Thursday, September 26, 2019

Ohio Historic Marker Unveiling

2:00 PM
9614 State Route 73
(2 miles West of I-71, Exit 45)
2 miles east of Harveysburg


Jonah’s Run Baptist Church, September 28, 2019
D. Howard Doster, Historic Marker Unveiling Chairman
To most of the thousands of persons driving west today on their way to the Renaissance Festival, adjacent on the west to the Underwood Farms Historic District, nothing great ever happened here.  That’s been true since pioneers and early settlers walked and drove their few livestock by here on their way west. 
But some settlers, including Quakers (Religious Society of Friends) and Black persons (African Americans), stopped and lived out their lives here, in ways meaningful to them.  Some of their history is now our history.
What a fun time I’m having, collecting stories describing the persons who live or used to live around the Underwood Farms Historic District!  I accepted the unveiling job partly because I felt guilty about getting Jonah’s Run Baptist Church (JRBC) involved.  Now, I continue to enjoy meeting new neighbors to here and getting new stories from old neighbors to here. 
Our kids are putting our JRBC histories, the clerk’s records which include names of all JRBC members, starting with the first persons baptized in little Jonah’s Run stream in 1837, and other stories on , a website they say you can even access by pointing your smartphone at a QR code we’ll put somewhere, maybe in the church bulletin?
As you will soon realize, my religious and other family memories of persons living out their lives here are so meaningful to me; perhaps you will share memories of around here.  Perhaps you will improve your memories and meaning of other places.  Perhaps others will read our marker & eventually choose to join us here!

In 2015, before they could put up a nearby cell tower, the company had to gift $9500 to a nearby Historic Entity; in our case the Underwood Farms Historic District.  It includes the three former Underwood houses and 280 acres of land, plus Jonah’s Run Baptist Church.  

As a condition for the funds to go to JR, we agreed to use $3800 to put up a Historic Marker, and we’ve already used most of the remaining money to improve the inside of the church. Today, we are here to unveil the Historic Marker in the grass area just east of the church parking lot.

On September 15, 2019, after looking for an appropriate place to set up chairs outside near the Marker site, the JR Moderator, the Head Trustee, and the Unveiling Chairman decided to come outside for the unveiling after starting the program inside.  Thus, you are sitting in our near air-conditioned Sunday School room, and not suffering from outside heat, rain or automobile noise.  Thank you, Trustee Raymond Roberts, for your wise suggestion.

You might rightly ask how JRBC got involved.   It’s because Wilhelmina Braddock Branson, my Quaker Underwood first cousin, wanted an Underwood Farms Historic District, and she wanted JRBC included.   She’ll tell more in a few minutes. I just remember, in 2003, Wilhelmina shared her vision; and Mom and I, and another Underwood or two, helped her get, maybe $1,000 or $2,000, so she could hire a professional writer to create the application to the National Register of Historic Places entity.  Wilhelmina helped that writer make a successful application.
But that was only if JRBC was included in the District. Wilhelmina did the rest.  And, thanks to the later cell tower funds, JRBC now has repaired walls and a newly painted church sanctuary, as well as a story on a marker!

Jonah's Run Baptist Church Map

Ohio Historic Marker Text

The comingling of faiths in an area settled predominantly by Quakers helps explain the origins of Jonah’s Run Baptist Church.[1] Ministered to by a Baptist preacher, the children and neighbors of Daniel Collett (1752-1835),[2] an Episcopalian and private in the Revolutionary War[3], and his wife Mary Haines Collett (1753-1826), a Quaker[4] from Virginia, became Baptists and started the church in 1838.[5] Levi Lukens (1767-1860), a Quaker from Pennsylvania by way of Virginia,[6] purchased the land[7] where the church stands in 1812 and sold it in 1839 to a founder[8] of the congregation. Like local Quaker meetinghouses,[9] the church had separate entrances for men and women and a partition between the two that divided the sanctuary. The congregation’s sons and daughters lived their faith. Howard McCune (1852-1923)[10] was the Clinton Baptist Association’s moderator[11] and president of the Ohio Baptist Convention’s state board.[12] Anne Cossum (1894-1977)[13] was a missionary in China from 1920-1927.[14]


The District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005, preserves 280 acres of landscapes and buildings depicting rural life in Clinton County from about 1838 to 1955.[15]  The District encompasses the Amos-Elihu-Daniel Underwood (“west brick”) and Zephaniah Underwood (“east brick”) farms, the Zephaniah and Matilda Underwood house (the “Tower House,” c. 1884) and Jonah’s Run Baptist Church (side 1).[16]  The Underwoods were famous for their commercial apple orchards, although like other farmers raised a variety of crops and livestock.[17] The Zephaniah and Matilda Underwood farm includes a c. 1900 brick fruit storage building, insulated by sawdust[18].  The Underwoods were leaders in other areas.  Matilda Downing Underwood (1851-1932)[19] was a Quaker minister and active in the temperance and women’s suffrage movements.[20]  Matilda’s sister, Maria Downing Romine (1848-1922), was a medical doctor, a pioneering career for women of her time.[21] 

