Beech Grove

This was written by Barb Deis but is an interesting recollection of a faded community we often drive by on Rt. 503 and Arcanum-Hollansburg intersection. Perhaps it has been forgotten…maybe even unknown to many.

If you have any old photos of Beech Grove, please contact AWTHS: [email protected].

Beech Grove Cemetery

The Beech Grove Cemetery is located in the south-corner of section 2, Butler Township.  The small cemetery lies on the west side of State Route 503, just north of the Hollansburg-Arcanum Road. 

Inscriptions were taken the summer of 1964 by Anita Short and Ruth Bowers.  The list complied at that time can be found at the Arcanum Library or Arcanum Wayne Trail History Society titled “Gateway to the West-Ohio, Darke County, Ohio, Cemetery Inscriptions”.   

*Note: Also Darke County Cemetery Inscriptions at AWTHS. Most recent readings by Stephens & Spencer through purchase or at Darke Genealogical Society Research.

The oldest burial is Susannah Karn, widow of Henry d. 11-29-1849 ae 46-10-23 (mother of John)

The atlas of 1875-1888 shows the cemetery to by on the property owned by John Karn.

                                                Church at Beech Grove    

                        Northeast corner of St. Rt. 503 and Hollansburg Arcanum Rd.

The first church on this site was built in 1854 with 12 members.   Many of the same families were still members when the second church was built in 1882 on the same location: Karns, Hurschs, Shaffers, Jacoby, Bruss, Steimetz, Whiteneck and Shuler. 

Location: One half acre in SE corner of SE quarter, Section 2, township 10, Range 2 East  (Darke County Recorder’s Office -Volume D-2, page 379)

 Two names are associated with this early church – Timothy’s Reformed Church and Beech Grove Church.  In 1932 it was then  Beech Grove Tabernacle, a non-denominational church with Sunday services.

Before the first church was built services were held in the grove of beech trees, in the school house or Henry Karn’s barn.

The church is currently now a residence.                                                  (2015)

                                                            Karn Family

Henry and Susannah (Good) Karn came to Butler Township in 1852, bringing a number of families with them, all of whom were connected.  They were members of the German Reformed Church of Butler County. 

The settlement was never platted.  It is possible this congregation with the same life values wanted to live in a close community to support their beliefs. 

A Darke County Atlas dated 1875-1888 shows Henry owned 50 acres with the north edge along St. Rt. 127 and St Rt. 503 cutting through the south edge. 

The1875-1888 atlas shows Ithaca Greenville Road/Free Pike (now St. Rt. 503) ran through John Karn’s property of 159 acres.  At that time Karn owned an adjoining 80 acre parcel to the east.  John was Henry’s son.  There may have been other siblings.

The atlas shows a church, cemetery, store and school as well as several other building on the John Karn property. At the intersection of St. Rt. 503 and Hollansburg Arcanum Rd. the  School No. 1, was on the north west corner and on the northeast corner the U.S. Reformed Church and north of the school the Beech Grove Cemetery.

 In the book W.H. Beers, Co, History of Darke County published in 1880, the biography of John Karn (son of Henry Karn) tells of him building several houses and barns and at the time of  writing the biography he was building a new home for his residence.    Photos of the his home show it was on or near the site where the school had been; the southwest corner of Hollansburg Arcanum Rd. and St. Rt. 503.  That home was recently taken down.

John Karn died in 1912.  His only son William died before his father.  William had two sons, Omer B. Karn and Ernest D. Karn. (2015)

“Beech Grove is the title of a new Post Office just established at the residence of John F. Rosser, Esq. in Butler Township, Esq Rosser is Post Master.  This office was much needed; and we hope our friends through the region will now avail themselves of the opportunity to have a county paper sent to them free of postage.” (Greenville Telegraphy, Wednesday, Feb. 18, 1852)                                        Beech Grove had a post office until 1857, locations are not known. 

 John F. Rosser later lived in Arcanum and died in the Civil War leaving a widow Lucy and family.  The Rosser family owned and operated the Rosser Lumber Co. in Arcanum from 1880 to 1962.

*We’ve been running many post on our AWTHS Facebook page about the Rossers.

Russell Harris has been employed to teach the Beech Grove school this coming winter.  (Arcanum Times 8-4-1910)  Russell Harris went on to be publisher and editor of the Arcanum Times for many years.

*We have photos and artifacts on the Butler Twp old school houses including Beech Grove in our files.

David F. Dubbs who has resided south of Beech Grove for many years where he has been engaged in the manufacture of brick and tile has quit business and left Sunday for Kinderport, Mo.  Where he will make his future home.  (Arcanum Times 10-14-1909)        The D.F. Dubbs Tile and Crockery Factory is noted on the map from the 1875-1888 Atlas.

Beech Grove Service Station, “owned and operated by R.L. Holme is now open for business.  Mr. and Mrs. R. L. Holmes and Mr. and Mrs. O.L. Holmes of Dayton purchased the old Devilbiss farm at Beech Grove last fall and moved to the place in January.  They have built a modern filling station and carry the usual line of gasoline, motor oils, groceries, candy , cigars and tobacco.”  (Arcanum Times Aug. 18, 1932)

*If you have photos of the gas station or tile place please contact AWTHS or any other old photos of Beech Grove.

Cain House                                                                                                5007 Hollansburg Arcanum Rd.

The house at the southeast corner of Hollansburg Arcanum Rd and St. Rt. 503 was built in the early 1800s of bricks believed to have been fired on the property.  The fact that there was a tile and crockery factory a short distance from this home would indicated the area was rich in the type of clay needed to make bricks. The exterior bricks were covered with stucco in the early 1960s.

Marty and Bev Cain learned they house had been a stagecoach stop.  It is likely that Hen Wilke’s stagecoach (hack) from Lewisburg would stopped in Beech Grove on his way to Ft. Jefferson and then on to Greenville.  

At one time there was a gas station between the house and St. Rt. 503. 

See our driving tour brochure about Beech Grove available on-line on our web site, as well as brochures available at AWTHS house.

Our library contains other Beech Grove materials. Also check out our blogs on our web site along with our Facebook page.

Please follow AWTHS blog guidelines: Credit to writer and information and photos are part of AWTHS archives and may only be copied or used if credit given to the Arcanum Wayne Trail Historical Society, Inc. as they are the owners and part of their archives.

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