By Joan Baxter
Beavercreek Township was one of the first four townships to be organized in 1803 in Greene County. This Township has the distinction of being the first county seat. The first court of appeals met Aug. 2, 1803 in a log house occupied by Peter Borders not far from the present US Route 35 and Factory Road intersection. A large white house (Harbine House) is located on that site today.
The 25-foot square house was used as a tavern two stories high with one small window. A little to the east was a 10 x 12 foot smoke house which was used as a jury room when court was in session. There were also two blockhouses which originally were used for safety in case of Indian attack. One of these became the jail.
During the first court session, Peter Borders was granted a license to keep a tavern. He was expected to provide good entertainment.
Owen Davis built a grist mill in 1798 which he named the Alpha Mill. This was the only mill between Greene County and Cincinnati, therefore had a thriving business with people coming from as far as 30 miles to have their grain ground into flour. When he ground on Sunday, the neighbors protested. But since some folks had come such a distance he felt they should be served as soon as possible. He threatened to cease grinding. The protest ceased.
John Harbine brought his bride from Pennsylvania in 1828. The tract of land he purchased included the former court house and the Alpha Mill. He went on to build oil, flour and woolen mills as well as a distillery. He had first cotton factory in the area, making him the first prominent industrialist in Beavercreek. When the Dayton, Xenia and Belpre Railroad opened through the township, Harbine and William Needles laid out the town of Alpha adjacent to the railroad. This became the shipping point for the Harbine industries.
During the 1850s John, along with his sons Daniel and Jacob made improvements to the distillery. After a disastrous fire, only three warehouses remained which were later taken over by the Miami Fertilizer Company. In 1915, the C.O. Miller and Son Grain and Feed took over. James became his father’s partner in the 1920s and maintained the business until it closed in 1965.
Emory Mills was apparently built by Adam Emory. Jonathan Snyder and Andrew Baughman operated what is believed to be the fourth mill in Greene County, built about 1812. This mill was located at Beaver Station on the Little Miami River several miles east of Alpha on the Pinckney Road, later known as Valley Road.
Ownership was transferred to E.C. Frost then John Schantz rebuilt the mill. Lester and William Arnold were the next owners, then in the 1870s Frederick Christian Trebein became the owner. The Colonial Company took over the operation about 1900, but the distillery which had been in operation as far back as 1841 was destroyed by fire on Aug. 8, 1904.
In the early 1890s there was a rush for a faster and more convenient mode of transportation between cities. Beavercreek Township was among the first to provide charters for the construction of two interurban lines to connect Xenia and Dayton. The Rapid Transit Company and the Dayton and Xenia Traction Company were established. One power station was located at what is now Kil-Kare Park. The car barns and power house for the Dayton and Xenia Traction Company were located at the corner of Grange Hal and Patterson Roads.
As the township developed, and more settlers came into the area, small villages or communities were established.
Zimmerman – Zimmermanville, located between Xenia and Dayton was named for Jacob Zimmerman who established his home and a grocery store. The home built there by Samuel Tobias became the first voting place. In 1881, the village had about 40 houses, one school, a grocery and a church which was located at North Fairfield Road and Lantz Road. The village got the nickname “Push on.” Some say it was because hobos were told to push on, the other story is that there was an inn at that location which when full the innkeeper would tell the travelers to “push on.”
Trebein or Trebeins Station, located about two miles east of Alpha, has been called Paul’s Mill Frost Station and Beaver Station as well as Pinkeyville. It gets its name from F.C. Trebein who built a flourishing flour mill following the advent of the railroad.
New Germany was a small collection of houses in the extreme northwest portion of the township on the Harshmanville Road; in 1881 the area boasted a school house, grocery and blacksmith shop.
Shoup’s Station was the area just south of Zimmerman on Fairfield-Bellbrook Road. A railroad station servicing the Dayton, Xenia and Belpre railroad was located there along with one store and about 15 people. Solomon Shoup built a flour mill in 1805 on the Little Beaver Creek. In 1921 Ben Beldon bought the mill and moved the facility north of the railroad tracks to what became the site of Daytona Mills. This was the last mill constructed in the township.
The story of Beavercreek Township will be continued.
Joan Baxter is a local resident and weekly historical columnist.