[1] Karen Campbell, QUAKER GENEALOGY IN SOUTHWEST OHIO, The Underwood Farms Rural Historical District ~ National Register of Historic Places at, accessed 12May2016
[2] Daniel Collett, the elder, at Find a Grave, at (accessed 5/8/2019)
[3] See Daniel Collett the elder’s tombstone at (accessed 6/10/2019).
[4] Mary Harries Collett’s name is from the inscription on her son’s grave, Daniel Collett, at Find a Grave: (accessed 5/7/2019). According to John W. Haines, Richard Haines and His Descendants: A Quaker Family of Burlington County, New Jersey since 1682 (Boyce, VA: Carr Publishing Co., Inc. 1961), the correct spelling is HAINES and pp. 181-183 #43 notes relationships between Mary and husband Daniel the elder and son Daniel:;view=1up;seq=197 (accessed 5/13/2019)
[5] Rev. B. Bedell, “A History of the Jonas [sic] Run Baptist Church,” [1866] typescript transcription received from Howard Doster, 3/22/2019 and in the marker file. Rev. Bedell was the congregation’s minister from October 1860-September 1868 (per Howard Collett’s History of Jonah’s Run, p. 6, cited below).; Nathalie Wright and Judy Williams, Underwood Farms Rural Historic District, National Register of Historical Places Registration Form, May/June 2005, NR reference #05001519, Section 8, Page 5
[6] The History of Warren County, Ohio (Chicago: W.H. Beers & Company, 1882) p. 651 and p. 1006 Levi Lukens, The Pencocks of Primitive Hall / Rash’s Surname Index, at (all accessed 5/14/2019).
[8] Copy of indenture in marker file, dated 1/21/1839, from in Deed Book M, pp. 381-382 in Clinton County Recorder’s Office.
[9] See list provide by Howard Doster in marker file. Cites Miami meeting house, c. 1803; Caesar Creek c. 1805; Grove, c. 1837, and Dover (19th century, year unknown).
[10] Howard McCune Biography, at (accessed 6/6/2019) and Howard McCune, Find a Grave, at (accessed 6/6/2019)
[11] “Baptists Honor Howard M’Cune,” Dayton Daily News, 8/27/1921, p. 9, at (accessed 6/10/2019)
[12] Howard McCune Biography, at (accessed 6/6/2019); “Hold Service in Memory of Howard M’Cune,” Wilmington News-Journal, March 26, 1923, p. 6, at; J.H. Hollingsworth, “Howard McCune: An Appreciation” Wilmington News-Journal, March 24, 1923, p. 8, at
[13] Letter from Howard Doster to Andy Verhoff, 6/2/2019 (in marker file) and Anne Doster Cossum, Find a Grave, at (accessed 6/6/2019)
[14] Anne D. Cossum, “Dear Mother,” a collection of 300 letters from Mrs. Cossum to her mother, private printed, December 1954, table of contents documents date span of 1920-1927. In marker file. “Mr. Doster Better, Mrs. Cossum Home,” Wilmington News-Journal, April 16, 1927, p. 8.  Baptists Invited to Jonah’s Run, Wilmington News-Journal, August 16, 1927, p. 5.
[15] Wright and Williams, Underwood Farms Rural Historic District, NRHP Registration Form
[16] Wright and Williams, Underwood Farms Rural Historic District, NRHP Registration Form, Sec. 7, p. 7
[17] Karen Campbell, QUAKER GENEALOGY IN SOUTHWEST OHIO, The Underwood Farms Rural Historical District ~ National Register of Historic Places at, accessed 12May2016
[18] Wright and Williams, Underwood Farms Rural Historic District, NRHP Registration Form, Sec. 7, p. 5
[19] Matilda Downing Underwood (1851-1932) at
[20] Wright and Williams, Underwood Farms Rural Historic District, NRHP Registration Form, Sec. 8, p. 2
[21] Karen Campbell, “Dr. Marie Romine ~ Quaker Physician,” accessed 31May2016  Romine’s death date from record if Stubbs-Corner Funeral Home in Waynesville, researched by Howard Doster and Dr. Maria M Downing Romine at Find a Grave, at (accessed 6/11/2019)  Myra K. Merrick is credited as being the first female doctor in Ohio, see (accessed 31May2016).  According to the Changing Face of Medicine online exhibit of the U.S. National Library of Medicine at she graduated from New York's Geneva Medical College, in 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman in America to earn the M.D. degree.”  Ruth J. Abram, Send Us a Lady Physician: Women Doctors in America, 1835-1920 (New York:  W.W. Norton & Company, 1985)p. 77ff. makes no mention of Maria Romine, but does describe Quakers’ enlightened attitudes toward female doctors in the 19th century. 

