Featuring 3 towns with 9 pictures from Darke County, “Abandoned Ohio” was released on October 1st, 2018 & is packed with history & ideas for road trips. It also makes an awesome birthday or holiday gift!
Online Ordering Links
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Bruss – Butler Township
Post Office: 1883 – 1885
Location: 39.990000 -84.631764
on US 127 at the intersection of Arcanum Hollansburg Rd
Remnants: former one room schoolhouse at the intersection of Arcanum Hollansburg Rd & SR 503 east of the GPS coordinates
Description: The town was founded by Civil War veteran Asariah Bruss (1843 – 1923) & Mary (Hittle) Bruss (1848 – 1916). They settled in section 11 of Butler Township in 1872, had 11 children, & were buried with relatives in Oak Grove Cemetery on SR 121.
Chenoweths – Washington Township
Post Office: 1824 – 1839
Location: 40.092228 -84.783666
on the north side of Greenville – Nashville Rd along North Fork Kraut Creek between Stocksdale Rd (279) & Hillgrove – Southern Rd (T-52)
Remnants: Chenoweth (Carnahan) Cemetery in an overgrown area about halfway between the GPS coordinates & SR 502
Descrpiton: It was founded by War Of 1812 veteran John Chenoweth (1797 – 1851) from Pike County & Mary (Barger) Chenoweth (1799 – 1876) from Virginia. They moved to Darke County around 1820 & had a big family. John was a farmer & brick maker. The town was listed in The Ohio Gazetteer & Traveler’s Guide from 1837 – 1841. John & Mary were buried with relatives in Chenoweth Cemetery.
Danemora – Mississinawa Township
Description: The town was listed in the 1880 Valuation Of The Real Property Of The State Of Ohio & a couple of other obscure books, one from 1847 & another in 1866.
Delvin – Wabash Township
Post Office: 1889 – 1903
Location: 40.324984 -84.534199
on N Star Fort Laramie Rd at the intersection of Mangen Rd (54)
Remnants: St. Louis Cemetery at the intersection, Tea Cup (Teacup or Weaver) Cemetery on the north side of N Star Fort Laramie Rd west of the GPS coordinates
Description: This small farming town had a church & blacksmith shop.
Hetzlerville – Jackson Township
Post Office: 1869 – 1881
Location: 40.205759 -84.722309
on private property on both sides of the railroad tracks east of Young Rd between Union City – Elroy Rd & Beamsville – Union City Rd
Remnants: none known
It was on the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, & Indianapolis Railway, named after the Hetzler family in the county, & had a general store & steam saw mill.
Hunters (Huntertown) – Greenville Township
Location: 40.165164 -84.637132
on Hunter Rd at the intersection of SR 118
Remnants: Newcomer (Earhart) Cemetery on the west side of SR 118 south of the intersection
Description: The town was founded by the Hunter family in the area & had a church & school. Most of the residents were buried in the cemetery.
London – Liberty Township (formerly German Township)
Description: It was listed in the Ohio Gazetteer And Traveler’s Guide from 1837 – 1841.
Matchett (Matchett’s Corner) – Butler Township
Post Office: 1855 – 1862
Location: 40.001178 -84.633117
on US 127 at the intersection of SR 503
Remnants: none known
Description: The town proprietor was Eric Matchett (1791 – 1867) from New York who had a few children with his first wife Joananh (Hendrickson) Matchett (1798 – 1839) from New Jersey. They arrived in Ohio around 1820, originally living in Butler County before moving to Darke County in the early 1830s. Eric married Rebecca (Law) Matchett (1795 – 1862) after Joananh passed away. The town had a hotel & church. The Matchetts were buried with relatives in Greenville Union Cemetery on West St in Greenville.
