farmhouse here at Branch Creek Farm was built in 1879. We
believe Henry and Mary Eshbaugh built the house. They put the
year of 1879 on a brick at the very highest point of the house.
The hay barn, which is hand-hone, appears to have been built
about the same time. We also have a tobacco barn and a chicken
shed that are quite old, however not as old as the hay barn.
According to the estate documents, the tobacco barn was built by
Henry and Mary's son, Levi Eshbaugh in 1903, we assume the
chicken shed was built around the same time.
Henry was born in 1830 and died in 1903. He, Mary, and many of
their family are buried in the cemetery just up the road, across
from the church at the corner of Rt 4 and Infirmary.
When Henry died in 1903, his estate listed, "Mary E. Eshbaugh
his widow, and the following persons only heirs at law:"
Degree of Kinship
||Dayton, Ohio, R.R. 6
|Christina Eshbaugh (aged 11)
|Catherine Eshbaugh (aged 9)
|Marie Eshbaugh (aged 8)
|Alice Eshbaugh (aged 6)
|Henry Eshbaugh (aged 4)
|Robert Eshbaugh (aged 1)
"That none of the above named children of said decedent
were under 15 years of age at the time of his decease."
Mary was born in 1835 and died in 1917. The Eshbaugh family
lived in this three story brick farmhouse until about 1917. At
that time (1917) Branch Creek Farm consisted of 43 acres.We
should point out that the road bordering the northernmost part
of the property at that time is Eshbaugh road.
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In October 1917 the records show
that Abraham Eshbaugh, one of Henry and Mary's sons, bought the
place through a Sheriff's auction for $8,600. It appears at this
auction he "bought out" the rest of the family.
In 1920. Elmer Rauch purchased the farm
from Abraham Eshbaugh. Elmer and his family (we think his wife's
name was Zola) lived here for 56 years! Elmer and his wife put a
lot of time and effort into the farm. Elmer was one of four sons
of Sarah Rauch (Eshbaugh). Sarah was the daughter of Henry and
Mary Eshbaugh and according to the records appears to have died
sometime before 1903. She is not listed in Henry's 1903 estate,
however according to the Sheriff's auction paperwork, she had at
least four sons; Henry, Elmer, Davilla, and Andrew. Elmer was at
least 15, according to his Grandfather Henry's estate document,
so Elmer had to be at least 32 when he purchased the farm from
his uncle Abraham.
Elmer and his family were dairy farmers, the barn has cow
staunches where the cows were milked, there remains some old
machinery in the barn that leads us to believe the cows were not
always milked by hand. There is also a milk parlor practically
on top of the well, complete with a channel with a drain in the
cement floor, presumably to hold water to keep the milk
containers cool. Sometime during Elmer's stay here, he sold off
just over 3 acres of roadfront on Eshbaugh road, the far north
part of the property.
Nearly the entire floor of the long tobacco barn is concrete -
to do this they had to raise the supporting poles and place the
poles on concrete piers. The two side floors, including the
lean-to, of the hay barn are concrete as well as a 30x50 foot
section extended out from the barn into the pasture. This
section of the hay barn has the year 1945 marked in the concrete
on the south side. The chicken shed also has a cement floor. And
there is a cement water trough on the south side of the hay
barn. The cement lip of the hay barn shows the year "1961".
Elmer, or someone in his family, used license plates dating from
1937 to 1972 to fix, repair, and mend the many outbuildings here
at the farm. We have been told that besides farming, Elmer also
drove a school bus for many years.
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In 1976, Willis and Willie Tunstall
purchased the farm from Elmer Rauch. We don't know much of their
ten year tenure, except there was some sort of after-hours
nightclub in the tobacco barn, complete with the "cover charge"
window and entrance, and two toilet stalls. We've heard this was
called the Broken Wagon Wheel nightclub. The only evidence left
from the nightclub is the flourescent orange and green spray
paint on the beams, we removed the aluminum foil wrapped around
In 1986, Lloyd Reid bought the property.
During the early part of his 14 year ownership, Mr. Reid rented
the place out. Later, Mr. Reid moved into the farmhouse and put
a great deal of time and money into fixing up the interior of
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In July of 2000, Jana Dalton bought
Branch Creek farm. Thanks to Mr. Reid the house, especially the
inside, was in great shape. The large, beautiful windows on the
main floor are all the original wood, the windows themselves are
brand new, the kitchen and bathroom are beautifully tiled and
updated, and there is brand new carpet in three rooms. Thanks to
his efforts, we could move right into the house and concentrate
our efforts on repairing and restoring the out buildings and
We are trying to restore the house, as best we can, to what
it originally was. Any helpful hints would be greatly
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