Underwood Farms Historic District

D. Howard Doster, September 28, 2019
The 280-acre Underwood Farms Historic District, including my birthplace, is on Virginia Military Land Grant land that Virginia retained the right to use as the Colony joined other Colonies to form The United States of America in 1784, as described in the Continental Congress’ July 4, 1776, Declaration of Independence. 
The Colony gave land ownership property rights-north of the Ohio River, between the Little Miami River on the west and the Scioto River on the east-to Virginia soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War.  A Private could receive 100 acres, but I’ve never found where Revolutionary Dan Collett-the JRBC founders’ father, father-in-law, grandfather, or uncle-and my g-g-g grandfather, received any land.
In 1787, this land was made part of the Northwest Territory, which included terms forbidding slavery, the right to a trial by a jury of peers, and a provision for support of public schools.  Mom-Esther Underwood Doster, a Quaker schoolteacher, and still a Jonah’s Run Baptist Sunday School teacher on her 92nd birthday, also born here-taught me the terms in the 1787 Ordinance for the Northwest Territory were more significant than the terms in our later 1790 US Constitution.
This site was in Eaton Township of Warren County when it was formed in 1804, maybe two years after Jonah Eaton left his hollow sycamore tree house near the mouth of, now Jonah’s Run Stream.  I once thought I was born in Eden Township, in the garden of Eden.  Though I’ve worked on four continents, I’ve returned here, to “Our Place”, as you will learn if you go to the west Underwood Farm, after the Historic Marker Unveiling.

JRBC is located about as far away from anywhere as you can get around here. Church members built their parsonage in Harveysburg, two miles west in Warren County, but never found a location there to move their church, built here in 1839.  Since Rural Free Delivery came, JRBC has had a Wilmington address in Clinton County.
I’ve counted 14 present and former Quaker Meeting sites within 10 miles of “Our Place”.  In 1815, all the land on both sides of, now, SR 73, was owned by Quakers, from east of I-71 exit 45 to west of Caesar Creek State Park.  They came here to raise their families on better soil in a slave-free land.
In 1798, Bush River, South Carolina Quaker, Abijah O’Neal, and his brother-in-law, moved to Virginia Military Land Grant acres they bought from a Revolutionary War surgeon.  O’Neal’s house and 1804 school were located at the SW corner of Miami Cemetery in Corwin, just east of Waynesville.  When O’Neal asked his large Bush River Quaker Meeting for permission to move here, the Meeting turned down his request-there were no Quakers here.  Within eight years, there were no Quakers at Bush River.  They had all moved to near Waynesville, and their 1811 Meetinghouse is the oldest continuous meeting for worship west of the Allegany Mountains.  In 1815, O’Neal owned Military Survey 700, the 1000 acres adjacent on the north of JRBC, which includes the 280-acre Underwood land.
In 1801, northern VA Quaker, Ezekial Cleaver, helped start Miami Quaker Meeting in Waynesville.  In 1805, northern VA Quaker, Moses McKay, my g-g-g grandfather, brought his just widowed mother to Waynesville Meeting where she was buried the next year.  My grandkids are the ninth generation of McKay and eighth generation of Collett to live here.  One of Moses McKay’s granddaughters was a founder of JRBC, four of his kids married Collett’s, and three are buried in JRBC cemetery.  They are likely the reason the 1839 church has two Quaker-style front doors and a partition down the middle.
Shortly after Ezekial Cleaver came here, his daughter and son-in-law, Levi Lukens, came here from Hopewell Quaker Meeting, the same Meeting in VA as Mary Haines Collett (Revolutionary Dan’s wife), the McKay’s, and Founder Charity Hackney Collett’s family, and, also my Doster g-g-g-g grandmother.  Seven of Levi Lukens descendants are among the 31 persons with Quaker roots in the 1938 JRBC Centennial Photo.
In 1808, Lukens moved into the log cabin he built at, now, Pioneer Village at Henpeck on the SW edge of Caesar Creek State Park.  In 1812, Levi bought the 1,000-acre Military Survey 575, which goes in a narrow band along both sides of, now, SR 73 east from Caesar Creek, including Harveysburg, to beyond JRBC.  In 1816, Levi was on the Board that bought the land for the first Grove Quaker Meeting site, now in the Park, a half mile east of Henpeck.
In the Quaker Schism of 1828, Grove Meeting split.  Levi sold a lot at the east end of Harveysburg to the Hicksites in 1837, and they supported the nearby 1831 First Free School Built for Blacks in the former NW Territory.  This school was built by Dr. Jesse Harvey, a Springfield Meeting Quaker.  His wife, Elizabeth Burgess Harvey, was the first teacher.  A. B. Wall, son of a Virginia planter and a slave mother, was perhaps the most famous graduate, serving in the Civil War as the first Black US Army Captain. 
Frederick Douglass, perhaps the most important African American of the nineteenth century, a former slave who later influenced President Lincoln and thousands of others, visited this school and preached in Harveysburg when, in 1843, he also preached with Puritans in the huge Anti-slavery Society meetings in an Oakland barn four miles east of JRBC.  He also walked by JRBC a month later after suffering a broken hand in a fight in Indiana.  He recuperated here before returning to his wife and four kids in Massachusetts where he started writing, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself. He was 25.
In 1839, Levi Lukens sold JRBC Founder Dan Collett 4+ acres.  This included 3 acres on the south side of future SR 73 where the now Pioneer Village Dan Collett log cabin was located, and 1+ acres on the north side where JRBC was built in 1839.  In 1907, Founder Dan Collett’s descendants sold their land under JRBC building and cemetery for $1.00, to the JRBC Trustees, who included Ellen and Steve Pidgeon’s grandparents.  In maybe 1980, Charles Denny, their cousin, found the 1866 first History of JRBC in their g-grandfather’s attic.

