RailsandTrails.com - Texts - 1854 Ohio Railroad Guide

  Xenia to South Charleston  
 

XENIA is 64 miles from Cincinnati, and 54 miles from Columbus. It is the county seat of Greene county, and one of the best inland towns of the west. But before we discuss the town, let us discuss another, and quite a practical question. At least you will think it so. Are you hungry? Is this supper time? If so, let me tell you, of all the railway depots in the United States, this is one of the best for a meal. It is clean, roomy, and the meals are well got by friend Stark, and charged for no more, than they ought to be. In all the New York and Pennsylvania railways, there is not a place better than this to get a nice supper. So if you are hungry and will be satisfied with good things, and don't demand ortolans and turbot out of season, now is your chance. Sit down and be comforted.


View of the Station House at Xenia.

Now, if you have done supper, we will take a look at Xenia. Xenia, where did they get that name? I cannot tell. I have heard something of its origin, but really cannot trace it to any known thing. Well,

Xenia contains 4,248 inhabitants, just treble what it did in 1840, and twelve hundred more than it did in 1850. This shows a rapid growth, and it is due almost entirely to the railways which here intersect. The Little Miami, on which we now are, passes on north to join the Mad River road, at Springfield; while on the east it is connected with Columbus, by the Xenia and Columbus, on which we shall now proceed. Xenia township is the largest township in Ohio, and contains about 8,500 inhabitants. It was settled chiefly by the Seceders,as they were called,the Covenanters of the Associate Reformed Church, all of whom are branches of the same sect, the old Scotch Covenanters. In the town of Xenia, there are now twelve churches, of which one is Seceder, Me Covenanter, two Associate Reformed, two Methodist, one Presbyterian, one Baptist, one German Lutheran, one Roman Catholic, and two African. This is more than a church to each 400 people. So you see this is a church going people. In the county there are 65 churches, or one to each 300 persons, a very large proportion. In general, Greene county is settled by a sober, industrious, orderly, and intelligent people. You would readily see this from the very look of the farms, if you could see them. Generally, however, our railways do not pass through the most cultivated sections.

But, to return to Xenia: we shall not see it nearer than at the depot. But, even here, the town bears a pleasant aspect, bright and thriving. The little stream that separates us from town is SHAWNEE, which runs as clear and bright, as if it were leaping over the rocks and sands of New England. Its name is the only thing in this broad land, except those strange old mounds, which reminds us of the ancient inhabitants. Shawnee! Dost thou still remember the Shawnee, the wild warrior of the forest, who once roamed upon thy banks, and hunted in thy woods,--and frolicked in the loud joy of a freeman?

Again we start, and soon we shall leave thee, fair Xenia, behind, and bid farewell to all thy charms, thy spires, thy woods and waters! Of none can it be more truly said, than of thee,--

"--Loveliest village of the plain,
Where health and plenty cheer the lab'ring swain,
Where smiling Spring its earliest visit pays,
And parting Summer's ling'ring bloom delays.

How often have I paused on every charm,
The shelter'd cot, the cultivated farm,
The never failing brook, the busy mill,
The decent church that tops the neighb'ring hill."

We pass near, but shall not see,--TAWAWA SPRINGS, a fashionable summer resort for the citizens of Cincinnati. This is a new place, being established only within four or five years. Originally, it was a beautiful piece of wood, or rolling land, in the midst of which was a deep ravine. In that ravine arose three springs; one was pure natural water ; one was lime-water, and one was iron and sulphur. The beauty of the situation, with the presence of the springs, gave to Mr. E. P. Drake, who first started the enterprize, the idea of making it a watering place. This has been accomplished, and TAWAWA is now both a beautiful, and a fashionable place. A large, elegant, and most comfortable hotel has been erected; in front of which is a lawn, shaded by forest trees. On each side are rows of cottages, most of them erected by gentlemen for their own families. The roads around Xenia are very good and pleasant for riding; the country remarkably healthy; the place accessible, at the Xenia Railway station, from every part of the United States. In thirty hours you can be in New York, or Philadelphia, from Tawawa Springs! In two hours you can be in Cincinnati. I have been at most of the watering places in this country, and I assure you, that for comfort with seclusion, and convenience with pleasure, there is not another place in the United States, more comfortable, convenient and pleasant than this. A fine view of Xenia, and the depot accompanies this.

CEDARVILLE Station, 72 miles from Cincinnati, and 46 from Columbus. There occurs here rather a remarkable natural phenomenon for this country, the presence of Cedar trees, -- and hence the name of the village, -- Cedarville. The village is seen from the left, through a clump of trees. It is situated at the Falls of Massie's Creek, a stream quite celebrated in Indian wars, and Indian adventures. The Falls of Massie's Creek was quite a romantic spot, the waters plunging over rock precipices, and over hung by darkly green cedars. But, alas! the cedars are cut away ; the red Indian has disappeared; there is no more danger; and quiet people plant corn and tend sheep! Wild wars and fearful romance have disappeared forever! Not even the spirit-rappers can recall them.

SELMA Station,-- 6 miles further, is a new place, created by the Railroad.

SOUTH CHARLESTON Station, 83 miles from Cincinnati and 35 miles from Columbus, is another small country village, in a very pleasant country. After passing Cedarville, we enter upon a country which in its scenery, soil, and qualities, is quite peculiar. It comprehends about one fourth of Ohio. Commencing in the upper part of Highland county, including a small part of Clark, (where we are now,) and all of Fayette, Madison, Union, Hardin, Wyandot, Crawford, and parts of Marion, Huron, Logan, Champaign and several other counties; it extends from the hills of the Ohio, to near the shores of the lake. It may be called, generally, a champaign country, nearly level, but with gentle swells like the waves of the sea, interspersed with natural prairies, and clumps of wood. The small quantity of timber, and the apparent absence of fertile "bottoms," (the favorites of all good farmers,) induced the pioneers to give these lands the name "barrens;" but, nothing was more mistaken than to attach to them the word barren. They are among the most fertile, as well as the most beautiful lands in America. Being peculiarly adapted to grass, they have heretofore been chiefly employed in grazing sheep and cattle. In the township where we now are, great numbers of sheep are raised. The county of Clark, in which we are, has 50,000 sheep and 12,000 cattle, most of which are pastured at this end of the county.

Charleston is a small, but pleasant village; one of those country settlements of which there are numbers in every section.

The Railway from Xenia to Columbus, we should have said, is almost entirely straight, making but three curves, we believe, in the whole distance : one on leaving Xenia, one at London, where the general direction of the road is changed, and one between there and Columbus. From Xenia to Columbus bridge, an air line is 52 miles; while the railway is only 54 miles, showing how near an air line this road is.