In the brief though illuminating "recollections" of Andrew Galloway represented in newspaper form in Xenia many years ago there is set out a list of the families that formed the old Seceder colony that had come up here from Kentucky in order to escape slavery conditions and who were here when the Rev. Robert Armstrong, their former pastor, rejoined them here in 1803 and again became their pastor, creating on Massies creek a congregation of faithful worshippers who exerted a dominant influence in the creation of proper social conditions hereabout in the days of the very beginning of the settlement. And in that list is the name of the Widow Creswell, who is noted as having been a member of Mr. Armstrong's congregation in Kentucky and as having come to Ohio in 1801.


The Widow Creswell thus referred to was Mrs. Catherine (Creswell) Criswell, widow of James Criswell. She and her husband were Pennsylvanians who had gone to Kentucky with their family of small children in order to establish a home there. James Criswell was killed by the Indians in Kentucky and later his widow came up into this section of the then new state of Ohio with her eight children, two sons, James and Samuel, and six daughters, to establish here a new home free from the conditions which then faced the settlers in the slave state of Kentucky. She was a Creswell. perhaps a distant relative of her husband, a Criswell, the similarity of the names suggesting a probably common source, and as she preferred the name Creswell to that of Criswell she adopted the same after the death of her husband and the family has ever since followed that form of spelling of the familv name. Upon coming to Greene county Mrs. Creswell settled with her family on a tract of land near what is now the race track on the Andrew Jackson place in the Cedarville neighborhood, a fine spring of water on the place being the deciding factor in the family's selection of a place of location. She spent the rest of her life in this county, her death occurring at the home of her son. James Creswell, in 1832. and she was buried in the Massiescreek cemetery.


James Creswell was born in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, in 1789, and was still in his "teens" when he came here from Kentucky with his mother. In 1811 he married Ann Junkin, who was born in Chester county, Pennsylvania, a daughter of Launcelot Junkin and wife, the latter of whom was a Galloway, who were married in Pennsylvania and who in 1779 had moved from that state to Kentucky, locating at a settlement called Frost Station, on the Kentucky river, in the Georgetown vicinity, where they remained until 1797, when they came up here into the valley of the Little Miami with the Galloway family and settled in the neighborhood of the old Indian village or "Chillicothe," now known as Oldtown, thus becoming numbered among the very first permanent white settlers of the region that later became organized as Greene county. Upon taking up his residence here Launcelot Junkin settled on a tract of land two or three miles east of the present site of Cedarville, but later moved to a place across the road from what is now the R. D. Williamson place on the Jamestown pike in Cedarville township. In 1812, the year after his marriage, James Creswell bought a tract of sixty acres of land two and one-half miles southeast of Cedarville, the place now owned and occupied by his grandson, George H. Creswell, and kept adding to the same until he was the owner of one hundred and seventy acres. As a young man he had taught school in that neighborhood and he served as clerk of the first school board organized in Cedarville township. He and his wife were Seceders, later members of the Covenanter or Reformed Presbyterian church and later of the United Presbyterian. James Creswell died in August, 1866. He and his wife were the parents of five children, namely: Martha, born on Octoljer 23, 1812, who was twice married, her first husband having been James Ervin and her second, the Rev. Andrew Heron; James Rankin, December 7, 1814, who was drowned in 1841; Launcelot, May 19, 1817, wlio moved to Idaville, Indiana, where he spent his last days; Samuel, father of the subject of this sketch, and George, 1822, who established his home in Cedarville township and there died in 1852.


Samuel Creswell was born on the old Creswell place on January 12, 1820, and there grew to manhood. When he was twelve years of age he planted a sycamore tree in the front dooryard of the home place and that tree, now grown to noble proportions, is still standing, carefully preserved by the family. In the days of his young manhood Samuel Creswell taught school for several terms. He remained at home and after his marriage in 1846 built a new house around the old one which had been built by his father, one room of the old house being retained as a part of the .structure, and that house is still doing service as a dwelling place, now occupied bv the family of George H. Creswell. After the death of his father Samuel Creswell bought the interests of the other heirs in the home place. Upon the organization of the Repubhcan party he became affiliated with that party, but later in life became a Prohibitionist. He and his wife were members of the (new school) Reformed Presbyterian church at Cedarville. Samuel Creswell lived to the great age of ninety-two years, his death occurring on July 16, 1912. His wife had preceded him to the grave a little less than two years, her death having occurred on August 10, 1910, she then having been eighty-three years of age. She was born in the vicinity of Hillsboro, this state, March 22, 1827, Eliza Jane Huffman, daughter of Aaron and Martha (White) Huffman, the latter of whom died before her daughter was three years of age. Eliza Jane Huffman was reared in the household of William Reed and in the household of William Thome and it was in the Reed home that she was married, June 10, 1846, to Samuel Creswell. To that union were born ten children, of whom the subject of this sketch was the fourth in order of birth, the others being as follow: Martha, a former school teacher in this county, who married Joseph Turnbull and is now living in Ross township; Sarah Jane, wife of Alexander Kyle, living on the Wilmington pike at the edge of Cedarville; Mary, unmarried, who is still living on the old home place; Julia, wife of W. R. Sterrett, of Cedarville, a biographical sketch of whom is presented elsewhere in this volume; Andrew H., of Cedarville township, a biographical sketch of whom also is presented elsewhere; William H., also of Cedarville township, further mention of whom is made elsewhere in this work; George H., who is living on the old home place and further mention of whom is made elsewhere; Nettie, now living at Xenia, widow of James Ervin, who was a miller, and Ida, who is living on the Federal pike, widow of J. H. Stormont.