In1806, Preserved Dakin moved from NY to near the new Springfield Meeting, started four miles SE of JRBC by North Carolina Quakers, including a daughter of Zachariah Dicks, a Quaker minister who preached through the Carolina’s and Georgia that, within the lifetime of some who heard him, there would be blood shed over slavery.  Ellen Pidgeon Gilbert, the nearby Chester Meeting Quaker and long-time leader of the JRBC women’s missionary society, and her brother, Steve Pidgeon, the present owner of Dan Collett farm-adjacent on the south across SR 73 to JRBC- are direct descendants of Dicks, the Quaker who influenced so many to move here, likely including Abijah O’Neal.
Dakin soon moved onto land at the north side of the east half of the 4,000 acres of Virginia Land Grant Survey 1994, that Dan and Mary Collett and son, Jonathan bought in 1814.  In about 1840, Dakin’s son, James, built what is now called the middle Underwood house.  Until it was renovated, it had a second stairs to an unconnected upstairs room over the kitchen.  It was likely one of the 86 Underground Railroad Stationhouses near the Bull-skin Trail between Old Chillicothe, just north of Xenia, and Clarksville, seven miles south of JRBC, that Collett-McKay cousin, Harley Smith, wrote about in his 1950 book.  He likely included the Collett Ashby house a mile south of JRBC, and the Martin House, ¼ mile west on SR 73, and the Hatton Lukens house one mile west on SR 73.  He may have counted, now, our, Moses McKay house-which has a secret room under the kitchen-and his own Francis McKay house-which has a secret room near the front stairs- and the George Denny house-Ellen Pidgeon Gilbert’s mother said she used to play with the colored kids who lived upstairs over their kitchen.

In 1815, eight-year-old Jane Wales moved from NC onto land on the north side of Caesar Creek with her parents and her mother’s Welch parents, along both sides of, now, SR 73.  Jane wrote in her memoirs that her father showed her bark and tent pole holes made by Indians brought there by Springfield Meeting Quakers in 1812 from Piqua to get them away from British agents during the War of 1812.
Jane remembered a poor slave-owning NC neighbor coming to their home to get breakfast bacon for a guest, and she remembered the financial sacrifice her parents made when they sold a nice farm there for almost nothing so as to come here where she grew up in a slave-free neighborhood. 
Well, not exactly, Jane said she counted 86 run-away slaves staying at their house in one year, and she was sure there were many more other years.  Her family was related to Levi Coffin, the so-called President of the Underground Railroad in Cincinnati and Richmond, Indiana.  And, her sister married a Quaker Butterworth from Maineville, south on the Little Miami River.  When we visited their 1816 stone house, an old lady, in simple Quaker dress, told our grandkids, one morning her grandmother came down to the plain room where we were standing, only to count 26 Black persons asleep on the floor.  Conductors secretly took these persons up the river; including to, then Jane’s house; and now, our McKay House.
Also, in 1815, South Carolina Quakers, Isaac and Charity Cook, moved to a 55-acre farm, just east of Caesar Creek Quaker Meeting, on the Bull-skin Trail, three miles north of the future Underwood Farms.  Since Isaac’s mother was a Pennsylvania Quaker cousin of “my” Underwood’s, he got here 40 years before them.  Charity had an exciting life as a recorded Quaker minister.  While Isaac took care of their many kids and their farm, Charity visited all the Quaker Meetings in North America, England, Scotland, and Germany.  Oh, she got in trouble in London for smoking a pipe on the street.  Isaac got in trouble during their SC Meeting. When he heard his wife’s voice for the first time in three years, he broke up the women’s meeting by rushing in and kissing her.

