Friday, December 30, 2005

The Old Miami House in Waynesville, Ohio

"The Old Miami House" ~
also known as the "Morrow House", the "Rogers House", and the
"Cornell House". Building is no longer extant.

There had been a tavern building on the northeast corner of Main and North Streets from 1827 on until 1955 when it was demolished to build a diner. Over the years it had many owners and business purposes. This tavern, the old 1808 Samuel Martin log cabin tavern at the north end of Main which survived until after the Civil War, and the Hammell House were the three primary tavern/inns in Waynesville after 1824. "The Old Penitentiary", a two story log tavern in Miami Square on the old public square, was not used as a tavern after 1824. According to Judge John W. Keys:

"In 1827, the tavern owned by Samuel Cornell & Son was built by Joshua Ward. Israel Woodruff first kept a tavern there and I think he only remained there one year when Ward took possession of it. Ward did not long remain in it, but traded it to Stephen Cook for the farm where Levi Cook lived in 1870. The house about 1828 and 1830 was kept by Brice Curran and in 1835 by S. M. Linton, in 1837 by Frederic Stanton, Stanton assigned it to David Evans and Mahlon Bateman, they conveyed it to James Harris: Harris sold to Richard Morrow, since which it has been owned and kept by Jerry Parkhill, Job Rogers, William Rogers, J. H. Weaver, and perhaps others. During the time it was owned by Harris, Benjamin Kemp and Alfred Lee were engaged in the business there."

"About 1839, Benjamin Barnhart fitted up the house, which was later purchased by John Thorn, and kept a public house there for several years after he closed the business in 1862. John L. Thorn, the new owner, also continued to keep a public house at that location" (Taken from a series of articles written by Judge Keys that were published in the Miami-Gazette and the Western Star).

Judge Keys also remarks that the accounts of travelers mentioned that three or four taverns or inns existed in Waynesville. Unfortunately they do not mention names.

The first meeting of the Little Miami Railroad Company was in the Linton's Hotel (owned by S. M. Linton from 1835-1837) in Waynesville on May 13, 1836.

Legend states that the building was used as a stop on the Underground Railroad. There was a hidden room in the attic. To gain entry to that room, a person needed to press on a board in the wall. There was said to be a hidden tunnel entrance into the building with the steps from the tunnel hidden between walls and tunnels leading to other buildings in Waynesville. Tunnels led from the town down to the Little Miami River.

The Old Miami House was also the first location of the Waynesville National Bank in 1875.

The old tavern building was also the home of the Wayne Township Library from 1917 to 1954. The first residence of the library was in the I. H. Harris Exchange Bank building across North Street on the southeast corner of Main and North (no longer extant). Shortly after its founding, the library moved into one of the back rooms of the old tavern on the northeast corner. For the history of the Waynesville Township Library (later known as The Mary L. Cook Public Library) and Dr. Mary L. Cook, its founder, see: Dr. Mary Leah Cook 1869-1964 .

For more information see:
1882 Beer's History of Warren County, Ohio (Chicago: W. H. Beers & Co, 1882), pp. 571-572.
Waynesville's First 200 Years, 1797-1997 (The Waynesville Historical Society, 1997, p. 39.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Little Miami Railroad ~ One of Ohio's Earliest Railroads

Looking east across the railroad tracks to Waynesville
on the west side of the Little Miami River.

In the 1830s and 1840s, the Ohio~Erie Canal, which ran from Cleveland to Portsmouth, and its parallel sister canal on the western side of the state, the Miami~Erie Canal, which ran from Toledo to Cincinnati, were finished. Fast on the heals of the canal boom came another faster and more efficient form of transportation, the railroads. Just as the two canal systems connected the Ohio River with Lake Erie and then points further east via the Erie Canal, Ohioans began to think about connecting the river and the lake via railroad lines passing between and parallel with these two canals. Discussion ensued in 1832, the same year that the Ohio-Erie Canal was completed. On March 11, 1836 the Ohio Legislature chartered:
  • Mad River & Lake Erie Railroad Co., which would run from Sandusky City to Springfield, and,
  • Little Miami Railroad Co., which would run from Springfield to Cincinnati

thus connecting the Ohio River with Lake Erie when the two lines were completed. Eventually the Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railway would also be built which paralleled the Great Miami River which, like the Little Miami River, empties into the Ohio River.

