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FAMILIES - DARR

Conrad Darr (1769-1832): The Founding Father of Darrtown

As noted in the History Page 1 section of this website, Conrad Darr established Darrtown on April 4, 1814.

 

Conrad Darr's founding of Darrtown is further corroborated by the following newspaper item.

"In 1802, Conrad Darr, Robert Ogle and William Ogle -- all from Pennsylvania -- paid $800, or $1.25 an acre, for the 640 acres in Section 28 of Milford Township. Darr and his wife, Catherine, established their family in the southern half of the section while the Ogles split the remaining 320 acres.

 

After farming some of the land for 10 years, Darr laid out a town, gave it his name, recorded the plat April 4, 1814, and placed ads in area newspapers."

LEFT: This quotation was excerpted from an article that appeared in the August 3, 1994, Hamilton Journal-News.

 

Jim Blount, the author of the 1994 news item, based his story on an 1814 newspaper advertisement that Conrad Darr posted, in his effort to sell lots in his newly created "Darr's Town."

The Darr Family of Darrtown

 

The Darr family information that is presented below was compiled by gleaning records from a variety of sources, with Ancestry.com being the primary source. Genealogy research related to the Darr family of Darrtown, Ohio is summarized in the Darrtown Family Tree.

 

As with many genealogy projects, the following description of Darrtown's Darr family may not be completely accurate. If you can clarify / improve this information, please use the "Contact Me" link at the bottom of this page to inform the webmaster.

 

Genealogy studies reveal that the presence of Darr family members in Darrtown, Ohio:

began with Conrad Darr in 1802, when he bought the land where he eventually founded Darr's Town.

ended with John "Johnnie" Darr in 1923, when he died, after being struck by an automobile.

 

The history of Darrtown's Darr family, between the emergence of Conrad and the demise of "Johnnie," is still being researched and/or verified. The following information reflects the Darr family history to date (December, 2014)

1840 Federal Census

confirms Darr family in MIlford Township

 

(RIGHT) This image shows that the 1840 Federal Census for Milford Township (see township name, written in left margin).

 

This report only includes the "Names of 'Heads of Families.' " No other family members are identified by name. The numerals indicate the number of family members, by various categories. The headings of the columns indicate that the data was sorted by race and gender.

 

Conrad Darr, founder of Darrtown, died in 1832. Therefore, it seems likely that the two Darr family members (Conrad and Hiram) who are listed in this 1840 federal census were brothers, both sons of Conrad, the founding father of Darrtown.

The 1840 census data, for the Conrad Darr family, is summarized as:

Free, white males under 30: 2

Free, white females under 5: 2

Free, white females under 10: 1

Free, white females under 30: 1

The 1840 census data, for the Hiram Darr family is summarized as:

Free, white males under 10: 2

Free, white males under 40: 1

Free, white females under 5: 2

Free, white females under 40: 1

1850

Federal

Census

reports

Darr family

in

Milford

Township, Butler County,

Ohio

(ABOVE) This image shows the heading, or header, of the 1850 Federal Census.

 

It reads as follows: Schedule I - Free Inhabitants in Milford Township in the County of Butler State of Ohio enumerated by me, on the 25th day of Nov. 1850. F. N. Slack Ass't Marshall. This image is provided to document and/or verify the information about the Conrad Darr family of Darrtown, Ohio in 1850 that appears below.

(LEFT) This image shows the Conrad Darr portion of the 1850 census. The family is identified as Family No. 1341 and the family members are listed as:

Conrad Darr - Age 38; male

Eliza Darr - age 36; female

Sarah Darr - age 16; female

Julia A. Darr - age 14; female

Lydia Darr - age 11; female

Irick T. Darr - age 9; male

Franklin O. Darr - age 7; male

Conrad Darr - age 5; male

John Darr - age 1; male

 

Given his birth year (1849), it seems likely that the "John" (age 1 year) who is listed in this report was John Riley Darr. According to federal census records, John Riley Darr married, lived in the state of Washington, had a family, and died in 1941.

Tracking the Darr Family of Darrtown

 

identifying and understanding the relationships between various Darr family members

 is complicated by the appearance of several people with the same given names. Examples include Conrad Darr and John Darr.

Tracking CONRAD Darr:

 

The Darr family tree includes, at least, three persons named Conrad.

 

  • The first Conrad Darr was born in 1769. Conrad #1 married Catherine Trig, born 1774, and they had at least 11 children. This Conrad established Darr's Town, in Milford Township, Butler County, Ohio.