Mina (Mina Town) (North Greenville) – Greenville Township
Location: 40.105770 -84.639399
on N Main St at the intersection of Wayne St
Remnants: Water Street Cemetery at the intersection of E Water St & Ash St in Greenville
Description: Platted in 1818, Mina was founded by War Of 1812 veteran Azor Scribner (1778 – 1822) from New York & Nancy Scribner -Russell (1785 – 1849) who had 8 daughters. Azor arrived in Darke County in 1806, built a trading post, & was the first permanent settler of the county. He left his family behind in Middletown until constructing a decent cabin in Darke & deeming the location safe enough to bring everyone else along in 1808. Azor also built a tavern which was the site of the first court session in the county. Certain details of the event have been disputed, but it’s likely Azor shot & killed Shawnee Chief Tecumseh, who he personally knew & previously traded with, during the Battle Of Fallen Timbers (Battle Of Thames) on October 5, 1813. Azor was buried with relatives in Water Street Cemetery. Nancy remarried after he passed away.
Mount Pleasant – Washington, Greenville, & Liberty Township
Location: 40.094685 -84.707130
on New Madison – Coletown Rd at the intersection of Greenville – Nashville Rd
Remnants: Hiller (Heller) Cemetery on the west side of New Madison – Coletown Rd north of the intersection, Dininger Cemetery on the west side of New Madison – Coletown Rd south of the intersection
Description: It had 2 churches & a school.
Saint John – Greenville Township
Location: 40.131789 -84.599186
on SR 121 (Marker Rd) at the intersection of Jaysville – St Johns Rd
Remnants: St John Lutheran Church & Cemetery on SR 121 northeast of the intersection
Description: German immigrants purchased the land in the area that was passed up by earlier settlers who thought it wasn’t any good. With hard work the Germans turned it into nicely cultivated farms & tobacco was the main crop. They formed a Lutheran congregation in 1851 & built a log church the following year. It was replaced by the brick church that still stands in 1876 as the success of the farms kept growing. Saint John had very nice houses & tobacco sheds in the late 1800s to early 1900s. It was never abandoned but was annexed into Greenville & lost its status as a separate town.
Sampson – Neave, Van Buren, Butler, & Twin Township
Post Office: 1850 – 1858
Location: 40.004669 -84.598124
on Hollansburg – Sampson Rd at the intersection of Jaysville – St Johns Rd
Remnants: none known
Description: Sampson was platted in 1846 & had a general store, tavern, steam saw mill, school, & church. The population in 1880 was around 350. It was abandoned in the late 1800s when the Dayton & Union Railroad was built through Delisle & Sampson couldn’t keep up with it economically.
Seven Mile Prairie
Post Office: 1841 – 1863
Description: none found
Strakers (Straker’s Station) – Patterson Township
Location: 40.306231 -84.495347
on Yorkshire – Osgood Rd at the intersection of Foote Rd
Remnants: none known
Description: The proprietor, Civil War veteran Henry Straker (1827 – 1901), moved to Ohio from Germany with his widowed mother & brothers in 1834. He married Nancy (Swallow) Straker (1836 – 1871) in 1852. They had 10 children & Nancy passed away just two weeks after their last children, a set of twins, were born. Henry remarried twice after that. He accumulated over 500 acres & ran a tile factory & steam saw mill on the land. Products were shipped out from a train station on the Dayton, Ft. Wayne, & Chicago Railway. Henry was buried with relatives in Greenlawn Cemetery on N Greenlawn Ave in Versailles.
Wiley (Wiley Station) – Harrison Township
Post Office: 1864 – 1904
Location: 39.935119 -84.759922
on Braffettsville – North Rd at the intersection of Wiley Rd
Remnants: Providence Cemetery on the south side of Wiley Rd
Description: It was founded by Caleb Wiley (1799 – 1888) from Virginia & Elizabeth (Sprowl) Wiley (1817 – 1909) from Preble County. They had 7 children & a nice farm. Caleb built a saw mill & the town also had a church & school. It was on the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago, & St. Louis Railway. Caleb & Elizabeth were buried with relatives in Providence Cemetery.
Bear’s Mill, OH – (1832 – present mill town with less residents than in the past)
Classification: small town
Location: Adams Township, Darke County – On County Hwy 34 (Arcanum Bears Mill Rd) south of US 36
Bear’s Mill was settled by Major George Adams (1767 – 1832) who was a veteran of the Revolutionary War & the War of 1812. The township was named after him & George had a saw mill & corn cracker built on the land in 1832 but died later that year. In 1848 a new mill was built on the same spot by a local contractor, Manning Hart (1821 – 1891). He sold it in 1849 to Gabriel Baer (1791 – 1859). Gabriel finished the new mill including the wood siding that still lines the outside today.