Now, I’m ready to describe the Dan/Mary Haines Collett family, some of whom founded JRBC.
Richard Haines, Mary Haines Collett’s g-grandfather, was baptized in the Church of England in maybe 1665, but his parents were Quakers in 1682, when they boarded the ship, Amity, for Burlington, West Jersey-owned by William Penn before he started Pennsylvania, on the west side of the Delaware River, the next year.
VA Quaker Joshua Haines, my g-g-g-g grandfather, his brother, and G. Washington, an 18-year-old surveyor, bought 1120 acres on both sides of Bull-skin Run in northern VA in 1750.  Although he inherited much land, this may be Washington’s first purchase.  On Memorial Day, 2019, I took a photo of my g-g-g grandmother, Mary Haines Collett’s 1753 birthplace in an old log cabin, now inside an old frame house on the south side of Bullskin Run.  It was a few feet SW of the rebuilt Haines Mill, twice burned by Union solders because it was a main source of Confederate flour.
In 1774, Moses Collett, my g-g-g-g grandfather and Revolutionary Dan’s father, walked west from north of Baltimore up the Bull-skin Run, maybe two miles west of Mary Haines, to near Summit Point, VA, now W VA.  He rented the 200-acre Headspring Farm from George Washington, for life.
In 1781, when Revolutionary Private Dan Collett married Hopewell Quaker Mary Haines, she was kicked out of the Meeting for “marrying out of unity”.  In 1797, after most of the Collett kids were born, Mary was reinstated in Hopewell Meeting.  Likely, her kids and McKay kids and Hackney kids and Lukens kids played together during Hopewell Quarterly Meetings.
When her kids started leaving home, Mary Haines Collett asked them to not stay in Ky with their Collett Ashby cousins, but to move north across the Ohio River into slave-free land.  Joshua Collett, their oldest son, did that, staying in Cincinnati and studying law.  He got to Lebanon in 1802, in time to be one of four persons to start Lebanon.  He was soon a circuit judge.
Moses Collett, the next son, moved to Waynesville and then to land he and his Quaker wife, Rebecca Haines Collett-a niece of her mother-in-law, on the east side of the Little Miami River in both Greene and Warren County.  Both Rebecca and Mary moved their Quaker membership from Hopewell to Caesar Creek Quaker Meeting by 1812, when Mary and Jonathan, Mary’s third son, stayed with Moses and Rebecca while Revolutionary Dan started his service as sheriff of Jefferson County, VA, now W VA.
I’m still searching for where/how they got the land, but, in 1814, Mary/Dan sold 236 acres near Bull-skin Run in northern VA, on a three-year mortgage; and Dan, Mary, and son, Jonathan, bought 2356 acres in Chester Township, Clinton County, Ohio, on a three-year mortgage.  It looks like they just traded one acre in VA for ten acres here, adjacent to the site of the future JRBC, on the south side of, now, SR 73.  I now own the southern-most 80 acres of that purchase.
In 1815, Dan bought 1300 acres in Chester Township, adjacent on the east to Moses McKay’s 1805 1000-acre purchase from Nathanial Massie, the first surveyor in the NW Territory.
In 1816, Revolutionary Dan built the still standing Dan Collett house, a mile south of future JRBC on the headwaters of the central branch of Jonah’s Run.  In his 1814 Collett Centennial speech, Howard Collett wrote they first built a log cabin, west of the 1816 house. 
In 1823, future JRBC founder, Jonathan Collett married Sarah McKay, the first of four Collett-McKay marriages in seven years.  They moved to the Hole-in-the woods house Jonathan built on his south share of the 2356 acres.  Ann Collett McCune, their first child, a future JRBC founder, and my g-grandmother was born in 1824, in the east room of their house.