 

  • The second Conrad Darr was born in 1812. Conrad #2 married Eliza Stout, born in 1814, and they had at least seven children. They named one of their sons, Conrad - who, as noted below, became the third Conrad Darr in Darrtown's family tree.

 

  • The third Conrad Darr was born in 1845. Conrad #3 was a brother of John Riley Darr and a cousin of John "Johnnie" Darr, who would become the final surviving member of the Darr family to live in Darrtown (see "1921 - John Darr - Dead; Accidentally Struck by Auto" story below).

 

Tracking the three men from Darrtown who were named Conrad Darr

 

The three Conrad Darrs with direct connections to Darrtown are:

 

Conrad Darr (born 1769) married Catherine Trig. They named one of their sons, Conrad (born 1811).

 

Conrad Darr (born 1811) married Eliza (Stout) Darr. They named one of their sons, Conrad (born 1846).

 

Conrad Darr (born 1846) is not known to have had any children (see Federal Census reports below).

 

PEDIGREE RECORDS related to the first two men named Conrad Darr

 

# 1

(BELOW) This is the pedigree of Conrad Darr (born 1769), the man who founded Darr's Town.

 

He was the FIRST of three Darrtown men named Conrad Darr.

 

This image was taken from the Darrtown (Ohio) Family Tree at Ancestry.com.

# 2

(BELOW) This is the pedigree of Conrad Darr (born 1811), who was the son of the man who founded Darr's Town. This Conrad Darr had a son named Conrad Darr - who, was the THIRD of three Darrtown men named Conrad Darr.

 

This image was taken from

The Darrtown (Ohio) Family Tree

at Ancestry.com.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The second Conrad Darr (born 1811) had a son named John Riley Darr. The name John Riley Darr is emphasized here

to distinguish between this John Riley Darr (born to Conrad Darr 2nd)

and another John Darr (born to HIram Darr; see the Hiram Darr section below).

 

FEDERAL CENSUS REPORT related to the third man named Conrad Darr

 

# 3

From the 1860 Federal Census report (below) it appears that Conrad Darr (1811 - 1879) moved his family from Darrtown, Ohio to the area of Moscow in Muscatine County, Iowa.

 

As indicated by the 1860 report, this third Conrad Darr, was born in 1845 and was 15 years old at the time of the 1860 Federal Census.

 

Tracking the two men from Darrtown who were named John Darr

 

Tracking JOHN Darr:

 

The Darr family tree includes, at least, two persons named John - both of whom were grandsons of the Conrad Darr, who founded Darrtown, Ohio.

 

The first John Darr (identified as John Riley Darr) was born in 1849, the son of Conrad and Eliza (Stout) Darr.

 

The second John Darr was born in 1856, the son of Hiram and Harriet (Sithens) Darr. This John Darr would become the last Darr family member to live in Darrtown.

John Darr - son of Hiram Darr

 

John "Johnnie" Darr, the last known Darr family member to live in Darrtown, was the son of Hiram and Harriet (Sithens) Darr - see Ancestry.com image below.

 

Johnnie's father, Hiram Darr, was a grandson of Conrad Darr, founder of Darr's Town.

Hiram Darr family included in 1880 Federal Census

 

The image at the right provides information about Hiram Darr and his family in the year 1880.

 

The daughter, Harriet E. Darr, is not listed.

 

Both sons, George and John, are listed, as living at home.

 

Webmaster Notes:

`

The census report above lists Hiram Darr's occupation as "raising willows."

 

If one assumes that the son (John Darr) took up the work of the father (Hiram Darr), then the report of Hiram's occupation provides anecdotal confirmation that Hiram was the father of John "Johnnie" Darr of Darrtown.

 

As of December 2014, some Darrtown natives recall that their parents talked about John Darr and his willow business.

 

Additionally, the "Webmaster Notes'" (below, right) regarding the death of John Darr, specify the location of Hiram Darr's property and describe the wet, marshy conditions of that property which, to this day, are conducive to growing cattails - and presumably, willows.

 

1880 Federal Census includes Harriet Sithens, wife of Hiram Darr and mother of John Darr

1910 Federal Census provides information about John Darr

(RIGHT) This image provides information about John Darr, son of Hiram and Harriet (Sithens) Darr and grandson of Darrtown's founder, Conrad Darr.

The end of the Darr lIne in Darrtown, Ohio

 

Johnny Darr, the youngest of the Darr family who lived in Darrtown, died a bachelor.

His bachelorhood was confirmed by the Ohio 1910 Census report above.

