Alpha, OH - (1854 - present farming & mill town annexed into Beavercreek)
Classification: small town
Location: Beavercreek Township, Greene County - On Alpha Rd. near the intersection of Ohio Bicycle Rt. 2 (Creekside Trail)
The story of Alpha is also the story of the founding of Green County. It was first settled in 1803 by Benjamin Whiteman (1769 - 1852) & his wife Catherine (Davis) Whiteman (1775 - 1852) along with her parents Owen Davis (1751 - 1818) & Letitia (Phillips) Davis (1750 - 1824), all of whom later moved to Clifton, OH in Greene County. Whiteman built a tavern & Davis built a grist mill. They began to hold meetings in the tavern with a few nearby residents & ended up turning it into the first courthouse in the county. The meetings included the founding & layout of Greene County which they named after General Nathaniel Greene, a local Revolutionary War hero.
Later in 1827 another couple from Pennsylvania, John T. Harbine (1804 - 1873) & his wife Hetty Herr (Kauffmann) Harbine (1806 - ?), purchased the land that the mill & courthouse/tavern were on. They employed many local residents & gave farmers more ways to process & sell their crops (mostly corn & tobacco). The Harbine's & their children ran the grist mill, a saw mill, flour mill, wool mill, & a corn whiskey distillery that was their main source of income during many years. Alpha was aptly named as it was the first village in Beavercreek Township.
A post office was established in 1850 & the tracks for the Panhandle line of the Pennsylvania Railroad & The Cincinnati, Hamilton, & Dayton Railroad came through the area in 1853. John Harbine donated land for a train station. In 1854 along with his friend William J. Needles, they decided it was time to officially put Alpha on the map & had it surveyed by Samuel T. Owens, the Greene County surveyor in Xenia.
Alpha was a fortunate town for it's small size to have two railroads & a traction line, probably the biggest reason the area still has it's name today while being sqeezed on both sides by Beavercreek & Xenia. The residents kept building too with a church in 1872 & a meat market in 1874. The population grew to around 100 in 1918. Today John & Hetty Harbine's last home is restored & at 751 Alpha Rd. Ohio Historical Marker # 21-29. The old courthouse/tavern would have been in the front yard.
Location: Spring Valley Township, Greene County - On Roxanna - New Burlington Rd. near the intersection of Houston Rd.
Claysville is the former name of the unincorporated community now called Roxanna & was founded by Elias Adsit & surveyed by Samuel T. Owens, the Greene county surveyor at the time. It had a train station on the Little Miami Railroad, a post office, a grain elevator & was still listed as Claysville on the 1874 atlas. The town name changed sometime before 1900. Roxanna / Claysville cemetery is in a field on the east side of Houston Rd. Part of the Ohio Bicycle Route currently runs through where the town once stood.
Clifton, OH - (1833 - present farming & mill town with little growth)
Location: Miami Township, Greene County & Green Township, Clark County - At the intersection of Rt. 343 & Rt. 72 (Springfield Jamestown Rd.)
Classification: historic town
Clifton was originally settled by the same family that settled Alpha. Owen Davis (1751 - 1818) & his wife Laticia (Phillips) Davis (1750 - 1824) moved with their daughter & son-in-law Catherine (Davis) Whiteman (1775 - 1852) & General Benjamin Whiteman (1769 - 1852) who became a general in 1805 & served in the war of 1812. They had all settled the nearby town of Alpha in the 1790's but were disgruntled when the county seat was given to Xenia, OH after Benjamin & Catherine's house was used as the first courthouse in Greene County.
In Clifton, Owen Davis built a mill & Benjamin Whiteman built a tavern, trading post, & a distillery in the first decade of the 1800's. The town quickly drew more settlers & was platted with 32 lots in 1833 by Timothy Bates & Bennet Lewis (1802 - 1876). They also donated land for the first church in Clifton & enlisted the services of a local carpenter, Abdael Kiler (1810 - 1891), to build houses. He built 14 houses in summer of 1833 which were all bought that year. The town itself was said to be platted "square with the world". We're not exactly sure what that means but if you take a closer look at it on the map, it's easier to see why they said that. The name Clifton came from the rugged cliffs that surround the Little Miami River in that area, sometimes reaching around 80 ft. high. In it's early days Clifton had a blacksmith, saw mill, flour mill, a doctor, and a general store.
The town missed the railroad boom in the 1840's when the closest one was run through Yellow Springs 3 miles to the west which was the first reason the population didn't grow larger. The second reason came in 1849 when Clifton suffered from the worst Cholera epidemic for any town in Ohio based on it's size as half of the residents perished from it. Clifton bounced back some though & by 1918 the community a town hall, jail, school, two stores, three churches, and an opera house that was fit to seat up to 500 people, good enough for a town twice it's size. Clifton's population was 152 in the 2010 census, far less than what it's peak once was.
