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Amelia’s Beginnings

Amelia’s Beginnings

 Or So The Survey Says

From Amelia Village History, 2nd edition

The Amelia Ohio of today originally was made up of four surveys done for the Revolutionary War soldiers who obtained the land in exchange for their service in that great conflict, or for their heirs and/or assignees in lieu of money owed to them. Survey 493 (Robert Gibbons), survey 511 (Robert Baylor), Survey 586 (Joseph Scott) and Survey 506 (Jim Catlett) all commonly ended up forming Amelia, but at one point in time a land attorney named Zachariah Chapman owned land in every one of these surveys. As a matter of fact, Mr. Chapman owned land in most, if not all of Clermont County’s townships.

To say if it weren’t for Mr. Chapman, there would be no Amelia Ohio would be an understatement. Although we don’t even know if he ever stepped foot into Amelia proper, we know that it was his land transactions that began the village as we know it today. Mr. Chapman shows up in the tax records as early as 1806, which means that he owned property here, if not made one of his homes here. He did pay some personal property tax in Williamsburg and Batavia, so perhaps he went through Amelia more than once before his death on April 18, 1837.

Chapman was a shrewd attorney. He knew that he could make money from the lands by being a broker to those who wanted their property sold. The land transaction of Mr. Chapman could fill a very thick book. What Chapman accomplished was more than that of a land baron, he actually accumulated thousands of acres of land and sold thousand of acres to others, holding on to a great deal of land himself. Upon his death, the land passed to his children.

Mr. Chapman was the last owner to completely own the Gibbon’s survey of 1,000 acres. This was the land that included Lucy’s Run, which would later be the site of the very first mill to ever run in Amelia, which was owned by John Butler and David Jernegan. Gibbon and his wife, who apparently never left Virginia, had their land surveyed for them, and sold it to Robert Means in 1806 for $1,500.00. Means’ heirs sold this property to John Watson in 1822, who then again sold it in 1824 to Chapman. In 1825, Chapman began selling the property in acres to men such as Shadrach Lane, John Warren Sr., and John Weaver. In 1828, the first Butler to purchase into this land mass was Abner Butler, who purchased 67 acres.

The second major survey for Amelia Ohio was that of John Catlett, who had 2,000 acres of land that was at that time in Ohio Township. Most of the land became the small community of Lindale. Catlett was a captain in the Revolutionary War, and he received his land grant from Thomas Jefferson. Apparently, the Catletts weren’t roamers, and John’s son, Samuel, appointed Zachariah Chapman to sell the property for the Catlett family in 1810. Chapman is listed as having 180 acres of this property in 1814. However, the people Chapman sold the land to for Catlett could make up a “Who’s Who” of Amelia history. Martin Pease, a sea captain from the War of 1812, bought 250 acres from Jonas Mann in 1814, who had also bought his property from Mann next to Pease in 1814. Nine years later, Martin’s son, Gorham, bought property from his father and one year later sold the property back to his father. Chapman sold his land both to David Jernegan and John Butler, who left it to his wife, Jane. Abner Butler got property from his mother in the survey. These names would become the founders of a little village that would first be called Milltown, then Milton, and then Amelia which would then get a post office.

The next two surveys are small, but they now comprise part of Amelia Ohio. They are Survey 586 (Joseph Scott) and Survey 511 (Robert Baylor). Mr. Baylor sold his property through John Washington, a nephew of George Washington. The property was 1,000 acres and Mr. Daniel Kirgan bought the land from Nathaniel Behymer in 1827. Joseph Scott took his 4,000 acres and gave it to his heir John Hoskins who sold some of it to Zachariah Chapman. He then sold it to Amelia pioneers such as Shadrach Dial and Shadrach Lane, in 186 and 1817, respectively.