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
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
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