Clifton, OH – (1833 – present farming & mill town with little growth)
Location: Miami Township, Greene County & Green Township, Clark County – At the intersection of SR 343 & SR 72 (Springfield Jamestown Rd.)
Classification: historic town
Disgruntled that the Greene County seat was given to Xenia instead of Alpha, founded by the same family, Clifton was later founded by Owen Davis (1751 – 1818) & Laticia (Phillips) Davis (1750 – 1824) & their daughter & son-in-law Catherine (Davis) Whiteman (1775 – 1852) & General Benjamin Whiteman (1769 – 1852). Benjamin became a general in 1805 & served in the War of 1812.
In Clifton, Owen Davis built a mill & Benjamin Whiteman built a tavern, trading post, & a distillery in the first decade of the 1800s. 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 construct 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 surrounding the Little Miami River in that area, sometimes reaching around 80 feet high. In its early days, Clifton had a blacksmith, saw mill, flour mill, a doctor, and a general store.
The town missed the railroad boom in the 1840s 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 of any town in Ohio based on its size. Half of the residents perished from it. Clifton bounced back some though & by 1918 the community had 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 its size. Clifton’s population was 152 in the 2010 census, far less than what its peak once was.
The town 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 family, Whiteman family, Abdael Kiler, & Isaac Preston are all buried in Clifton Union Cemetery on Tanyard Rd with relatives & many other early settlers.
Thanks to group member Brett Taylor, manager of Ohio Hiking Trails And Historical Sites, for providing the listing picture!
New Boston, OH – (1809 – 1866 pioneer town annexed into Springfield)
Location: Bethel Township, Clark County – On S Tecumseh Rd near the overpass of SR 4
Classification: ghost town
New Boston was founded in 1809 by Henry Bailey & had around a dozen houses. When Springfield barely won the county seat in 1818 by 2 votes, growth in New Boston began to decline. The town had a post office from 1818 – 1824. New Boston was officially annexed into Springfield in 1866 when the Court of Common Pleas ordered it to be abandoned.
The George Rogers Clark Heritage Association is just to the north of where the town was. They have an annual fair in George Rogers Clark Park near the site of the Battle of Piqua (info on “Old” Piqua, OH below). New Boston Cemetery is in the park but there are only 3 gravestones left. We suspect a lot more people are buried there. Another interesting location is the reportedly haunted home of Daniel Hertzler which is a restored museum at 930 S Tecumseh Rd.
(Old) Piqua, OH – (1754 – 1780 Shawnee town destroyed during the Battle Of Piqua)
Classification: ghost town
Location: Bethel Township, Clark County – In George Rogers Clark Park off of Lower Valley Pike.
It was settled by Shawnee natives near the banks of the Mad River but also grew to include settlers from Wyandot, Delaware, & Mingo tribes with a population of around 4,000. Tecumseh was born there in 1768 & later bacame the Shawnee leader. The town was fortified with Revolutionary War British troops & destroyed in 1780 by George Rogers Clark & his American soldiers. The remaining residents moved to present day Piqua settling there in 1793.