James H. Creswell. eldest son and fourth child of Samuel and Eliza Jane (Huffman) Creswell, was born on the old home place which his grandfather had opened up and there grew to manhood. After his marriage in 1885 he located on the old Dr. George Watt place adjoining the Creswell farm on the south, having previously been operating the same as a renter, and began housekeeping in a log cabin that then stood on the place. He later bought the Watt farm of one hundred and forty acres and in 1897 built on the place the house in which he and his family are now living. By the purchase of an adjoining tract Mr. Creswell now is the owner of one hundred and seventy-five acres and in addition to his general farming has given considerable attention to the raising of live stock. He has served as a member of the board of trustees of Cedarville College, for two terms president of the board, and his children were given the advantages of schooling in that college. There are three of these children, namely: Samuel Franklin, who was graduated from Cedarville College in 1910 and is living at home, assisting his father in the management of the farm; Anna Alberta, who also was graduated from Cedarville College in 1910 and until 1917 was engaged as instructor in French and English in that college, and Paul H., who also completed his schooling in Cedarville College and was teaching in the high school at St. Albans, West Virginia, when in June, 1917, he left the school room and enlisted for service in the aviation corps of the United States army, in which he is now (1918) serving, with the prospect of early action "over there." The Creswells are members of the Reformed Presbyterian church at Cedarville and Mr. Creswell has been a member of the session of that congregation since 1889.


On December 30, 1885, James H. Creswell was united in marriage to Louisa Blair, who was born in Randolph county, Illinois, daughter of James Franklin and Elizabeth (Marvin) Blair, the latter of whom is still living, a resident of Cedarville since 1912. James Franklin Blair was born at Fayetteville, Tennessee, March 30, 1830, and was two years of age when his parents, James and Jean (Wiley) Blair, South Carolinians, of Scotch-Irish stock and "old side" Covenanters, moved from Tennessee in 1832 in order to escape the conditions of living that confronted them and their family in the slave state and located in the vicinity of Sparta, in Randolph county, Illinois, where James Blair developed a farm of about three hundred acres. James Blair and his wife were the parents of seven children, of whom James Franklin was the fifth in order of birth and all of whom are now deceased, the others having been the following: Samuel, who became a resident of Perry county, Illinois; Tirzah, who married C. H. Stormont, of Princeton, Indiana; William R., who established his home in Perry county, Illinois, and lived to be ninety years of age; John K., who established his home in the vicinity of Sparta, Illinois; Martha, who married Dr. James F. Morton, of Cedarville, this county, and Louisa, who died when eighteen years of age.


James Franklin Blair completed his schooling in the academy at Sparta, Illinois, and after his marriage continued to make his home on the home farm in the vicinity of that town, inheriting the same after the death of his father. In 1897 he retired from the farm and moved to Sparta, where he died in 1904. For years he was a ruling elder in the Reformed Presbyterian church. His widow, who. as above noted, is still living, a resident of Cedarville, was born, Elizabeth Marvin, in New York City. April 24. 1833, daughter of William Orlando and Jane (Ritchie) Marvin, the former of whom was born in Connecticut and the latter in Ireland, she having been fifteen years of age when she came to this country with her parents, the family locating in New York City, where William O. Marvin and Jane Ritchie were married. The former was a shoemaker and tiring of city life in 1840 moved with his family to Illinois, locating on a farm in Randolph county, where he and his wife spent the remainder of their lives, he living to be eighty-eight years of age and she, ninety-two. They were "old side" Covenanters and were the parents of six children, namely: Joseph, who established his home in Kansas; Elizabeth, who married James Franklin Blair; Theodore, who established his home in Kansas, but is now living retired at Los Angeles, California; James Renwick, who went to the front as a soldier of the Union during the Civil War, was wounded and taken prisoner by the enemy and died in a military prison at Jackson, Mississippi; William, who is now living at Pasadena, California, and Frances Jane, wife of John Holmes, of Topeka, Kansas. To James Franklin and Elizabeth (Alarvin) Blair, who were married on December 4, 1857, were born ten children, namely: Samuel Alvin, who is now living in the vicinity of Greeley, Colorado; one who died in infancy; Louisa, wife of Mr. Creswell; Carrie, who died while serving as an instructor in Cedarville College; Adelle, wife of John N. Lyle, of Marianna, Arkansas; Amanda Jane, wife of George H. Creswell, brother of the subject of this sketch; Elizabeth, who is a teacher in the public schools of Cedarville; William O., a machinist, living at Pomona, California; Mary E., wife of Prof. Nathan C. Plimpton, assistant auditor of the University of Chicago, and James Franklin, Jr., an electrician, living at Silver City, New Mexico. All these children received schooling in the Sparta high school and all save one received further instruction in the universitv at Carbondale, Illinois. In the spring of 1912 Mrs. Elizabeth Blair moved to Cedarville and is still living there, making her home with her daughter. Miss Elizabeth Blair, who has been a teacher in the schools of Cedarville since the fall of that year. Mrs. Creswell before her marriage also was a teacher, having followed that profession for five years.

 

james creswell

 

From History of Greene County Ohio, Its People, Industries and Institutions, vol. 2. M.A.Broadstone, editor. B.F.Bowen & Co., Indianapolis. 1918