Have you ever been to Tylersville? It is, or rather once was located in Greene County.
The village, located in Bath Township on Dayton-Yellow Springs Road was never large. The railroad never came through the town, nor did the interurban, but several businesses have been located there over the years.
As early as 1802 or 1803, John George Folck, a doctor, settled in the neighborhood along with the Wilson, Wolf and Heffley families.
Then on the 19th day of May, 1841, William Sensemen recorded a town located on the northwest quarter of section 12. The plat contained 7.38 acres divided into twenty-five lots, each lot measuring 50 by 194 ½ feet. All lots were planned for the north side of the road which lay between Yellow Springs and Dayton.
Patriotic fever was running high in the middle of the 19th century. The residents of Greene County traditionally voted for the Whig party, including the residents of the new village. The 1840 election was no exception. The rallying cry of “Tippecanoe and Tyler too” was heard throughout the county. The folks in Ohio were pleased to have William Henry Harrison running for the office of President of the United States with John Tyler as his running mate. The log cabin logo with the coon skin cap was seen across the nation, and even more in Greene County.
After the election, the folks in the new as yet unnamed community were very pleased. Harrison was considered truly a great man, and of course Tyler as Vice President was well liked. In fact, he was so well-liked and respected that the folks in the little village decided to honor him by naming the town after him. Thus the village became known as Tylersville.
If you recall your U. S. history, you will know that Harrison died April 4, 1841, only one month after taking office, and so Tyler became the new President.
At first, he was very popular, but when his leanings seemed to be toward the Democrat Party and not the Whig he lost favor with those who were strongly in favor of the tenets of the Whig Party.
The residents of Tylersville were among those who were not pleased with the policies of the new President. They decided to remove his name from their town in order to express their displeasure with his tactics.
A petition was drawn up under the direction of Dr. Bell and signed by all the residents of Tylersville. The petition which was forwarded to the General Assembly ended with these words: “It may seem strange to your honorable body that the inhabitants of an humble village I Ohio should ask to have its name changed from that of an American president to the name of an English poet, yet we feel so utterly disgusted with the apostasy of John Tyler from the doctrines marked out by “Old Tip” in his inaugural message, that we detest his name and turn him over to the execrations of the party which elected him, and the contempt of mankind.”
The General Assembly honored the request and so the name of the little village was changed to Byron, in honor of Lord Alfred Byron.
One of the first businesses was a store which passed through several hands then in 1861 Michael J. Ennis bought the business. He became a very successful saddle and harness maker. He sold calico, sugar and other necessities and also served as post master.
It is though that the first blacksmith was Jacob Griner. Griner took on an apprentice William Wilson, who eventually purchased the business. He maintained the shop for 18 years, and then took up farming. He served as Justice of the Peace for nearly two terms while a resident of Byron. He later sold the business to Guy Lindamood.
In 1870, the town contained a school, church, blacksmith shop and dry goods store. At that time, the population was about 100. By 1918, the town residents numbered only 25. Perhaps the close location of Fairfield and Osborn were contributing factors, since both communities were growing rapidly.
The Byron Evangelical Reformed Church on Trebein Road remains a vital part of the Bath Township community. The congregation dates to 1834 and at one time was a union church, known as the Byron Reformed Church. The Lutherans owned the building, which was used jointly with the Reformed congregation. Later the Lutheran group gravitated toward Fairfield and Xenia leasing the building to the Reformed congregation. The first auditorium was divided by a wooden partition, pew high, witch separated men from women. It is said that in the earliest time period, the services were in German. The large building with its stained glass windows is the center piece for the Byron Cemetery, with burials dating from the early 19th century,
Perhaps President Tyler never even knew that he had been honored by having a town named for him. Then, chances are great that he was never informed that the honor had been taken from him. He was the first Vice-President in our history to assume the duties of the President when William Henry Harrison died in office.
The residents of Tylersville were very firm with their intention to remove the honor when they decided to change the name of the village, which remains today as Byron.
Joan Baxter is a Greene County resident and long-time historical writer.
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