After Mary Haines Collett died in 1824, Revolutionary Dan lived in his 1816 with his son, Founder Dan Collett and his 1827 wife, Caesar Creek Quaker, Virginia McKay, who died a year later while giving birth to their only child, Picnic Dan Collett.  In 1832, Founder Dan Collett then married Founder Charity Hackney, and they had three kids.  None of whom had any issue.
When Revolutionary Dan, never a Quaker, died in 1835, his five Quaker daughters-in-law placed his bones in nearby Caesar Creek Quaker cemetery, Founder Dan was living here when JRBC was started. Later, his son, Picnic Dan Collett, was the last Collett to live here.
In 1837, Joshua Collett got a Lebanon Baptist preacher to go to Collett Farm to minister to Mercy Collett, his sick sister, and later the first person buried in JRBC cemetery in 1839.  After several visits, he baptized Founder Dan in Jonah’s Run in December 1837.  By February 1838, he had baptized Jonathan, and Charity, and David Ashby, Revolutionary Dan’s nephew-whose Ashby father had served with George Rogers Clark in the Vincennes victory that was later important when John Jay, James Madison, and Ben Franklin successfully argued that the post Revolution boundary between the US and Canada should not be the Ohio River, but about where it now is- and Ann Collett, and Hannah Gaddis, a sister or cousin of Ashby’s wife.
In February 1838, the Lebanon Baptist pastor helped the six newly baptized persons organize JRBC.
In early 1839, Founder Dan Collett bought four+ acres from Quaker Levi Lukens.  Three acres were on the south side of, now, SR 73; and one+ acres were on the north side, where the JRBC building and cemetery are now located.  Like Quaker churches in the area, their new building had two Quaker-style front doors and a partition down the middle.
In 1842, Joshua Collett, the Lebanon circuit judge, was baptized in Jonah’s Run.

Charles Weaver gave our Invocation.  His g-g grandparents were VA slaves.  His g-grandparents were tenants on Dan Collett Farm, and his mother was born in that house.  His aunt was born in a Collett log cabin, one of six cabins on Collett Farm, built by/for former slaves.  She now owns the farm, adjacent on the north, to the middle Underwood farm, and she is a retired college teacher.
After my grandpapa, Dan Underwood, got cancer, Charles’s father was the last person to run the West Underwood orchard, where I was born.  When I asked Charles if he helped, he said, when he was four, his dad taught him how to stand on the little Ford tractor and drive it while his dad sprayed apple trees.  I also helped his dad.

Because Roger Hilbert, our pastor, couldn’t be here today to welcome you, I’ll quote something then Moderator, McKay Collett, said earlier when our cemetery was being renovated.  McKay wrote, “Maybe twenty-five persons come to hear Pastor Roger Hilbert’s learned and inspirational sermons.  “I make the journey from Cincinnati because it feeds my own soul so well,” explained Reverend Hilbert.  “This church has an influence far beyond the people who hear my voice every Sunday.  Jonah’s Run Church disciples are scattered around the country and the world. And, they learned their morality right here in this little church.”
I’ll testify to that personally.  In September 1991, with seven other Purdue University professors, I was in Russia a week after the coup, when Gorbechov went out and Yeltsin went in. 
Our job was to get acquainted with Russian ag researchers.  We were in St Petersburg on the date of the 50th anniversary of the end of the 900-day German siege of the city.  The next day, we visited our first of 15 Russian farm research stations.  The offices of each of the Research Directors were the same.  A picture of Lenin was still on the wall.  A table extending from the Director’s desk had seats for our eight professors, plus their Director and his interpreter.  Each table had plates of little fat sausages and fat-fat sausages and tomato slices.  Also, each person had a glass filled with Pepsi, and an empty glass to be filled with Vodka.
After I didn’t drink any Vodka the second time, my party leader-sitting on my left-punched me.  After I didn’t drink any Vodka the third time, the Research Director-sitting on my right-complained.  That’s when I responded.
I said, “I’m now thinking of my 87-year-old mother.  She used to come to our school and teach us the Loyal Temperance Legion Pledge, ‘Not too much of anything, and, somethings, none at all’”.  No one spoke, either that day, or at any of the next research stations. 
Now, Mom got her temperance lessons from her grandmother, Matilda Downing Underwood, a Harveysburg Quaker Grove Meeting recorded minister, an early temperance and women’s suffrage leader who lived in the middle Underwood farmhouse.  JP Thornbury-the JRBC minister who baptized me before he baptized Mom-was a strong temperance preacher.  And, when I cleaned out their bank safe deposit box, I found Dad’s Loyal Temperance Legion membership card.

Log Cabin Stories

September 25, 2019


I just read the current issue of the Caesar Creek Pioneer Village Log.

I note you are updating your log cabin house stories.

I’d like to help by offering the following.  Maybe pick and choose parts of it.

Dan Collett cabin.  His wife was Mary Haines.  They were my g-g-g grandparents.

In 1750, Joshua Haines, my g-g-g-g grandfather, his brother, and an 18-year-old surveyor, G. Washington, bought 1120 acres on Bull-skin Run in VA, now, West Virginia.  On Memorial Day, 2019, I found Mary’s 1753 log cabin birthplace inside an old frame house on the south side of Bull-skin Run.  It is a few feet SW of the Haines Mill, rebuilt after being twice burned by the Union Army because it was a main source of Confederate flour.  In 1781, Hopewell Meeting Quaker Mary Haines, my g-g-g grandmother, was kicked out of Meeting for “marrying out of unity”.  She was re-instated in 1797, after most of their kids were born.