The first meeting of the Little Miami Railroad Co. was in the Linton's Hotel (owned by S. M Linton from 1835-1837, also known as the Miami House) in Waynesville on May 13, 1836. The hotel was located on the northeast corner of Main and North Streets. The Little Miami Railroad had a rocky start. Many people did not believe in the project and the state withdrew promised assistance. However, the board of trustees persevered and constuction began in 1837. The rails were wood, at first poplar with strap iron laid on top, but, then it was found that white oak was a better wood for the job. The following is a timeline of the construction of the Little Miami Railroad:

  • 1837 ~ Jeremiah Morrow is elected the first president of the company.
  • 1840 ~ The first section of the railroad from Columbia (outside of Cincinnati) to Kugler's Mills is completed.
  • 1841 ~ Iron rails are ordered from England to be nailed on top of the wooden rails. The first locomotive and passenger car are purchased. Grading is completed to Morrow's Mills and rails laid to Kugler's Mills.
  • December 14, 1841 ~ The first train runs from Fulton to Milford and back.
  • 1842 ~ A bridge is built across the Little Miami River at Miamiville.
  • 1843 ~ Trains run to Foster's Crossing.
  • 1844 ~ The tracks are completed to Morrow.
  • August 1845 ~ The tracks are completed to Xenia.
  • August 1846 ~ The tracks are completed to Springfield
  • 1847 ~ Mad River & Lake Erie Railroad and the Little Miami River Railroad united.
  • 1850 ~ By this date there are 4 passenger trains, 3 freight trains and one local passenger train running each way. By 1850, all the old wooden-strap iron rails have been replace by iron T-rails.
  • 1852 ~ The Hillsboro and Cincinnati Railroad connects with the Little Miami Railroad at Loveland.
  • 1853 ~ The Cincinnati, Wilmington & Zanesville Railroad connects with the Little Miami Railroad at Morrow.
  • Early 1860s ~ A busy time for the Little Miami Railroad during the Civil War.
  • February 23, 1870 ~ The Little Miami Railroad is leased to the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati & St. Louis Railroad. Become part of their branch line from Columbus to Cincinnati. This lease was eventually acquired by Penn Central.
  • 1970 ~ Penn Central Transportation Co. went into bankruptcy in an effort to reorganize.
  • 1930s ~ This time was the peak of the old Little Miami Railroad line. In an 8 hour day 24 trains ran. Traffic was primarily freight but there was a train named the "accommodation" which ran in the early morning and late afternoon between Cincinnati and New York City.
  • After 1945 ~ Goes into a decline. Freight only travels on the Little Miami Rail line.
  • 1973 ~ The Regional Rail Reorgainization Act was passed thus creating ConRail Corp. This was done to try to support local railways which were declining quickly. Unfortunately, the 52.2 miles from Clare Yards in Mariemont to Spring Valley were not included.
  • July 29, 1976 ~ Penn Central officially abandons the Little Miami Railroad line. The abandon line's right of way is now hike and hiking way along the Little Miami River which has been declared a Scenic River.

For more about the river and bike way, see:,,, and

For more information about the railroad see:

Below is a map showing the railroad lines from Cincinnati up through the Miami Valley and further north:

Also see the following books:

"The Little Miami Railroad" by Robert L. Black (Cincinnati: Published by Author). The map above is found in this book.

"The Early History of the Cincinnati Division fo the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway", a dissertation by Richard A. Thomas.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Dr. Isaac Fisher of Waynesville, Ohio & Oskaloosa, Iowa

Mary Fisher,
daughter of Dr. Isaac Fisher, ca. 1860

Dr. Isaac Fisher (May 18, 1802 – April 13, 1888), the brother of Sylvanus, the founder of the Waynesville Academy, and Elias Fisher, lived in Warren Co., Ohio and practiced in Waynesville around 1830. Isaac is listed in the 1850 Census of Warren County at the age of 48 married to Eunice (42). They had five children: Cyrus (male, 15), Lydia A. (female, 12), Hannah (female, 9), Sina Ann (female, 6), Mary (4) and Harris (male, 1). In 1850 he is practicing medicine in Lebanon and then the family moved west.

In January of 1867 Eunice Fisher died in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Her death was reported in the Miami-Visitor (January 23, 1867):

We regret to learn of the death of Eunice Fisher, wife of Dr. Isaac Fisher, formerly of this place, but now of Oskaloosa, Iowa. The Herald of that place says: The death of Mrs. Eunice Fisher, noticed last week, demands more than a passing notice. She had spent long weary years in suffering, but instead of impatience, irritability, and complaint, she exhibited just the opposite virtues. From her letters we see proof of more extraordinary qualities of mind and heart. Account of her confinement at home, and family, few knew her real worth outside of her family circle. Her influence, counsel and prayer will long live. Her great comfort was her hope in her redeemer, and the consoling thought of John Milton, when he said that “ They also serve who only stand and wait”. Surely, suffering with Christ in the passion not only forms a well-balanced character but often brings out rare virtues. The deceased was such a mother and wife and is not easily replaced, but though dead she yet speaketh. C. H. G .

