Spring Valley Township was organized on December 1, 1856, with territory taken from the eastern portion of Sugar Creek Township. In 1857, the township was enlarged by the addition of a portion of Xenia Township and Caesars Creek Township. The township contains just over thirty-five square miles.
One of the unique features is the fact that there are fifteen prehistoric Indian mounds, including one of the largest in the area located on Mound Street. It is thought that it was used as a signal mound for Fort Ancient.
Spring Valley is the township seat, but there are several other communities which have been busy communities. Blessing Corner, Pogue Corners, Robinson, Bobtown, Greenwood Springs, Richland and Claysville. Mt. Holly is partially in Spring Valley, partially in Warren County. Another village which spanned the county line was New Burlington.
Roxanna is located on the southwestern corner of the township on the East side of the Little Miami River. The village was recorded I 1845, settled largely on account of the railroad. It was known as Claysville but another town in Ohio had the same name so the name was purportedly changed to honor the Postmaster Roxanna Clark.
Transylvania meaning “across the woods” was platted in 1850 but existed much earlier. It was said that President Monroe stayed in the village when traveling by stagecoach, but when the railroad was projected to come into the township, Transylvania was not considered. The train would pass on the other side of the river. The residents moved to a site by the railroad which they called Spring Valley, laid out about 1842 by Edward and Moses Walton.
Cooperville was a part of Spring Valley village. The neighborhood was so called because barrels were made there. Barrett flour was in high demand in many areas. It was distributed locally in bags, but for shipping, the barrels made in the cooper shop were desirable. Another business in Coopersville was that of William Neeld, Sr. the town undertaker who also owned a casket factory. He later moved to Xenia.
The Township building, located downtown in Spring Valley was constructed in 1888. Township offices and the post office were located on the first floor. Copsey’s Grocery was on the main floor of the Township building. This was a gathering place for town folks to exchange current information. Sometimes the grocer was very busy. It was his job to answer the fire calls and ring the alarm on top of the old jail behind the building to alert the volunteer firemen. Apparently the jail never houses serious criminals, but mostly hoboes who arrived riding on the train.
The high ceilinged second floor had a stage for the traveling artists and school plays . The seats were removable since the high school basketball team used the space as a gymnasium. The two pillars in the room gave the home team quite an advantage. The second floor was also used for revival meetings, dances and auctions.
Another special event held annually on the second floor was the Easter Market. A wide variety of hand-crafted items and food were available on Good Friday and Holy Saturday just prior to Easter Sunday. Local churches sponsored the event for many years until a new minister came to town, decrying the practice of having such an activity during Holy Week. The Easter Market closed.
The cornerstone contained a variety of letters, papers, etc. The shoemaker wrote a letter on a piece of leather, a package of pills and powders, a cigar, postage stamps and samples of woolen goods from the Barrett Mill were included. A letter from the Spring Valley Blade editor to the 1988 Blade editor was included.
Spring Valley Hams were famous throughout the country. Moses Walton used “liquid smoke” (a sugar curing process) to make the hams. The company claimed that these were the “sweetest hams you ever tasted.” That must have been the case because hams were shipped all over the United States and to Europe. Unfortunately when the owner died, the formula died with him.
A well was drilled, hoping to locate oil, but instead mineral water was found. This became very popular so that people came from miles around to fill their jugs. The water, known as Okee Water was bottled and sold by several different entrepreneurs.
The Honorable I. M. Barrett representative to the Ohio Congress owned several businesses, but is better known for the home he built in Spring Valley. Rather than use conventional wood or brick, he built his house of poured cement. Built in 1853, it is the “first poured wall cement house in Ohio” and on the National Register of Historic Places.
The first school in Spring Valley village was located on the second floor of Moses Walton’s warehouse. Later a two-story building was constructed, then in 1906 a cement block building was erected. The teacher earned the grand sum of $45 per month. A high school was built on the Spring-Valley Paintersville Pike in 1924. In the late 20th century, schools in Spring Valley were closed so that the students now attend Xenia Community Schools.
A highlight of every fall is the Spring Valley Potato Festival. Hundreds of people come from miles around to taste the potato inspired dishes which are available. Everything from chips to candy are made from potatoes to tempt the visitors.
Joan Baxter is a local resident and long-time historical columnist.