It's is an awesome place to visit & still has lots of old historical buildings including Benjamin & Catherine Whiteman's original stone house & a restored mill on the same site as the one Owen Davis built. The current mill was originally built by Isaac Preston (1868 - 1950). The Davis's, Whiteman's, Abdael Kiler, & Isaac Preston are all buried in Clifton Union Cemetery on Tanyard Rd. with some family members & many other early settlers.
New Burlington, OH - (1803 - 1971 partially abandoned during the Caesar Creek Lake flood control project)
Classification: small town
Location: Chester Township, Clinton County & Spring Valley Township, Greene County - In Caesar Creek State Park on a gravel road (the old main street) just north of the intersection at Rt. 380 & Roxanna New Burlington Rd.
New Burlington is a farming & mill town first settled by Aaron Jenkins (1750 - 1807) who came from Tennessee in 1799. He donated land for the cemetery & was the first person buried there. New Burlington hit it's peak population around 400 residents in 1880. The town had a few churches, a post office that ran from 1837-1971, & a train station on the Columbus, Washington, & Cincinnati Railroad (Grasshopper) from 1878 - 1933. It also had several grocery & general stores over the years as well as everything else they needed at any given time like a shoe shop, tailor, tannery, blacksmith, saw mill, planning mill, school & two doctors at one point in the 1800's.
The last grocery store that existed was located across from where a small set of concrete steps still stand about 10 feet from the right side of the old main street. The gravel road turns into a concrete road & the main street bridge is the next sight to see. There's plenty of parking spots on the other side of the bridge & hiking trails that lead through where the village was.
Some barely visible foundations are in the area & occasionally other objects left behind can be found. During one of our expeditions we came across a very old 7 ounce soda bottle made by the Star City Bottling Co. of Miamisburg, OH & a nickel hinge from an ice box in a decaying parking lot in the woods. Lawrence Mitchner (1886 - 1973) & Ethel (Compton) Mitchner (1894 - 1964) were the last remaining residents who wouldn't sell off their land in the village before the flood control project began. They are also buried in the cemetery. New Burlington is still a populated area but it's center has moved south a bit.
Osborn, OH - (1850 - 1950 farming & mill town merged with Fairfield to make Fairborn)
Classification: ghost town
Location: Bath Township, Greene County - On Ohio 235 near the intersection of Osborn Rd. (Medway Rd.)
The town of Osborn was laid out by John Cox & Samuel Stafford in 1850, about a mile & half Northwest of Fairfield. It was named after their first railroad attendant E.F. Osborn & flourished for 63 years partly due to taking on a railroad agreement that Fairfield passed up. In 1913 The Great Flood hit Dayton & the surrounding towns hard. The Miami Conservancy District was formed to implement a flood project including several dams.
Despite the fact that the area rarely flooded, Osborn was considered to be too close to the flood plain & the land was bought out by the Conservancy District. The residents didn't want to lose their town so they moved it in a domino effect, people, buildings, & everything else closer to Fairfield. The Osborn Removal Company was formed & did the moving in the early 1920's. Just a few decades later Osborn lost it's name in 1950 as it merged with Fairfield to create Fairborn, OH.
Some of the original buildings that were moved from Old Osborn can still be found today in Fairborn. The old town was located where Skyborn Cruise-In currently sits, to the field across the street from there, & over to the Cox family cemetery. Unfortunately the cemetery sits inside the gates Wright-Patterson Air Force Base at the end of a runway.
Transylvania, OH - (1803 - 1845 farming & wagon supply town annexed into Spring Valley)
Classification: ghost town
Location: Spring Valley Township, Greene County - On Cook Rd. between Rt. 725 & Centerville Rd.
This early Ohio town started up as a hamlet in 1803 like many other towns, the same year Ohio became a state. It is considered to be the original location of current day Spring Valley. The first settler in the area was Jeffery Truman (1784 - 1851) who built & operated a local tavern. He married Jane Elam (1810 - 1894) both of whom are burried in Elam Cemetery on Old Ambrose Elam farm in Spring Valley. In 1850 Samuel T. Owens surveyed Transylvania for 3 heirs of local families.
They built 10 lots on the Southwest bend of the Little Miami river with small farming & making supplies for wagons passing along what was then the Xenia - Cincinnati Pike. Spring valley, which was laid out in 1845 by the Walton family along the East side of the Little Miami river, was bigger & growing much faster with mills & a copper shop. The remaining residents that were in Transyvlania moved across the river sometime before 1850.