Our Township is alive with History - Did You Know ....

The Township takes its name from John Cleves Symmes (1742 - 1814) who, in 1788 purchased all the lands between the Little Miami and the Great Miami Rivers. Symmes Township was formed from the eastern portion of Sycamore Township in 1824, at a time when the township was much larger and included area that is now part of Loveland, Indian Hill and Montgomery.

The present community of Camp Dennison was one of the earliest areas to be settled in the Township. In 1796, Christian Waldschmidt, along with other German Pietist families from Pennsylvania, moved here, naming it Germany. In 1804, Waldschmidt built a large Pennsylvania style field stone house, established the first paper mill in the Miami Valley in 1811, and built a distillery in 1814. Today, his original stone house is operated as a museum by the Ohio Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). The DAR also owns a adjacent stone building opened in the fall of 1997 as a Civil War Museum. Both buildings are on the National Register of Historic Sites.

Camp Dennison was named during the Civil War when it was established as a military training camp and hospital for the Union Army from 1861 - 1865. In fact, the history of the township is closely tied to the Civil War. General John Hunt Morgan caused many anxious moments during the summer of 1863 when he led Confederate troops on a slash and burn raid though country that included Symmes Township.

The settlers in Camp Dennison built a frame church in 1845 to replace a log structure. This building was moved in 1868 to its present site as the Camp Dennison Methodist Church. Another denomination was formed in 1888 by African-American families who came here during the Civil War to work for the Union Army. Their 1896 church, the Mt. Olive Baptist Church, is the only remaining 19th century African-American church in the unincorporated area of Hamilton County.

Other churches in the Township also have historical significance. In 1795, Associated Reformed settlers founded a congregation in the Millcreek Valley, then moved eastward to its fourth and present location at the corner of Mason and Montgomery roads where, in 1848, a one-room brick church was built. Ten years later it became known as Sycamore United Presbyterian Church. That historic building is still in use as a chapel. Jeremiah Morrow, Governor of Ohio from 1822 - 1826, was one of the church founders. His grave is marked be a plaque in Union Cemetery on Montgomery Road.

Symmes Township has several 19th century one- and two-room schoolhouses. These include the Remington School, the Kansas District School adjacent to the Symmes Park, the Camp Dennison School which is the first two-story brick schoolhouse in the Midwest and the Sixteen Mile School.


This barely touches on the exciting history of the township. We live in a fascinating area with so much to be discovered and learned. Symmes Township's history parallels the history of our country beginning with its early settlements. Come join us at the Symmes Historical Society.

*