On June 1, 2019, I stood by the Meetinghouse SE of Burlington, NJ, where Quaker Richard Haines, Mary’s g-grandfather, was buried.  He was born in England in maybe 1665, was baptized in the Anglican Church then, but he and his parents were Quakers when they boarded the ship “Amity” for America in 1682. 

An Episcopalian, and never a Quaker, Revolutionary Private Daniel Collett’s five Quaker daughters-in-law placed his bones in Caesar Creek Quaker Cemetery in 1835, three years before his kids started Jonah’s Run Baptist Church-with two Quaker-style front doors, and a partition down the middle-where I will tell more Collett stories during a Historic Marker Unveiling at 2 pm on Sat. Sept 28, 2019.  Please come. 

On Memorial Day, 2019, our daughter took a photo of me standing under the sign, “Headspring Farm”, near Summit Point, now West Virginia, maybe eight miles NE of Winchester, Virginia.  In 1774, my g-g-g-g grandfather, Moses Collett, Revolutionary Dan’s father, walked west from north of Baltimore, MD up the South Fork of Bull-skin Run to the headspring, where he rented 200 acres, for life, from George Washington.

I and others are still trying to decide whether Collett’s came from France, as stated on the gate post of the Collett-McKay picnic site; or from England, as now seems likely.  If England, our ancestors were more exciting.

Jonathan/Sarah McKay Collett were my g-g-grandparents.  My wife, Barbara, and I now live in the 1818 National Register of Historic Places, Underground Railroad Stationhouse, at 9363 New Burlington Road, a mile west of the original site of Caesar Creek Quaker Meetinghouse.  The house was built by 22 just freed Virginia slaves brought here by Sarah’s parents, Moses and Abigail Shinn McKay.  Earlier tonight, my wife and I sat on a log from your Dan Collett log cabin that’s now on our kitchen porch.

The 1823 marriage of Jonathan and Sarah was the first of four marriages in seven years between the two families.  In 1866, partly to see who returned from the Civil War, they had a picnic on the second Saturday in August.  I am now the family recorder for that annual picnic.  At the 150th picnic, still held on family land at 5353 Gurneyville Road, two miles east of Caesar Creek State Park, 300 persons came from 20 states.

When their kids started to leave home, Quaker Mary Collett begged them to move into slave-free land, north of the Ohio River, and not stay with their cousins in Kentucky.  Joshua Collett, their oldest son did that, after visiting Ky cousins-whose dad had fought with George Rogers Clark in taking Vincennes-Joshua studied law in Cincinnati, before being one of the first four persons to start Lebanon in 1802, where he soon became a circuit judge.

Dan learned to read after he was married.  I haven’t found where he ever owned any slaves; they did bring Black Dan with them.  Dan was sheriff of Jefferson County, Va. in 1814 when they sold 236 acres there on a three-year mortgage, and bought 2356 acres here, along with son, Jonathan, on a three-year mortgage.  I’m still looking for where they got the 236 acres.  It appears as if they traded 1 acre in Virginia for 10 acres here.  I now own their 80 most southern acres here.

If Dan received the 100 acres a Virginia Private was eligible for, I haven’t found it.  In 1815, Dan/Mary bought 1300 acres adjacent on the east to the first 1,000 acres-where the Collett-McKay picnic is now located-Moses McKay bought in 1805 from Nathanial Massie, the first surveyor in the Northwest Territory.

I have a book Rev Dan borrowed from a no longer Wilmington library in 1815.  Published in London in 1800, it is a story of someone walking around central Africa in 1797 and 1798.  In 1921, Rev Dan was the first president of the Clinton County Bible Society.

Now, please help me decide how to publish the following:  Despite what my Collett cousins, Wallace and McKay wrote, if Dan Collett built the log cabin you have, I think he built it on Levi Lukens’ land, on the east end of Lukens’ 1,000-acre 1812 purchase of Virginia Military Land Grant 575…

Instead, I think it’s one of six log cabins built by/for former slaves on Collett land.  In 1839, the next generation Daniel Collett bought 4+ acres from Lukens.  It included that cabin site on the south side of, now SR 73, and the site of Jonah’s Run Baptist Church and cemetery on the north side of SR 73.

Oh, in 1907, Howard Collett wrote that he got the heirs of that Daniel Collett to sell the cemetery and church site land to the Jonah’s Run Trustees for $1.00, but I haven’t found where anyone recorded that transfer.

