Ohio History Journal

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The following letter addressed to the Editor by John William

Scholl, professor emeritus in the University of Michigan, contains

enough of historical data to warrant its publication as a matter of





April 6, 1946

Dear Sir:

I have before me a Road Map of Montgomery County, Ohio, made

(revised) in 1936 by Victor C. Smith, then County Engineer, which contains

an especially interesting error.

Near the northeast corner of the county, in Wayne Township, there is

a road running east and west between the Old Troy and Dayton Pike and

the Brandt and Dayton Pike, which is designated on the Map as SHELL'S

ROAD. This name is incorrect. The road is not made of crushed shells and

no man of the name of Shell ever lived in that region or had anything to do

with the opening and construction of the road itself. The true story is as


Shortly before Christmas in 1883 the Rev. HARRISON SHULL

(name anglicized from the German SCHOLL), a Dunkard minister and

farmer, moved with his large family from Miami County to a farm owned

by Stephen J. Allen, at that time County Treasurer with his office in the

Court House in Dayton, who had got it some time previously from a man

named Hoover. This Hoover-Allen farm of 160 acres extended from the

boundary line of Montgomery and Miami Counties southward to the County

Road in question. This quarter section had its southeast corner at the small

jog in the road, as shown on the Engineer's Map.

In 1883 this road was developed from the Troy and Dayton Pike

eastward to the jog mentioned, though it was so new in the portions along

the Hoover-Allen quarter section that stumps of trees were still in it, which

wagons either drove around or straddled. There was no public road eastward

to the Brandt and Dayton Pike. So the public were permitted by Mr. Allen

to use a private lane which traversed another of his farms. This lane ran

north from the jog along the margin of a field for some forty rods, then

eastward for half a mile down a fenced-in lane past the farmhouse and

barn to the Brandt and Dayton Pike. This lane had been in use a long

time, but not quite the twenty-one years needed to establish it as a public


Being but a private lane it was not graded and had no artificial drain-

age. The deep ruts retained the rains of summer and were bottomless mud

at the spring thaw.

The Post Office that served this entire neighborhood was located at

Sulphur Grove, a petty village at the point where the Taylorville Road

crosses the Brandt and Dayton Pike. The farmers had Dayton as their chief

market center and could reach it comfortably by going west to the Troy and

Dayton Pike, but this did not take them by their Post Office. This was a

great inconvenience, because they had to come back by the Brandt and

Dayton Pike and endure the private lane's extra quarter mile and its often

intolerable condition.