The links below correspond with the following topics:
Until mid-November 2012, the management of this website had not discovered or received any information regarding a "Milford House" in Darrtown, Ohio. Then, on November 18, 2012, Mr. Kim Johnson sent an email message that included a black and white image (see below) that displays a group of people gathered around a framed structure.
By enlarging the image, the sign that stands in front of this structure reveals that its name was the "Milford House."
Perhaps the name of this establishment was taken from Milford Township, which is home to Darrtown.
The name "C. B. Flenner" appears along the bottom edge of the sign; presumably this was the name of the proprietor.
Several persons who are familiar with Darrtown structures recognized the Milford House (in the black and white photograph) as the residence that stands on the east side of Main Street, just south of the Milford Township Fire House. That building has distinctive windows and eaves that make it easy to match with the old photograph.
The following image of the existing structure, located at 4294 Hamilton Richmond Road, was taken in January 2013.
During a January 5, 2012 telephone conversation, Mr. and Mrs. George and Fay (Bufler) Thome confirmed that they lived at this location for 35 years (from 1951 to 1986).
Fay and George Thome described the following features of this property:
> Windows that extended to the floor of the front rooms
> Two doors at the corner of the northwest room of the house (these are visible in the black and white photograph - above).
> One of the two doors was located the north wall and one was located in the west wall.
> The north door has since been converted to a window.
> A wood surface on the west wall of the northwest room; which is believed to have been the tavern's bar area.
> Exterior stairs at the rear of the house, which allowed access/egress to and from the second floor.
> The exterior stairs were presumed to be essential for a house that served as a boarding house.
Fay Thome also reported that, at one time - before the Thome family lived at this location - a Mrs. Witherby lived in the front part of the house. This Mrs. Witherby was the mother of Albert Witherby, who lived in Darrtown, at 3010 Scott Road, during the 1950s and 1960s.
Historical documents reveal the following tidbits about this historic structure:
"William Kirkpatrick kept a tavern in Darrtown in 1845 in the house now occupied by his son Samuel as a tavern and saloon." [Source: Butler County OHGenWeb Project page / Milford Township:pages 562-574]
"Members of the most respected families in the community were tavern keepers; Aaron Chamberlain, Stephen Kendall, and William Kirkpatrick kept taverns here in later years." [Source: History Page 1]
"William Kirkpatrick, born August 17, 1814 and died June 27, 1848, (possibly Jane's brother or nephew), married Mary Magdalena Flenner  on May 5, 1838. She was on born December 27, 1819 and died December 5, 1905. She was better known as Polly. They owned a tavern in Darrtown."
 Webmaster Note: The Milford House sign in black and white image above includes the name: C. B. Flenner.
The Darr Gas and Oil Company
Shortly after this website was created in 2007, two sources of information surfaced regarding the Darr Gas and Oil Company:
(1) the Recollections of Kirk Mee II
(2) the Recollections of the Darrtown community, which includes a 1901 news .
Both items are reproduced below.
In July 2015, interest in the story of the Darr Gas and Oil Company was rekindled, when an email arrived with questions about the natural gas business venture (the email is reproduced below). With the arrival of the additional information, it seemed appropriate to devote part of the Darrtown.com business section to the Darr Gas and Oil Company.
Kirk Mee II shared his memories of the Darr Gas and Oil Company
The following was taken from the Recollections of Kirk Mee II. Mr. Mee's memories the early 1920's business venture, appeared in a 1988 interview.
"That reminds me of the old Darr Gas and Oil Company. In 1921, Frank Sloat, he was a Hamilton resident, got interested in the gas that was seeping up through Four Mile Creek. You could see these bubbles coming up. Frank, he would take a five gallon can, cut the bottom out of it, light the gas, and the flames would rise two or three feet high. So the Darr Gas and Oil Company was formed with local money out of Hamilton. It incorporated, by subscription, for $100,000.
My father was one of the directors and contributed a little money towards it. They employed a driller from Kentucky. He had a portable rig, powered by a steam boiler. The first well was drilled in 1922 on one of our farms across the road from the Darrtown cemetery. They found gas at about four hundred feet. They used the gas from this well, instead of a coal-fired boiler, and moved to well number two, which was about fifty feet north and drilled about fourteen hundred feet. They used the gas from the shallow well for the boiler to propel the rig for the second well. They found a lot of low-pressure gas.
Then, they moved about two thousand feet north, up on more or less rolling ground, still on one of our farms, and went down about 750 feet. When they brought the well in, they usually hired somebody else to spring the well in. Not the local drillers; and the guy that brought the well in used twenty-five quarts of nitroglycerin, which was way too much. It just blew up the casing and ruined the well. They always figured that guy was paid off to put the company out of business.
But in 1925, the first two wells were connected together. They had all this casing left over that was piled up for several years. So my father went out to Terre Haute, Indiana to some gas supply company and made a deal where he traded them this eight-inch casing for two-inch pipe. It's about two miles from this well down to the big house. And the house was piped for gas. We used that, until my dad died in 1948. The gas was piped into the furnaces, four fireplaces and the burners in each of the bedrooms upstairs.