Oh, oh, in 1959, when I was helping to manage Collett Farms, Wallace told me to stop at Charlie McCoy’s house-your log cabin-to get $10 monthly rent.  But, if he didn’t pay, Wallace said to not keep a record.  At that time, neither I nor McCoy’s nor Collett’s knew it was a log cabin.  It was just where the Collett blacksmith formerly lived beside his forge in a barn.

Later, Wallace offered Charlie’s kids two house lots anywhere on the farm.  They now live in new houses on your cabin’s former site, and on the adjacent two-acre lot.

There’s more Collett stories… including Wallace, while Chairman of the American Friends Service Committee went into China the year before President Nixon, whose mother’s ancestors were early members of, now, your Caesar Creek Quaker Meetinghouse.  Oh, Mary Haines Collett’s relatives started holding their annual Haines family reunion at your Caesar Creek Quaker Meetinghouse in 1850, 16 years before Collett’s and McKay’s started their annual picnic.


Oh, oh, last Sunday after church, my wife and I were distributing invitations to neighbors to attend the marker unveiling.  When we saw a couple in the Jonah’s Run cemetery, we stopped to get acquainted.  Wow, did we! 

The wife was standing by the spire of Lt Colonel Hiram McKay, who enlisted as a Corporal, and was killed in the Civil War when he was twenty-seven.  The husband was taking her photo, and she was holding McKay’s officer’s coat and his sword!!

And, we soon learned, she and I are McKay third cousins.  We brought them over to our house, built by our mutual g-g-g grandparents.

© Copyright 2019

What fun, Howard Doster




Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Jonah's Run 175th Anniversary

This year is 175th anniversary of Jonah’s Run Baptist Church, started by Collett’s. Including Collett, McKay, McCune, and Doster stories, I am writing stories about various other of our family members as they related to the church, including how Quaker Daniel Underwood, my mother’s father, never a Baptist, came to a Jonah’s Run Box Social where he bought Wilhelmina Hahn’s box. She was the new teacher at the Collett school south of Katy’s Lane, and she was staying with Collett “girls”. Anyway, Dan and Wilhelmina soon married.
If Jane Desotelle sends me more info about her, I want to include some stories about Matilda Downing Underwood. Her first Underwood husband built her the Tower House to the east of Jonah’s Run. Her second Underwood husband owned the rest of the land adjacent to JR on the north side of SR 73. She was a recorded Quaker minister, a temperance and women suffrage leader.
I’ve just discovered that second generation Daniel Collett, one of the founders, bought 4+ acres, on both sides of the then Waynesville to Wilmington State Road, that apparently included the future site of Jonah’s Run church and cemetery, from Levi Lukens, the first Quaker to come here from Northern VA in 1802 or so, in 1839, just after the church was founded. In 1907, his two surviving daughters sold the 1+ acres on the north side of the road-where the church was built in 1839 and the cemetery was almost full before 1870 when the Collett’s quit burying there -of his 1839 purchase to the Jonah’s Run Baptist Trustees for $1.00.
My brother, John Doster, is working with others to clean up the cemetery again. After looking at grave markers and at the Howard Collett blueprint, I drew the following possible conclusions: I concluded why Revolutionary Daniel Collett, never a Quaker, was buried at Caesar Creek Quaker Meeting Cemetery (a mile east of where I’m writing this at, now, our Moses McKay House). The reason? He had six Quaker daughter-in-laws, including a granddaughter-in-law. Some were members at Caesar Creek. Daniel died in 1835. In 1839, some of those Quaker daughter-in-laws persuaded their Collett husbands to put two Quaker-style front doors on their new Jonah’s Run Baptist Church.
Where was Quaker Mary Haines Collett, Revolutionary Daniel’s wife, buried in 1826? Her sister-in-law, Sarah Collett Ashby, died in 1824. She was buried on the farm, and then her body was moved to Springfield Quaker Meeting cemetery, 1+ miles SE of the SE corner of the original Collett land. I’ve not found Mary’s name listed in any cemetery records in Clinton, Warren, or Greene Counties. I wonder if her body was buried a half mile west of Jonah’s Run, on Hatton’s Hill, 300 feet north of now SR 73, in the SW corner of Survey 770. Mom told me she used to pick wild flowers there while her father, Daniel Underwood, mowed that cemetery.
About 1821, neighbors, likely including Collett’s, built a public meeting house there, “so Betsy Gaddis could have a Presbyterian service”. The Gaddis family had bought the SW corner of that survey 770 in 1816 from Abijah O’Neal, the first Quaker to come to SW Ohio in 1797 or so, from SC. (The land became my grandfather Underwood’s farm.) When the chimney fell down on some kids in 1835, the public meeting house was closed.