Prior to the arrival of the first white settlers in the year 1801, the inhabitants of the land that was to become Monroe Township, were untutored Indians, who earned their livelihood hunting wild animals on the forested land. A Shawnee tribe had "quite" a village in the southeastern part of the township.


The early white settlers were a hearty people from the southern states and Pennsylvania looking for new homes. Samuel Freeman, the first white settler and his family settled west of the Miami River and about one mile south of present day Tipp City. They occupied a bark hut left by the Indians until they could finish a house of their own.

John Yount came from North Carolina in 1802 bringing his family with him, and making his home for some time right among the Indians; he entered his farm at $2 per acre, which they “stepped off,” thus dispensing with the services of a surveyor.

In 1804 Michael Fair moved from Frederick County, Maryland with his family and several other families, including a mother and her son of about seven years of age called John Clark, who later became Mr. Fair’s step-son. These families first located in Greene County but not being satisfied to remain there, moved to this area settling in the Cowlesville area in the same year.

The settlers continued to arrive, bringing with them large families. They found the area comparatively level, fine for agricultural purposes, and well adapted for raising grain. Maple sugar was made on most of the early farms. Flax, tobacco and corn were the early products.

As the population began to advance rapidly up the Miami Valley, a new county named Miami County was established in 1807. On February 3, 1818, a new governing body called Monroe Township was formed. In the early years, township government cared for the poor, maintained the roads, preserved the peace, registered brands and fulfilled the needs of local government generally.

Agriculture and cattle raising were the chief commodities in the early years of the township. A breed of cattle we now know as Polled Short Horns originated in Monroe Township and developed under the directions of Dr. W. W. Crane.

One of the early settlements made on the western edge of the township was called Frederickstown, named after Frederick Yount. The first town lots were surveyed in 1828 and a post office was established there under the name of Fidelity.. Although still in the Atlas of Miami Co., Ohio, D.J. Lake, C.E., published by C.O. Titus in 1871 as Frederickstown, this settlement later became known as Frederick. Many relatively small industries blossomed in this village such as a broom factory, saw mill and distillery to name a few.

Henry J. Hyatt came from Maryland to build his “corner store and residence” and conceived of the idea to form the hamlet of Hyattsville in 1833 at the intersection of the Dayton-Troy Road (established in 1808) and the Springfield-Greenville Road. Stagecoaches passed through Hyattsville from the very beginning, going north and south over the road known as the Dayton – Troy Road (now Hyatt Street). The stage stopped here to deliver passengers and mail. In a few short years, Hyattsville became a western “neighbor” to the town of Tippecanoe and never developed beyond its original twenty-seven (27) lots although it maintained a post office (established in 1835), two stores, tavern, blacksmith shop and a church. Most of the homes were of log structure. In1874, the citizens asked to be incorporated into the Village of Tippecanoe so that they might have better schools and other advantages.

John Clark, step-son of Michael Fair who came with other families to the area in 1804, was able to visualize the success of a town located at the intersection of the Miami and Erie Canal (completed about 1837) and the road from Springfield to Greenville established in 1813 and designated as a state road in 1817. Seventeen (17) lots were recorded as the first plat in 1840. This new village was named Tippecanoe. The village became eligible for incorporation and was granted a charter in March of 1851. In 1938, permission was given by the Court of Appeals to change the name of Tippecanoe to Tipp City to avoid endless confusion with Tippecanoe in Harrison County.

Samuel V. Person started the village of Cowlesville in 1842. It was located in the northeast corner of Monroe Township and named for the Cowles family who owned the original house, grist mill and grain warehouse.

Ginghamsburg was settled in the early 1850’s and Christian Beesom started the first store there in 1855. Ginghamsburg is located at the very south edge of Monroe Township near the Miami-Montgomery County line and to this day remains a small “burg” located on County Road 25A south of Tipp City with a couple of churches, small businesses, and several dozen residents.

There were many churches dotting the area of Monroe Township in its early history. The “Friends” (Quaker) Meeting House in Frederick; the “Friend” Church north of present day State Route 571 and east of Peters Road; the German Reformed Church; The Disciples (Church of Christ), near the Old Monroe Cemetery on present day Miami-Montgomery County Line Road; a Methodist Church in Frederick; a Union Church in Ginghamsburg and later, around 1865, the United Brethren Church; Sugar Grove Church of Frederick and the West Union (Nashville) Church of God, at Brush Creek were established. Some of these churches are still active.

Some of the cemeteries in Monroe Township were originally family cemeteries such as he Wells and Mills cemeteries. Several cemeteries such as the Monroe Cemetery, Frederick Cemetery, Pearson Cemetery and Hyattsville Cemetery may have been the burial grounds for nearby churches that are no longer standing.

NOTE: This article contains much interesting information that has been reprinted and brought slightly up to date from previous histories of Monroe Township. The books, from which information was borrowed, are: "The History of Miami County, Ohio", Beers, 1880; "A History of Miami County, Ohio, (1807-1953)", Leonard U. Hill, Editor, 1953; and, "History of Miami County, Ohio," E. Irene Miller, Editor., Published by the Miami County Historical Society, 1982.

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