The Grassy Run Skirmish
Settlement and Early History


Jackson Township’s history begins in 1783 when the Peace of Paris ended the Revolutionary War, the independence of the American Colonies was recognized and all of the areas between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River were granted by England to the emerging new nation of the United States.

The future Jackson Township sat in an area that would eventually become known as the Northwest Territory. The governing body of the new United States, the Continental Congress, established guidelines for a new government in the Territory in 1787. On October 5, 1787, the Congress appointed a Territorial Governor, Revolutionary War hero General Arthur St. Clair, to govern the area until any major subdivision of the Territory reached a population of 60,000. Upon reaching that milestone a region could then become a state and be admitted into the United Sates.

On December 9, 1800, General St. Clair established Clermont County. Clermont was the eighth of ten counties forming the southeastern section of the Territory.

All of Clermont County was in the Virginia Military District, which was an area of over four million acres of land reserved by Virginia and used as payment for veterans of the Revolutionary War. This area was bordered by the Ohio River in the south, the Little Miami River in the west, and the Scioto River in the east and the north. Virginia issued bounty land grants in this District until Ohio became a state in 1803.

Clermont was originally an arrangement of five townships: Miami Township, Washington Township (named after George Washington who actually owned land in Clermont), Williamsburg Township, and Lewis Township (now a part of neighboring Brown County).

Jackson Township was formed in June of 1834 from parts of Stonelick, Wayne and Williamsburg townships. The new township, the thirteenth established in the county, was named in honor of then current president of the United States, Andrew Jackson.

The Grassy Run Skirmish

In April of 1792, a small band of Shawnee Indians, led by the then unknown (to white settlers) Tecumseh, stole about fifteen horses from the Maysville, Kentucky area and crossed the Ohio River into the Ohio territory.

Simon Kenton, a well-known scout and Indian fighter, gathered up about thirty-six men and pursued the Indians in spite of orders for no hostilities. His band of men were not exactly thrilled to be chasing after the unknown Indians and during the night twelve of the men sneaked away from camp and returned to Kentucky.

The next day, the remaining men ambushed a lone Indian riding a black horse. He was shot from the horse and set upon by the small band of frontiersmen. As they stood over him, he told the white men that his death would be avenged by Tecumseh, a name the men had never heard before.

It was a rainy day and the storm had driven the Indians into their shelters. The frontiersmen waited until after midnight and attacked the encampment, firing at random into the Indians’ tents.

Tecumseh came rushing out of his tent and, realizing by the sound of the gun fire that he was being attacked by a small number, he called for his men to attack. The Indians quickly got the upper hand over the small band of whites, scattering the pioneers in disorganization and fear for their lives.

This particular confrontation would be the largest and last battle between the settlers and the Shawnee in Clermont County and would set the stage for the Shawnee tribe to eventually be driven out of the Southwestern corner of the Ohio territory.

The last Native Americans in the county, The Wyandot tribe, established a village and lived on the site of the skirmish until 1811.

Settlement and Early History

_The first settlers of the area were Robert Dicky and William Hunter. Dicky, originally from Pennsylvania, was a renowned Indian fighter. He was wounded in the shoulder while fighting the Shawnee in an expedition against Old Chillicothe in 1779. Afterwards, he went to Louisville, Kentucky and joined up with a group of volunteers for an expedition against the Indians in 1791. In November of 1798, Dicky arrived in Williamsburg and by December of that year had purchased 300 acres of land, in the future Jackson Township, from William Lytle. Mr. Dicky never married and passed away in 1840 at the age of 85.

William Hunter and his wife arrived in Williamsburg by way of traveling the Ohio River in late November of 1798, a few weeks after Dicky. Mr. Hunter was a native of Ireland and immigrated to America in 1782, settling in Chambersberg, Pennsylvania. He eventually settled on a farm in the future township in February, 1799. Mr. Hunter died on July 22, 1834 at the age of 73.

The next settler in the area was a native of Germany and a Revolutionary war soldier, Christopher Hartman. In 1776 Hartman married Mary Hutchinson of Mercer County, New Jersey. In 1795 the Hartmans immigrated to Lexington, Kentucky and lived there until November, 1801, when he moved to Williamsburg, Ohio. In December of that year, he purchased 500 acres of land in the future Jackson Township from William Lytle. In 1802 the Hartman’s built a log cabin on the land and moved in. This would also become the first hotel in the township. Mr. Hartman was known to be one of the best millwrights in Southern Ohio. His wife died in August of 1839 at the age of 84 years and Mr. Hartman passed away March 16, 1833 at the age of 83 years.

