ROSS FAMILY LOG HOUSE MUSEUM
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The Symmes Township Historical Society and the Symmes Township Board of Trustees joined together to guarantee that this historic 1830’s two-story (20’ x 24’) log house is restored for future generations to enjoy. The Society entered into a long-term lease with Symmes Township which allowed for the log house to be reconstructed on a portion of the Township’s historic Meade House property at 11887 Lebanon Road.

The Society received a $100,000 grant from the Ohio Cultural Facility Commission, but bringing this history to life through restoration required the support of many other individuals and groups.  The Society is thankful for all the donations received for this project.  Everyone's contribution, no matter how large or small, was important.

This 2-story log home was originally located at the corner of Rich Road and Mulberry Street.  The Society believes John and Mary Ross built the log house about 1836.  In the 1830's there were no "building permits" issued so it's hard to know for certain.  But when the Ross' purchased the 137-acre tract they had 8 children.  This house in 20' x 24' and is a full 2-story log house.  The size of the house would have accommodated the family and the Society's research to date points to this family as builders of the log structure.

John Ross' parents, John and Jeannette Ross, were natives of Ireland who settled in Juniate County, PA.  In 1812 they emigrated with their 11 children to 20-Mile Stand in Warren County.  The elder John Ross was a Revolutionary War soldier.  The Ross family helped organize the Somerset Presbyterian Church (the church building has been moved to Sharon Woods Village).  John and Jeannette are buired in the Township's  Union Cemetery.

The original log home had an interior chimney.  This is somehwat unusual but a feature that would have kept the house warmer in the winter months.  The beams are hand hewn and the 2nd level had the original floorboards.  There would have been a privy and a smokehouse/cookhouse also on the site.  An unusual feature of the house is the front door, which is no higher than six (6) feet.  Why such a short main entrance to the house - were people really shorter 180 years ago?

The Society is now in the process of securing furnishings and items for the Ross Family Log House Museum.
 
The Soceity welcomes your donation. Your contribution should be made payable to STHS – Log House Museum and mailed to STHS, P.O. Box 498917,Cincinnatii, OH 45249. Please contact the Society if you have any questions or need additional information.

“In-Kind Contributions” are also acceptable. Please contact the Society if you are interested in making this type of donation.


 

Historical Record of the Log Home Owners

in Symmes Township

Rich Road 1794-1843

Submitted by Nick Kurzynski


This is an updated version of what had appears in the March 2005 newsletter.

According to Henry A. Ford who wrote the History of Hamilton County in 1881, Symmes Township was created between 1820 and 1826 from the eastern part of Sycamore Township. There was added two tiers of sections on the west which had formally belonged to Springfield Township.

The log home area belonged to the Congress Lands, 2nd Miami Purchase, Section 13 (northern area), 4th Township, that had been purchased by John Cleves Symmes. Part of the Symmes purchase was paid with soldiers' military land warrants from the Revolutionary War. George Washington signed the original deed from the United States to John C. Symmes September 13, 1794 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The next person to buy the log home area was James Findlay. Findlay signed his deed on June 4, 1811. He had bought it from John Cleves Symmes. Symmes had financial difficulties and this is probably why the deed was signed after Findlay had sold it to Enoch Buckingham in 1805. Enoch and Levi Buckingham were early settlers of Symmes Township (1794). They had land in the Miamiville area as well as the Rich Road area.

In 1808 Enoch Buckingham sold 150 aces to his brother, Levi Buckingham. Levi Buckingham then swapped property that Curtis Sears’ wife, Nancy Huey, had owned in Montgomery County, Ohio in 1823 for the log home property. Nancy Huey received the Montgomery County property after she was married from her father in 1821. Then Curtis and Nancy Sears sold the property to John Ross in 1836. It was interesting to note that there was a judgment listed on the Sears deed of 1836, which turned out to be a land swap where a court was needed to enact the transaction. John Ross then sold the property to Joseph Kibby in 1843.

We think it was between 1836 and 1843 that the log home was built since the fireplace was built inside the building and not on the outside of the building. The bricks for the upper portion of the chimney appear to be hand made - possibly at the site.

The Buckinghams probably cut trees on the Little Miami River hillside and adjoining areas to float down the Little Miami for Christian Waldschmidt’s saw mill. Wood was needed for flour and whisky barrels, farm implements, buildings and fuel for the paper mill and whisky sill at Waldschmidt’s. In the 1840’s there were 26 sawmills along the Little Miami and the flour mills produced 100,000 pounds of flour per year. The land was also ideal for livestock due to the many streams (runs) that went through the property to the Little Miami. The land along the Little Miami plateaus was known as a granary and it was used to produce wheat for flour, corn for meal and whiskey production along with oats and rye. We know flat boats were used to transport goods down the Little Miami since during the wet season it would be almost impossible to navigate the roads to the Waldschmidt Mills.

Sources used in this article are from The History of Hamilton County, Henry A. Ford, 1881, Cincinnati Historical Society, History of Southwestern Ohio, William E. Smith, 1964, History of Camp Dennison, Mary Rahn Sloan.