Dr. Isaac Fisher returned for a while to both Lebanon and Waynesville but moved again west to Oskaloosa, Iowa, where he died. However, before moving west again, he married. It is reported in the Miami-Gazette (July 28th, 1869):

Dr. Isaac Fisher, a well known citizen of Warren County, now of Lebanon, was married on Thursday last to Miss Sarah Clark, near this place. We give them our best withes for long years of happiness.

At some point in his journeying he and his family became Presbyterians and so were disowned by Miami Monthly Meeting in 1848.

The Hammells of Waynesville & Cincinnati

Enoch Hammell of New Jersey bought an old tavern in Waynesville, Ohio in 1841 from Nathaniel McLean, which became known as the "Hammell House". He was the owner up till 1863. Evidence indicates that Enoch was an enterprising person. As well as being a tavern owner he was a surveyor and a real estate agent. He is often mentioned in the business advertisement section of the Miami-Visitor weekly newspaper in his role as surveyor and real estate agent. For example, on March 31, 1852, E. Hammell placed an ad announcing that the Hammell House was for rent. The tavern was leased to a Mr. Yeoman by Enoch Hammell in 1852. His Real Estate Agency was first announced in the newspaper on January 29, 1853. He announced that he was offering services again in engineering and surveying on March 21, 1853. He also sold Warwick's Plows and he was the agent for the New York Reaper which was manufactured by Warder & Browkaw, Lagonda Mills, in Springfield, Ohio. He lists many properties for sale one of which is the Hammell House itself. After he sold the tavern in 1863, it became a private residence for quite some time.

He and his wife Eleanor had two artistic sons:
  • Abram (Abraham) Harris Hammell ~ was born in New Jersey on October 26, 1826. He died July 7, 1904. He was a portrait and landscape painter as well as a genre, animal, sign, ornamental and banner painter. He grew up in Waynesville living with his parents in the Hammell House. On January 9th, 1851, A. H. Hammell married Amelia Collett (May 27, 1830 ~ February 4, 1906) in Waynesville. They were married by her father, Elder Thomas Collett, Sr., in the Collett house on Third Street near the Methodist Episcopal Church. Amelia's sister Emma Collett married Phillip Hawke of Waynesville.

    While living in Waynesville Abram Hammell advertised himself as a Portrait & Landscape Painter. He was a suppler of blank artist canvases. He was also an agent for the Western Farmers Mutual Insurance Co. A. H. Hammell announced his plans to move to Cincinnati and was requesting through the newspaper that his debtors to pay their debts to him. He resigned his position of Township Clerk before his move in 1851. Abram studied under Almon Baldwin and Worthington Whitredge and settled at No. 2, Clinton Count, in the West End.

    Abram and his family live their lives in Cincinnati but would visit Waynesville occasionally. 44 year old Abram and 39 year old Amelia are listed in the 1870 Census with their children, George who is 17, Augusta (14), Ada (13), and Emma (11). 53 year old Abram and 49 year Amelia are listed in the 1880 Census with their two daughters, Augusta (25) and Emma (21), living in Cincinnati. His career was spent in Cincinnati. In his later years he focused exclusively on portraiture. He is listed in the Cincinnati, Ohio Directory, years 1890-91, as a portrait painter. His two addresses are given as 174 W. 4th and 263 Richmond. Amelia, the daughter of a Methodist minister was active in her church and the W.C.T.U. When their son George was a minister in Mount Lookout, they moved there in their old age. Eventually, Amelia rejoined the Waynesville Methodist Episcopal Church. Abram and Amelia are both buried in
    Miami Cemetery in Corwin, Ohio next to her parents (Section H).

    Abram and Amelia's son, George Milton Hammell (1852-1916), was born in Cincinnati on July 29, 1852 and was also a landscape painter in watercolor but did not begin his career as a professional artist. He attended Woodward High School and the Ohio Mechanics' Institute and first worked in his father's studio. He was ordained a Methodist clergyman and was a teacher at Nelson Business College in Cincinnati teaching advanced and special courses and at University of Harriman, Tennessee, where he held the chair of Economics. He is best known as a Methodist Episcopal minister, teacher and social reformer.

    George was an ardent Temperance man and was the Prohibition Candidate for Ohio governor in 1899. He is known for The Passing of the Saloon: An Authentic and Official Presentation of the Anti-Liquor Crusade in American which he edited. He was a contributor to many papers and magazines. For seven years he was the literary critic of the "Western Christian Advocate".

    His liberal socialist thinking, however, eventually lead him to sever his relations with Methodism. He then devoted himself to painting and literature. An example of his poetry is in The Mary L. Cook Public Library. He wrote "In Days of Yore", which is a description of his uncle Phillip Hawke's farm near Waynesville. He and his wife Kathryn S. (1855-1942) traveled through out Europe where he studied in art schools. He died in Fort Scott, Kansas, February 28, 1916. He was teaching there in the "People's College", a working class institution. Ten months later, 92 of his paintings were displayed for the first time at the Cincinnati Art Museum. George and Kathryn are buried in Miami Cemetery in Corwin, Ohio (Section M).
  • Alfred Hammell, was the younger brother of Abram H. Hammell, and was a sign and ornamental painter in Waynesville (see 1860 Census).

