One of the principal points of origin of migration into Miami county, and the adjacent Miami valley area, of Ohio in the first decade of the 19th Century was the state of New Jersey. Many interrelated family groups made the trek from the areas around Rahway and Elizabeth, NJ, mostly in Essex county,1 sometimes via Madison county, KY,2 and Cincinnati, OH. Most of these early settlers took up farming in and around Staunton township. Here are some of the surnames of which I am aware, simply because they appear in my own genealogy data base:
In addition to these New Jersey families, there was another family from New England which arrived in the Cincinnati area before 1800, then moved on into the Miami valley along with the Jerseyites listed above. They are so intermarried with Careys and Winans that I had assumed they were also from New Jersey until one of their descendants, Jerry Stout, informed me otherwise:
There were several precursors to the wave of Jerseyites who entered the Miami valley around 1807, such as:
Many of these settlers were Methodists. Several of my ancestors are said to be buried in the Raper Methodist Episcopal Chapel's graveyard, which is located on the east bank of the Miami River, along the old Troy-Piqua Pike. When I visited there in 1993, I was unable to distinguish names on most of the old headstones, although I could barely make out "Winans" on a few. The chapel itself is no longer standing, but a marquee-like stone with its name dimly visible, that may once have been attached to the building, was lying on the ground. A list of Raper Chapel burials which was made at a time when many more stones were legible is available on the Miami County USGenWeb page.
One of the Winans settlers was my g-g-g-g-grandfather Samuel Winans (1746-1830) who was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. He is said to have offered the toast at the 4 July 1827 Independence Day celebration: "The Star Spangled Banner, Long may it wave, O'er the land of the free and home of the brave." His grave at Raper Chapel was "marked by Miami Chap. [DAR?] with bronze marker in 1904". I was unable to locate his grave when I was there, and it doesn't appear in the list of burials. The Winans line in the U.S.A. can be traced to Jan (John) Winans (1640-1694) who immigrated from the Netherlands and was one of the founders of Elizabeth, NJ.
I would be glad to exchange information with anybody who shares this heritage with me. I would also like to hear from anybody who might have additional information on Raper Chapel and on who is buried there. Please send me e-mail with your comments or questions.