Periodically, we would have the water bailed out of those wells, because it was low-pressure. We had to put a compressor in one of the buildings there to bring the gas in. It wasn't very dependable. In the winter time, I would come home and mother would say the gas was off. I would have to take a couple of pipe wrenches and start running the line back. The gas line was on the surface of the ground and at every contour of the ground there would be a drain plug at the lowest level. The gas wasn't strong enough to push through the water and the moisture would collect and then if that damn thing would freeze, you didn't know when you'd have gas again. I could always tell where the problem was because I could hear the flow of gas. Sometimes I would have to walk the complete line and sometimes I would get by and only have to walk half. It seemed like, in the spring of the year, when the farmers would start plowing and open up the soil, the gas would get low until we would get a good rain. Then it would seal the ground and we would have more pressure then."
Webmaster Note: Kirk's recollections about the Darr Gas Company and the presence of natural gas in the Darrtown area relate to a similar enterprise that was undertaken some 20 years earlier, when local entrepreneurs attempted to harness the resource. The 1901 news item, which appears below, was first posted in the Recollections / Community / 1901_1 - Drilling for Gas Begins at Darrtown [SOURCE: Hamilton Daily Republican News - August 2, 1901 - page 5]
"1901_1 - Drilling for Gas Begins at Darrtown
BEGIN BORING TUESDAY
Gas Promoters Push Their Work at Darrtown
Derrick in Place on the Nichols Farm
George H. Scott in the City Today
The derrick on the farm of J. W. Nichol, near Darrtown, is now finished and in place, the engines in position and everything is in readiness for the beginning of operations, except for putting in the drills, which will be done at once. Drilling will begin Tuesday afternoon. George H. Scott of the firm Scott and Ball, of Muncie, Indiana, was in the city today and all arrangements for the active work of development were completed and the work will be pushed as rapidly as possible.
The company is composed of George Rentschler, president; Peter Schwab, vice-president; L. P. Clawson, secretary and treasurer; and three officers with J. W. Nichol and Gottlieb Wagonfield constitute the board of directors. The company has opened an office in Darrtown with Frank W. Clements in charge and everything is now in fine business shape."
Webmaster Note: In July 2015, Mr. Clifford Woodward, of Glenshaw, Pennsylvania, emailed the following inquiry to the Darrtown.com webmaster.
I have been researching some letters written in September and October of 1901 (from Darrtown and Fosters, Ohio) that reference the "Darrtown Gas Co." and an individual by the name of Frank W. Clements representing the company and an oil well that was being drilled.
I would be very interested in knowing if there is a history of oil and gas production in your area, and if there is any history extant for this company.
My interest is in the petroleum history of Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio and West Virginia; I collect ephemera and historical documents related to this area. Any insight you could provide would be most appreciated.
Thanks for your time and consideration.
Clifford W. Woodward
Webmaster Note: Following an exchange of information, Mr. Woodward provided the following copies of three letters that are related to the Darr Gas and Oil Company. WE ARE INDEBTED TO MR. WOODWARD FOR WILLINGNESS TO SHARE THE FOLLOWING, WHICH ENRICHES THE HISTORY OF DARRTOWN.
Letter #1 Transcription:
August 20, 1901
Mr. G.H. Hentchler,
I saw in the Lebanon Record that you was Pres of a Co that were going to bore for oil and gass in Hamilton O. there has been talk of oil here for a number of years and a Co was formed at Maineville (2 miles from here) two years ago but they are so slow they have done nothing yet. there is a salt spring there where my father watched the indians boil salt water for salt, 80 yrs ago, he was 10 year old at the time; and there is another salt spring right near our farm, there are 500 acres owned by 3 parties here that you could make arrangements with, beside plenty of other land, we have timber on the place you can use, and we could board some of the men if necessary. would like you to come and see the place if we don't hear from you in 10 days will consult other parties call on or address
Fosters Warren Co, O.
Letter #2 Transcription: Darrtown, OH
September 20, 1901
Mr. G.A. Reutschler,
Enclosed you will find scripts to sing and send up to the Bank. I presume Mr. Schwab told you that he thought it best to make another assessment. We are about 800 feet deep and are still in the Trenton Rock and it look like it may be several days before we get through it.
Will telephone you if anything important turns up.
Frank W Clements
Letter #3 Transcription: Darrtown, OH
September 1, 1901
Sept 1 01
Received of L.P. Clawson
Twenty Dollars, being 10% assessment on two shares of stock in the Darrtown Gas Co.
Webmaster Note: We assume that the names spelled as "Hentchler" in Letter #1 and "Reutschler" in Letter #2 are misspellings of "Rentschler," which is a name that appears in the 1901 news article above and is a long-standing name in the Hamilton, Ohio legal and business world.
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