Staunton Monument's History Is Mostly Forgotten

By Judy Deeter
STAUNTON TWP. - On June 14, 1905 (Flag Day), the Miami Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution dedicated an historic monument at the site of the old Dutch Station stockade near Staunton (east of Troy).  The monument’s historical marker honors the birth of Jacob Knoop, the first white child born in Miami County.  He was born to John and Barbara Knoop on November 30, 1798.  Much of what happened at that long-ago dedication ceremony and the history of the monument have been forgotten.  

The monument today stands on the west side of Route 202 at the south entrance to the village of Staunton.  Originally, it stood a little north of this location. In the book HISTORY OF MIAMI COUNTY OHIO (1982, E. Irene Miller, Editor), Dorothy K. Knoop wrote in the Staunton Township chapter:  “The boulder was moved in the 1970s to a spot south of Dutch Station on Route 504 because it had been located on a curve in Staunton.  It created a hazard whenever a tourist would stop at the curve to read the text inscribed on the historic stone.”  (Note:  Route 504 is now Route 202.)

The post card image above shows the monument at its original site. (Below is what is looks like today). Though the card is not dated, it is thought to have been published between 100 and 110 years ago. It is from The Troy Historical Society’s Mary Smith post card collection. It is archived at the Troy-Miami County Public Library Local History Library, 100 W. Main St. in Troy.  A black and white photograph also from The Troy Historical Society clearly shows the marker as engraved:  “On this spot stood the fort built, 1798.  Here was born the first white child of this County, Jacob Knoop. Erected by Miami Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, Troy, O., June 14, 1905.”  

Note: The Daughters of the American Revolution is an organization for women who descend from individuals who served in the American Revolution or gave aid to American troops. It is headquarters in Washington, D.C. The organization’s chapter in Miami County is now the Piqua-Lewis Boyer Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution.

In 1797, brothers John and Benjamin Knoop and their family members came from Pennsylvania to what is now Miami County’s Staunton Township.  Other families who migrated to Ohio with the Knoop brothers were those of Henry Gerrard, Benjamin Hamblett and John Tilders.  (Some sources say that prior to settling in Ohio, John Knoop had made two trips to Ohio with surveying parties.)  A short time after the families came to Miami County, they built a stockade (fort) as a protection against local natives.  They called their new home “Dutch Station.” Thomas Bemis Wheeler described the it in his book TROY THE NINETEENTH CENTURY as:  “…a series of log cabins placed in a line to form one side of the stockade. The other three sides consisted of logs eight feet high driven into the ground.  The Indians never attacked the stockade, and three or four years the walls were dismantled and used for more practical purposes.”

Artistic drawings of the first settlers and Dutch Station, along with photographs related to the John Knoop family, are published on pages 7-14 of the book TROY YESTERDAY TODAY AND TOMORROW. The book is out of print, but available for viewing at libraries and historical societies throughout Miami County.

The Knoop family played an important role in Miami County.  John Knoop is considered to be a founder of Troy.  His son Jacob Knoop founded both the Miami County Agricultural Society, which operated the Miami County fair, and the State Bank, which later became Troy National Bank.  John Knoop had four sons:  George, Jacob, John and William.  William was the only son to marry.   George, Jacob, and John are sometimes referred to as “the bachelor Knoops.”  When the bachelor brothers died, they left their land to Miami County for purposes of building an orphanage for children.  It is on their land that the Knoop Children’s Home for orphaned children was built.   The orphanage has been closed for many years now. Long ago, it was home to many children who had no parents to care for them.

The June 15, 1905 edition of the MIAMI UNION newspaper has a detailed account of both the monument and the Flag Day dedication ceremony. It said that the “great granite boulder” was about 6 feet high.  It was moved to the old Dutch Station site from a farm a few miles east and placed on a cement bed about four feet deep.  During the process of digging a bed for the rock,  a corner of the old Dutch Station magazine was struck. A 20 inch by 28 inch engraved block of Italian marble was placed on the rock as the Daughters of the American Revolution historical marker.  Words on the marker are:  “On this spot stood the for built 1798.  Here was born the first white child of this county, Jacob Knoop.  Erected by Miami Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, Troy, O., June 14, 1905.”

The newspaper article says that about 200 people attended the dedication.  “The road was crowded with carriages.  A speakers’ platform was built in the shade near the stone.  Back of the stand was a bus load of twenty children from Troy, who led the singing, the opening song being "America."  The stone was presented to Miami County; accepted by Miami County Commissioner Smith.  Judge Theodore Sullivan was the dedication speaker.  He spoke both of the history of Dutch Station and the Knoop families.  A poem titled “The Pioneer,” written by famed Miami County writer and historian Thomas C. Harbaugh was read at the ceremony by Mrs. George Long (thought to be the wife of former State Senator and Troy Mayor George S. Long).

While the marker has long been a familiar part of the Miami County landscape to those living in the Staunton area, many people in Miami County residents do not know of its existence and story.

For more information about the marker, contact The Troy Historical Society at (937) 339-5900, by email at tths@frontier.com or visit the Troy-Miami County Public Library Local History Library at 100 W. Main St. in Troy

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