Alpha, OH – (1854 – present farming & mill town annexed into Beavercreek)
Classification: historic town
Location: Beavercreek Township, Greene County – On Alpha Rd between US 35 & Dayton Xenia Rd
The story of Alpha is also the story of the founding of Green County. It was first settled in 1803 by General Benjamin Whiteman (1769 – 1852) & Catherine (Davis) Whiteman (1775 – 1852), along with her parents Owen Davis (1751 – 1818) & Letitia (Phillips) Davis (1750 – 1824). They all later moved & founded Clifton. Benjamin built a tavern in Alpha & Owen 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 Gen. Nathaniel Greene, a local Revolutionary War hero.
Later in 1827, another couple from Pennsylvania, John T. Harbine (1804 – 1873) & Hetty Herr (Kauffmann) Harbine (1806 – ?), purchased the land that the mill & tavern were on. They employed many local residents & gave farmers more ways to process & sell their crops, mostly corn & tobacco. The Harbines & their children ran the grist mill, a saw mill, flour mill, wool mill, & a corn whiskey distillery. Alpha was aptly named as it was the first village in Beavercreek Township.
A post office was established in 1850. Tracks for the Panhandle line of the Pennsylvania Railroad & The Cincinnati, Hamilton, & Dayton Railroad arrived in 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 its small size to have two railroads & a traction line, probably the biggest reason the area still has its name today while being squeezed on both sides by Beavercreek & Xenia. The residents also kept building 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 & highlighted by Ohio Historical Marker # 21-29. The long gone old tavern & courthouse was in the front yard.
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 Burlington, OH – (1803 – 1971 partially abandoned during the Caesar Creek Lake flood control project)
Classification: small town
Location: Spring Valley Township, Greene County & Chester Township, Clinton County – In Caesar Creek State Park on a gravel road (the old main street) just north of the intersection of SR 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 its 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 the town needed at any given time, including a shoe shop, tailor, tannery, blacksmith, saw mill, planning mill, school & two doctors in the late 1800s.
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 are plenty of parking spots on the other side.
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 town before the flood control project began. They are also buried in the cemetery. New Burlington is still a populated area but its 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 SR 235 near the intersection of Osborn Rd (Medway Rd)
Osborn was laid out by John Cox & Samuel Stafford in 1850, about 1 & 1/2 miles Northwest of Fairfield. It was named after E.F. Osborn, the first railroad attendant, & 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 extremely 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 1920s. Just a few decades later in 1950, Osborn lost its name as it merged with Fairfield to create Fairborn.
Some of the original buildings that were moved from Osborn can still be found today in Fairborn. The old town was located where Skyborn Cruise-In currently sits at the intersection of SR 235 & Haddix Rd & over to the field across the road from there. Cox family cemetery, which was established in Osborn, unfortunately sits inside the gates Wright-Patterson Air Force Base at the end of a runway.
Transylvania, OH – (1803 – 1850 farming & wagon supply town annexed into Spring Valley)
Classification: ghost town
Location: Spring Valley Township, Greene County – On Cook Rd between SR 725 & Centerville Rd
This early Ohio town started up as a hamlet in 1803, the same year Ohio became a state. It’s 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) Truman (1810 – 1894). They were buried in Elam Cemetery on Elam Rd 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. Farming & making supplies for wagons passing along what was then the Xenia – Cincinnati Pike were the main sources of income. Spring valley, which was laid out in 1845 by the Walton family along the east side of the Little Miami river, was larger & growing much faster with mills & a copper shop. The remaining residents that were in Transyvlania moved across the river before 1850.