carried on an extensive trade with the Indians for some time previous to his joining St. Clair’s army.

John Douglas settled on what is now the farm of Joseph Davis; his cabin stood on the bank of the run opposite the tenement house on the Hansel farm. Should anyone care to examine this vicinity, they will probably find broken dishes to verify this statement. Robert Ogle retained the part now owned by the heirs of Mr. Jacob Liebrech and Mr. Weatherby. William Ogle took the part now owned by Mr. Joseph McVicker, east of the village, and Cunnard Darr, the portion, upon which the village now stands, with adjoining vacant lots. In the center of the village is a vacant tract, on each side of the Richmond pike that was set apart for a Jail and Courthouse.

My Grandmother, Nancy Ogle, was the daughter of Robert Ogle and was born May 15th, 1789, on the bank of the Schuylkill River in Pennsylvania. At the time of her landing in Butler County, she was near to, or about, fifteen years of age. As near as I can remember, their cabin stood on the three cornered piece of ground at the north-west corner of the farm, cut off from the farm proper by a branch of Darr’s run.

When my grandmother had attained young womanhood, as assumed in those days, on a certain morning, when the men members of the family were away, a young, stalwart Indian Chief appeared at the cabin and the family (members) were scared almost speechless. Nancy finally gathered courage enough to peer out of the window and the Indian, quick to observe the movement, pointed to his mouth, a sign he desired water. She informed the other women that she did not believe he meant any harm and that she would draw him some water. The curb was a long pole, pivoted in the fork of an upright, a rope, with a bucket attached, was fastened to the top end of the pole, an iron weight fastened to one side of the bucket, in order to sink it into the water; hand over hand the bucket was lowered into the well and when full, the weight of the pole raised it to the surface. This kind of a curb was called a Well-Sweep.

She told me that when she stepped out of the cabin door, the Indian, with piercing black eyes, eyed her keenly. She drew a bucket of water and taking a small gourd hanging from a nail nearby, dipped it into the water ad extended the handle towards him; he accepted the offer, all the while, peering at her, drank and motioned that he desire another helping; being satisfied, he gave the Indian grunt and strode away. He reappeared several times, during the ensuing months and my grandmother began looking for his coming. She said he was a young chief of the Mingo branch of the Miami Tribe, a fine stalwart young man; he had the high cheekbone characteristic, but his face did not seem so deep a walnut color – it was paler, indicating white blood mixture, which she later learned was true. During his visits for water, they became friends and conversed together; he, in his broken English, told of his wanderings and said he “come some more for drink and White Swan learn him more.” That was the appellation he gave to her.

My grandmother became enamored of this young chief and wanted to become his squaw and it became a daily argument, until her father threatened dire vengeance, if she did not cease pining for the Indian. It stopped the discussions, but not her feelings; she remained true to the Indian and did not marry until she was within a month of thirty-one years of age. The chief ceased his visits, at her request; but did not forget her.

Some months after he ceased his visits, the Miami Tribe went on a foray across the Ohio into Kentucky and on its return, camped in the Joe Davis woods, which then covered most the land, now cleared; they remained there three days. The first night, a knock came on the door of the cabin and the men, gun in hand, answered the call and found the young chief without; he motioned them to follow and Mr. Ogle, being wise enough, knew their meaning; they locked and bolted the cabin door and followed the chief; he, having his White Swan in his personal care, led them to a dense copse, some distance from the cabin; this copse was near where the “calamus patch” was located. (Some older citizens of Darrtown can locate this calamus patch). He obtained their trail leaving his own plainly visible.

My grandmother said they could hear the tread of feet around their hiding place day and night, but no one attempted to pry into their retreat, attesting to the skill of the young chief in defacing their trail, as an Indian is keen to notice even a misplaced leaf. The chief told them later he frequently followed their trail in the daytime, until he passed their retreat, then branched off in various directions so as, should other Indians be watching, they would think he was merely on a tramp of observation. She said further that she did not know how the other families had succeeded in evading the Indians, excepting the Darr family; she said she understood they had hidden in a bushy outcropping, along the bank of the run in the woods that lie immediately east of Mr. Luther McVicker’s residence.

This copse was so dense, made up of low bushes, grape vines, cattails, and various other creepers, as to be almost impossible to enter. He kept them there the remainder of that night and the two following, taking them jerked venison, water, and a kind of corn pone, made from ground meal on a flat stone and baked in the coals of the campfire. Towards evening of the third day, the tribe pulled stakes and started northward, and late that night, the young chief escorted his charge back to the cabin. He detained his White Swan at the door of the cabin, looked searchingly into her face, took her hand in his, bowed his head, and left her. The victory of Anthony Wayne over the Indians at Fallen Timbers put an end to the ravages and it was rarely more than one at a time was seen in the neighborhood.

I can remember seeing a tall, old Indian with a broad band across his forehead and fastened at the back with a feather sticking up behind, walking down through town. He would appear each fall and ask to dig burdock roots, should he find a considerable patch, but no other expression passed his lips. It was said he was the young chief of bygone days and when I asked my grandmother, she evaded by saying “she had not seen him.” Finally, he ceased his visits and it was presumed that he had gone to the Indians’ Happy Hunting Grounds.

Logan, the noted Chief of the Mingo branch, was a loyal friend of the white man, which may account for our young chief’s devotion. It is said that one of the powwows of the various chiefs who gathered to try and induce Logan to take part in a raid on the whites, after each chief had his say as to why he should lend his aid, Logan arose and said, “I appeal to any white man to say if ever he entered Logan’s cabin hungry and he gave him not meat? If ever he came cold and naked and he clothed him not? During the long and bloody war, Logan has remained idle in his cabin and an advocate of peace. Such is my love for the whites that my countrymen pointed and said, as they passed, ‘Logan is a friend of the white man.’ Colonel Cresap, unprovoked and in cold blood, murdered all the relations of Logan, not even sparing his women and children. For this I sought many, I slew many. I fully glutted my vengeance, but now I rejoice at the beacons of peace. Who shall say aught of Logan? Logan never felt fear; he would turn on his heel to save his life; who is there to mourn for Logan? Not one.”

The church was erected in 1829 and collapsed on the evening of the last Saturday of August, 1928."

 

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