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The Bullskin Road
Merle C. Rummel
email - cliff@ruraltek.com
Submitted December 13, 1998

The Great and Miami Rivers were accessible by canoe -but were almost impossible to movement of Ohio Flatboats -upstream against the current --instead -they used the

The Bullskin Road

The first State Road in Ohio, 1807, the Xenia State Road was the official recognition by the new State of Ohio of the old Shawnee Indian Road from British Fort Detroit to Bullskin Landing on the Ohio River, through the major Shawnee center, Old Chillicothe (Oldtown, at Xenia). It was long called the Old Xenia Road.

It was down this road in 1778, that Simon Kenton ran the gauntlet at Old Chillicothe, and didn't stop running -clear to the Ohio River, outrunning the pursuing Shawnees. Down this road had come raiding armies of British Regulars and Indian allies as they attempted to destroy the Kentucky settlements. Up this road had gone the Kentucky militia when they attacked the Indians at Springfield in retaliation. In these new lands on the Northwest frontier, the Bullskin Road was a major thoroughfare.

Bullskin Creek is flooded by the Ohio River for half a mile back from the River, a wide valley opening. It was the first major landing for Ohio R. flatboats above Fort Washington (Cincinnati). Here the flatboat was protected, off the river, with easy unloading facilities. This settlement in Clermont County is called Utopia. The Brethren settled on the Bullskin about 1800. (Miller, Moyer, Metzgar, Rohrer, Hoover, Houser; the old Olive Branch Church. It converted en-mass to Church of Christ in the New Light Revival of 1830's.) Being farmers, they lived mostly on the level lands above the high riverbank hills, at the head of Bullskin Creek.

The Road went north through Felicity and Bethel, now OH 133, and crossed the East Fork of the Little Miami at Williamsburg. It crossed Stonelick Creek at Edenton (just 2 miles from the Stonelick Church). A stone marker at the east edge of Edenton is on the old Road as it goes cross-country to Clarksburg. A line of old trees shows part of the route. From Clarksburg it followed old OH 380 to Xenia, going through New Burlington, now submerged below the lake at Caesar's Creek State Park. It was called the Bullskin Road.

From Xenia north to Detroit, it is US 68, the Detroit Road. It goes to Yellow Spring, where it leaves the Little Miami. Then to Springfield, where it follows the Mad River of the Great Miami to Urbana. Other cities on the Road are Bellefontaine, Kenton, Findlay, Bowling Green, Toledo. From Cygnet, north of Findlay, it becomes OH 25 and from Toledo to Detroit it is US 24.

Earliest records show another old Indian path, that connected to the Bullskin Road (OH133), just north of Williamsburg (on OH276) Just before Owensville it turned north through Goshen and Lebanon to the Ford on the Great Miami River, Franklin OH, then headed north along the Great Miami and Stillwater rivers, where many of the early Brethren settled on the west side of Dayton.

The earliest Brethren settlement in Ohio was in Clermont County, the Obannon Church, near Goshen (1795). The Olive Branch Church near Bullskin Landing soon followed (1800). But this was heavy clay soil, and many decided to move north to the good farmland on the Great Miami River.

Frederick Weaver (in whose home the Obannon Church first met), Gabriel Kerns, and David and Daniel Miller lived in the western part of the Obannon Church area, near Manila Road, which goes south -east from Goshen. Just above Gabriel Kerns farm is Linton Road, which was the OLD route before Manila road was built, going through Goshen past the Cemetery, meeting the Murdoch/Lebanon Road above town. It now stops at the Cemetery.

The Road went north from Goshen to those families of the Obannon Church (the Millers at Murdock and Bowmans unknown) who lived in Warren County. At Murdock it went on north to Lebanon (OH 48). Then an angling Indian path was followed (OH 123) to the ford over the Great Miami at Franklin. This put them on the west side of the River, where Elder Jacob Miller lived on Bear Creek (1800).

The exact route north, on the west side of the Great Miami, is not known. There are a couple early references (1830's) to an old River Road on the banks of the Great Miami. Probabilities are that it followed the Soldier's Home Road along the River and then went nearly strait north on the Gettysburg Road to the Wolf Creek Road, the Salem Road and the Covington Road (Stillwater River).

The John Aukerman family likely used this road to the Great Miami River Ford, then followed what became the extension of the Kanawha Trace, along the Twin Creek, into Preble Co OH. The John Bowman family likely used this route for their migration from the Obannon to Montgomery County about 1800. David Miller left about 1802, and already others of the Obannon Brethren had moved north.

These families seem to have been displaced from their Hamilton County homesteads (now Clermont and Warren) when the government gave these lands to the Virginia Military District and Ohio land grants were given as bounties to Revolutionary Veterans in lieu of their cash pay. Local settlers, like the Aukermans and Bowmans, could not purchase their homesteads and had to move.

Most of the earliest Brethren settlers to Ohio seem to have stopped among the Brethren already at Obannon/ Stonelick, before they found lands north (the Land Office was in Cincinnati, a days walk away), then followed one or the other of the Indian Roads north. Many Brethren moved up the Bullskin Trace to the east side of Dayton, to Green and Clark Counties OH, to the old Beaver Creek and Donnels Creek Church areas. Other Brethren crossed the ford on the Great Miami, and settled in the fertile lands west of the River, the Lower Miami Church, the Bear Creek Church, the Stillwater Church.

Merle C Rummel
Church Historian



Pioneer Migration Routes through Ohio



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