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100 Years Ago

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In 1805, Shelby County Ohio’s very first settler traveled north from Kentucky along the Great Miami River to its junction with Loramie Creek. James Thatcher and his family followed the Creek for about three and a half miles northwest and then camped about 100 yards west of the creek. In this corner of what is now Washington Township, they set up what was probably a ‘lean-to’ and became the first homestead in Shelby County.

While his exact activities are unknown, Thatcher did not stay too long in this area covered by dense trees. It appeared as if they were alone for about a year until another family arrived in 1806, settling near what is now Lockington.  Thatcher and his family lived in Turtle Creek Township (north of Hardin) around 1818. Thatcher was not very active in county affairs, helping only to build a few public roads.

In 1949, the Shelby County Historical Society erected a monument which marks the location of James Thatcher’s settlement. Everyone is encouraged to pay a visit to the spot where Shelby County got its start.  Today, the area is still unspoiled, consisting mostly of isolated farms and forests located along Loramie Creek. The best time to visit is either in the fall after the crops have been harvested; or in the spring before they have been planted; here it is easy to imagine what life must have been like in the 1800s for the earliest settlers.

'Pioneer' segment written in October, 1997 by Sherrie Casad-Lodge


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The Thatcher location is eight miles west of Sidney, on Hardin-Houston Road, along Loramie Creek, just west of the Bunker Hill Church. To reach, take State Route 47 west out of Sidney to Hardin. At Hardin-Wapak Road, take a left. Follow this to Hardin-Houston Road. Take a right on Hardin-Houston Road. The Wilson Home (first brick house in Shelby County) is the first monument on the left, approximately one mile west on Hardin-Houston Road. The Thatcher monument is nearly two miles further, on the right side of the road.


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