It’s unknown when or why the name was changed to Bear, but it’s the oldest industrial business in Darke County. The mill store sells several kinds of flour & pottery. The address is 6450 County Hwy 34, Greenville, OH 45331 – phone # 937-548-5112. The town of Bear’s Mill was once home to scores of residents who worked in & around the mill. It’s still a populated area but the residences are more spread out now & most of the big old farms are gone.
Mill Website – http://www.bearsmill.org/
Brock, OH – (1830s – present farming town with less residents than in the past)
Classification: small town
Location: York Township, Darke County – On Greenville St. Mary’s Rd at the intersection of SR 185 (Brock – Cosmos Rd)
Brock was never a large place & didn’t have much more than a wood frame church built in 1857, a school, town hall, & general store. The population was around 100 in 1880. Brock still gets some special attention every now & then though because Annie Oakley (Phoebe Ann Moses (1860 – 1926) was buried in Brock Cemetery.
She was born in nearby Willowdell & spent much of her life in North Star, about 5 miles north of Brock on US 127. Annie acquired local fame when she defeated her future husband, Francis E. Butler (1850 – 1926), in a shooting competition at one of his acts in a Cincinnati suburb on Thanksgiving Day 1875. They were married the next year & Annie joined Frank’s show in 1882. Annie & Frank signed up with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in 1885 & started touring the country. Annie also appeared in two kinetoscope films in 1894. She broke several world records before leaving the show in 1902.
There are a few places in Darke County that honor her memory. The largest is the Garst Museum at 205 N Broadway St in Greenville, OH which houses several items from Annie’s era & a memorial park on the outside has a statue of her along with Ohio Historical Marker # 2 – 19. Next to Annie & Frank’s graves in “New” Brock Cemetery just south of town on Greenville St. Mary’s Rd is Ohio Historical Marker # 7 – 19 that tells more of their story. North Star also has an Annie Oakley sign at the edge of town. “Old” Brock Cemetery is on US 127 north of SR 185 where some early pioneers were buried. Brock lost it’s post office in 1906 & there are only a dozen or so residences now. The town hall still stands at the intersection of SR 185 & Greenville St. Mary’s Rd.
Dawn, OH – (1854 – present farming, mill, & railroad town with less residents than in the past)
Classification: semi – ghost town
Location: Richland Township, Darke County – On Greenville Saint Marys Rd & Old State Highway 47 off of US 127
Dawn was platted in 1854 by Lewis Wesley Johnson (1824 – 1862) who moved to Ohio from Johnsons Mill, West Virginia. Lewis built a saw mill & was also the town’s first postmaster. The post office was originally called Eden when it opened in 1856, but the name changed was changed to Dawn & it ran from 1857 – 1935. When the saw mill in town burnt down, a lumber mill was built on the same spot & later upgraded with a grist mill. It was steam powered & home to the first stationary steam engine in the township.
Luckily the town got a train station on the Big Four Railway (Cleveland Cincinnati, Chicago, & St. Louis). The station was called Nevada & sat on the south side of the railroad tracks in the middle of town. In the late 1800s Dawn had a forge, tile factory, general store, blacksmith, doctor, church, & a two story school (Richland Township #4). The population declined over the 1900s as the town lost its businesses & the train station.
Dawn still has a small old church on Greenville St Marys Rd on the south side of town. There are also a few abandoned houses & an abandoned auction house that was once called Auction City. The back of the lot is set up like a fort with guard towers on the corners made to look like Fort Brier, which was a War Of 1812 fort that was built a few miles southwest of Dawn.
Darke County Ohio Ghost Towns Research Resources
1857 – Darke County Map
1875 – Darke County Atlas
1888 – Darke County Atlas
1900’s – Darke County Atlas (year unknown)
1880 – History Of Darke County Ohio
1900 – A Biographical History Of Darke County Ohio
1914 – History Of Darke County Ohio – Vol. 1
1914 – History Of Darke County Ohio – Vol. 2