1923 - John Darr - Dead; Accidentally Struck by Auto

John Darr, known by many as "Johnnie," was struck by an automobile, while crossing Main Street in Darrtown.

 

The enormity of the event was acknowledged by the lead headline (above) that the Hamilton Evening Journal used in announcing the passing of John Darr.

 

The details of the incident appear in the following reprint of the November 22, 1923 news article. Mr. Darr subsequently died at Mercy Hospital in Hamilton, Ohio. John Darr was the last known, direct descendant of Darrtown founder, Conrad Darr.

The following is a reprint of the text that appeared in the

Hamilton Evening Journal - Thursday, November 22, 1923.

 

"DESCENDANT OF DARRTOWN'S FOUNDER HIT BY AUTO, DIED LATER

 

Hush Falls On Village As John Darr Is Taken Away

 

Aged Man Said To Have Walked Into Path Of Automobile

 

Darrtown's most distinguished pioneer - John Darr, 71 years old - is dead.

 

An unusual hush fell over the village this morning as men and women gathered to discuss the tragic death, which removed from the community the last direct offspring of the founder of Darrtown.

 

Children on their way to school missed the familiar figure of John Darr. They missed his cheery "good morning," and they missed his smile. They too, knew that John Darr would no longer greet them each day and they were saddened, as they perused their school books.

 

John Darr's whole life was spent in Darrtown - the village which his grandfather founded in 1802. [1] John Darr lived for the community and the traditions of the village.

 

The pioneer was fatally injured a short distance for the house where he was born and in which he was reared. [2]

 

Shortly after 5:30, Wednesday evening, Mr. Darr started on his regular evening walk through the village. He crossed the street, as he had done for years, and was said to have walked directly in the path of an automobile being driven by Adolph Geisler, also of Darrtown.

 

Died at Hospital

 

Before Geisler could swing the automobile to the side, the front wheels had struck Mr. Darr and he was knocked to the ground. Geisler stopped the car and found Mr. Darr bordering on unconsciousness. At Mercy Hospital, shortly before midnight, Mr. Darr died. HIs skull had been fractured.

 

Defective of vision, in recent years, Mr. Darr, villagers believe, was unable to discern the approaching automobile. Dusk had fallen, making it more difficult for the aged pioneer to distinguish the moving object. Mr. Darr's hearing was slightly affected and he was unable to hear the purr of the motor or the sound of the auto horn.

 

An investigation conducted by Coroner Cook cleared Mr. Geisler of any blame for the accident.

 

Mr. Darr was the thirty-third auto accident victim in 1923 and the second in two days.

 

Lived Alone There

 

Since the death of relatives, Mr. Darr lived alone in the house where he was born. His actions were known to every villager and today it was recalled how regularly Mr. Darr made a trip to the market in Hamilton; how he nightly took walks and how he took pride in the realization that his father and his grandfather had planned and founded Darrtown.

 

Conrad Darr, the grandfather, founded Darrtown in 1802, purchasing the half of section 28 for $1.25 an acre. In 1814, Conrad Darr laid out the village. Abram Darr was the first resident of the town and built the first store there.

 

John Darr tenanted part of the land, which his grandfather had purchased. The ten acres of land, which had been purchased so cheaply by the grandfather are regarded as the most valuable in this territory.

 

The remains of John Darr were taken to the Webb Funeral parlors here. Funeral services have not yet been arranged."

Webmaster Notes:

 

[1] Darrtown was NOT founded in 1802. Records show that Conrad Darr (#1) and others entered the Section 28 of Milford Township in 1802; however, the village was not created until Conrad platted it and filed the record at the Butler County courthouse on April 4, 1814.

 

[2] The location of John Darr's home is not known with any certainty. However, for the three reasons listed below, John's home was likely located on the north side of North Street, east of Main (Rt. 177):

 

Reason #1: The following appears in the Recollections of Virginia Teckman: "If you asked me where I live, I would say Darrtown. But, I really don’t. Darrtown ends at the street beside my house and I live in Milford Township; outside the Darrtown square. But, the property used to be Darr property. Johnny Darr used to live in a tumbled-down shack here, until he was struck by an automobile. I remember my husband saying he took the old man to the hospital. My husband was just a kid and he was an old bachelor. And, Johnny Darr told him that he wanted my husband to buy this land, when he died. So, he did. We built our house here, right afterwards in 1928." Mr. and Mrs. Harry Teckman built their home in the northeast corner of North Street and Main Street.