Enoch and Eleanor Hammell also had a daughter, Rebecca. Three of their children had died before 1850:

  • Joseph H. Hammell d. March 8, 1847, age 10 years 2 months 29 days
  • William Henry Hammell d. April 11, 1847, age 5 year 11 months 23 days
  • Anna M. Hammell d. June 10, 1831 ~ d. April 7, 1850

See, Artists in Ohio, 1787-1900: A biographical Dictionary, compiled and edited by Mary Sayre Haverstock, Jeannette Mahoney Vance, and Brian L. Meggitt (Kent, Ohio & London: The Kent State University Press, 2000), pp.369-370.


Miami Cemetery, Volume #8 of Warren County Ohio Cemetery Records compiled by Chester Dunn (Warren County Genealogical Society, 1990).

Also see, the Hammell vertical file, in THE OHIOANA ROOM ~THE MARY L. COOK PUBLIC LIBRARY, Waynesville, Ohio.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Elias Fisher ~ Waynesville Physician (January 10th, 1808-August 25th, 1870)

Dr. Elias Fisher was one of the brothers of Dr. Sylvanus Fisher, who founded the The Waynesville Academy. Dr. Elias Fisher was one of the founders of The Lebanon Medical Society that was established on October 28th, 1827. Other Quakers in the founding group were Dr. Aron Wright (who later founded Miami Valley Institute ~ A Hicksite Quaker College in Springboro, Ohio in 1870) and Dr. Jesse Harvey (the founder of the Harveysburg Academy). Dr. Elias Fisher was president of the Medical Society in 1852 (The History of Warren County, Ohio (Chicago: W. H. Beers & Co., 1882), pp. 307-309). He also served on the Boards of the Waynesville Academy and The Harveysburg Academy.

Another Fisher brother, Dr. Isaac Fisher also practiced in Waynesville and in Lebanon.

Elias Fisher was married three times, first to Letitia Haines, the daughter of Noah Haines and Anna Silver Haines, a prominent Quaker family in Waynesville on June 25th, 1835. All their children were born in Warren Co., Ohio: Virginia, Joseph, James Haines, and Anna Charlotte. Letitia Haines Fisher was buried in the Friends Graveyard, Sixth Row #32 on April 13, 1845, the day after her death.

His daughter, Anna Charlotte Fisher, married Abijah Porter O’Neall, the grandson of Abijah, one of the first settlers of Waynesville, on January 4th, 1875. Abijah P. O’Neall died on August 12th, 1895 in Waynesville after being injured in a buggy accident a week earlier. He is buried next to his wife in Miami Cemetery (Section F). The burial was on August 14, 1895.

Elias' second marriage was to Eliza Halsey and his third marriage was to Sarah F. Steddom on June 14, 1857 in Waynesville. He practiced in Waynesville for 20 years.

The 1850 Federal Census of Warren County lists Elias at the age of 42 married to Eliza Halsey, a Baptist, with one child from his previous marriage, Anna who was six years old. Elias and Eliza had one son, Alonzo Bud Fisher who died as an infant. Eliza Fisher died on October 24th, 1853. Her death notice reads:

Died on the 24th inst., Mrs. Eliza Fisher, of consumption, in the 34th year of her age. She was the wife of Dr. Elias Fisher, and was a devoted and consistent member of the Baptist church, a kind wife, good neighbor, and possessed of the amiable traits of character which distinguished the true lady.~Lebanon Star” (The Miami-Visitor, November 2nd, 1853).

Elias and Sarah Steddom had three children: Herschel, Alice Leatitia and Bruce Elias Fisher.

Elias moved to Lebanon for a while and then on to Marshalltown, Iowa. He was the first president of the Iowa Central Medical Society in 1856. He returned east and settled in Richmond, Indiana where he lived until his death on September 25, 1870 at the age of 62 (Waynesville’s First 200 Years: 1797-1997 (Copyright 1996 The Waynesville Historical Society, p. 110). He was buried on August 29, 1870 in Maple Grove Cemetery, Richmond, Indiana (

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Rebecca Clark Jennings Harris ~ Mother of Israel Hopkins Harris

Rebecca Clark Jennings Harris was the daughter of John and Sarah Jennings and was the niece of Waynesville founder, Samuel Heighway.

Although an Old School German Baptist, Mrs. Harris attended St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Waynesville. Her son Israel Hopkins Harris was one of its most prominent parishioners. She died at the home of her son in Waynesville on September 9, 1879.