In 1806 more settlers started flowing into the township area: Ichabod Willis from Lexington, Kentucky; Samual Cox from West Virginia; Andrew Dicky, who left in 1812 but eventually moved back; Hughey Dicky, a Revolutionary War soldier who fought in several major battles; Ezckiel Hutchinson from Mercer County, New Jersey; Robert Hutchinson in 1808 with his wife, Elizabeth. The Hutchinson family immigrated to America in 1627, first settling in Massachusetts Bay and were members of the Puritans; William Smith and his family from Monmouth County, New Jersey moved into the area in 1809 and lived on a farm with his wife, Lucretia and their thirteen children.

By 1837, tax records showed a total of 115 residences, 17,644 acres of land and property valued at $53,995.

The first apple orchard in the township was on Ezekiel Hutchinson’s farm. It was established in 1807 with trees brought from New Jersey. Also several saw and grist mills were operated on various township creeks and the East Fork River from around 1812 until later in the 1800’s.

The Cincinnati & Columbus Traction
Co. ( aka: Hillsboro Short Line or The Swing Line)

_ The Cincinnati and Columbus Traction Co. was known by all of the above names.  Narrow gauge "electric" railways such as the Cincinnati and Columbus Traction Co. were popular in the Cincinnati area at the turn of the Twentieth Century and were called "interurbans." 

The Cincinnati and Columbus Traction Co. (CCTC) begin as an opportunity realized in 1900 when banker Henry Burkhold, the chief officer of the Franklin Bank in Cincinnati, had to take a three mile carriage ride to a relative's farm after disembarking from the steam railroad station in Milford, Ohio. 

Mr. Burkhold convinced investors consisting of Frank Suire, A.J. Becht, Frank Dune, and the Swing Brothers (Philip, Richard and (court) Judge Peter) to help fund the narrow gauge railway they hoped to run from Norwood, Ohio to Columbus, Ohio someday.

Electric railways were all the rage during this turn of the century period and the group forged ahead with their plans by selling stock and getting franchises at the major stops.

The company was never profitable enough to pay a dividend to the share holders, however.  Also, the company's plan to extend eastward to Chillicothe and Columbus never materilized as they neglected to plan for a connection at Hillsboro to continue onto Columbus and they failed to realize that the regions beyond Milford were sparsely populated.  Nor could they be expected to foresee the coming of the universal acceptance of the automobile, which would eventually doom all the interurbans. 

An interesting letter obtained by David McNeil written by a Mr. E. Seigwald, a N&W freight agent, dated February 27, 1909, contained the following information regarding two Jackson Township communities:

"MARATHON, OHIO - 200 or 300 people. About 12 miles from Blanchester [on the B&O], 8 miles from Williamsburg, and 12 miles from Batavia [on the N&W]. Some 8 or 10 carloads of coal received and 5 or 6 cars of wire and implements from Indiana and Illinios points. One car salt from Pomeroy, O. Their flour is bought in Fayetteville, Ohio."

"MONTEREY, OHIO - 150 to 200 people. One car of implements hauled from Williamsburg or Baldwin,O. [on the N&W].  This point is about 7 miles from Baldwin, O., and Williamsburg, O.  4 or 5 cars of fertilizer are shipped from Ft. Wayne, Ind. for parties at Monterey.  Live stock is shipped to Williamsburg, also to Cincinnati and some is driven and hauled from Monterey to Cincinnati, O.  Flour is bought at Boston and Fayetteville, Ohio." 

The CCLC tracks ran closley along current U.S. Highway 50 in Clermont County and ran through the Jackson Township communities of Monterey and Marathon.  The Marathon substation building still exists to this day. There are traces of the line to be found in backyards and across small creeks on properties that front up to U.S. Highway 50.   In 1913 some of the line's property and a major bridge over the Little Miami River was severly damaged in a terrible flood. 

The company went into voluntary receivership and never emerged.  In 1918 it lost so much money that it was deemed hopeless by the receiver and applied for abandonment, for which it received permission. 

An ad appeared in the Cincinnati Times Star on October 25, 1919 that proclaimed by order of the Public Utilities Commission, the Cincinnati and Columbus Traction Line was to cease operation of cars east of Owensville after Midnight October 25, 1919. 

There were people that had hoped to continue the line including an attempt by businessmen in Hillsboro to combine the CCLC with the CM&B. However, the operation became a mere footnote in history as track was eventually removed, bridges destroyed and buildings sold off.

Source: Most of the information contained in this article was obtained from the book Cincinnati and Columbus Traction Co / Hillsboro Short Line / The Swing Line by David McNeil, published in 1996 by David McNeil

Another Footnote in history:  During the evening of August 5th, 2010 the Marathon substation, remodeled into a two apartment buidling, burned, reportedly due to a lit candle knocked over onto a bed.