 

Reason #2) A 1914 map shows that Hiram Darr owned property in the northeast corner of the North Street and Main Street intersection. So, it may be that, in 1923, John Darr was living on property that once belonged to his father, Hiram.

 

Reason #3) In the 1880 census, Hiram Darr (brother of Conrad #2 and father of John) listed his occupation as "raising willows." Even to this day, cattails (similar to willows) grow in a wet, marshy area (see image below), which is located about 75 yards east of the former Teckman home (in the northeast corner of the intersection of Main and North streets. This property was once owned by Hiram Darr.

Cattails growing on the property

once owned by the Darr and

Teckman families.

More Information about the willow trees of the Darr family

In March of 2013, Ron Wiley contributed more "willow tree" information, via the following email message.

 

"…I can add to the info on the Darr willow trees. The last one was almost exactly at the intersection of Cherry St. and North St.

 

When my grandfather (Bill) and my Dad (Ray) built our house in 1948-49 it was there. It was an enormous tree and my brother and I would climb it.

 

When John and Joan Haskins prepared to build their house, where she still lives, it was cut down so that Cherry and North Streets could be extended. Prior to that Cherry St. ended in front of our house, at 4391 Cherry St.

 

People bought the willow branches, some to make furniture. I wonder if there is a willow chair in some Darrtown descendants' homes?

 

Darr also raised pascal celery in what was the lower part of our property just south of what is North St., and, especially in the very lowest part of the field, between Joan Haskins' house and the the former Teckman house on Main St."

John Darr's Estate Probated

- KIrk Mee I Appointed Administrator

 

As noted elsewhere on this website, John Darr was the last known, direct descendant of the original Darr family to live in Darrtown.

 

A record of John Darr's probated will became available to this website, on May 18, 2013, when Raymond KIrk Mee III contributed the documents that appear below. Kirk found these items among papers that his grandfather, Raymond Kirk Mee I, gave to Kirk's father, Raymond Kirk Mee II.

 

The image below shows a "Letter of Administration" that the Butler County (Ohio) Probate Court issued on (Tuesday) November 27, 1923. It is 8.5 by 14 inches in width and length, respectively and was folded in four sections. The first three sections of the outside are shown in the image that appears immediately below.

There are faint notations on the Probate document (perhaps written in pencil). By using a magnifying glass, it was determined that the notations read as follows:

 

Just above the first line on the first panel, the notation is "Taxes 4.10" (perhaps four dollars and ten cents?)

 

At the top of the second panel, the notations are:

>  "Mary Reed daughter of Hiram $200.00"

>  "Will 1881"

>  "Fi_ _ 1890"

>   "Jan. 14. 02 - 600"

>   "$14_ _.00"

The image at the right is the remaining one-fourth) of the document that appears above.

 

This section of the document is replicated here to display the official seal that was stamped into the document.

The interior of the "Letter of Administration" appears below. The document, which appoints R. Kirk Mee as the Administrator of John Darr's estate, is dated (Tuesday) November 27, 1923 and bears the signature of the Judge of the Probate Court, the Hon. R. S. Woodruff.

1937 News article reports that Conrad Darr courted Butler County Courthouse

The news item, that appears below, was cited in the "Here and There" column of the March 24, 1937 edition of the Hamilton Daily News Journal.

"DARRTOWN COURTHOUSE?

 

A survey made by members of the federal writer's project in Butler county revealed the fact that the county could construct a courthouse in Darrtown at any point in time without the necessity of purchasing land.

 

Four lots in the center of the village, known as "the commons," were deeded for courthouse purposes in 1810, by Conrad Darr, founder of Darrtown.

 

The deed was made to the township trustees, who now have possession of the property."

Webmaster Observations:

 

The "1810" date that is reported in the story seems incorrect, since Conrad Darr did not submit plans for the village, until April 4, 1814.

 

Perhaps, Conrad Darr suggested the use of the Darrtown village commons, during the time when Butler county was considering the construction of a new courthouse. According to the text from a historical marker at the Butler County Courthouse, such an opportunity may have occurred between 1810 and 1817.

 

The text on the marker reads, in part: "Butler County was created on March 24, 1803, about three weeks after Ohio became a state. Hamilton won the competition for the county seat, thanks to Israel Ludlow, Hamilton's founder. Ludlow's donation of the public square secured the county seat ... The county built the first courthouse on this public square in 1810. The two-story stone building contained a jail on the first floor and a courtroom on the upper level. A new brick two-story courthouse was built on this square in 1817 at a cost of $10,000."

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