“This indenture made this fifteenth day of March in the year of Christ one thousand eight hundred six, between William Lytle and Elisa, his wife, of the County of Clermont, State of Ohio of the one part; and Ezekiel Dimmitt of the County and State aforementioned of the other part; Wherewith that said William Lytle and wife aforementioned, for and in consideration of the sum of twelve hundred and four dollars and fifty cents – lawful money of the aforementioned State, to therein hand include and truly paid to said William Lytle and aforementioned wife, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, hath granted, bargained, sold, conveyed, and conferred, and by these presents – to grant, bargain, sell, and confer unto the said Ezekiel Dimmitt, his heirs and assigns all the tract and parcel of land lying on the East Fork of the Little Miami and bounded as follows to wit: Beginning at a stone wall by two Beeches on the South bank of the fork running thence with the line of Robert Townsley’s survey, then South…to Joseph Gasts, thence North…Etc.
So reads the record of the purchase by Ezekiel Dimmitt from William Lytle some 48 acres of land situated on what is today the western area of the Village of Batavia; and which according to local historians is the location where in 1798 Ezekiel Dimmitt felled trees to build the first log cabin in the Batavia community.
It was here that Ezekiel and his wife Phoebe made their home, raised their children, and welcomed numerous other pioneers to spend time in their home as they arrived in this community.
It is fitting that a portion of this land has been set aside for the construction of Dimmitt Woods Senior Housing, which is being constructed by Clermont Senior Services. If you drive by the construction site at the foot of College Drive you will see that the land has been cleared and that excavation work has begun for placement of the building.
The name Dimmitt Woods was selected to honor Batavia’s founding father. Ezekiel Dimmitt was only 26 when he arrived in Batavia, having migrated from Virginia to Kentucky, and then to Ohio. He was an industrious, God fearing young man and soon established himself as a leader in the fledgling community. As a carpenter he oversaw the construction of many buildings, including the first courthouse when Batavia was designated the county seat – much to the consternation of Williamsburg and New Richmond, both of which for a time had served as the county seat.
The following citation from Ancestry.com (“Descendants of Godfrey Gatch, by Virginia Gatch Markham”) provides an interesting summary on the life of Ezekiel Dimmitt.
“In the course of his life he assumed many responsible trusts, which he fulfilled with promptitude. With marked physical ability and active mind he was most content when engaged in the business of life which characterized him until a short time before his death. He was from his youth under the influence of Methodism and Christian instruction, which resulted in his very early attachment to the Methodist Episcopal Church of which he was a faithful, vigilant and consistent member, even unto death. And with an appreciation of the preaching of the Gospel his cabin was for many years the regular place of preaching. He was a member of the first Methodist class meeting organized north of the Ohio River, and was compelled to travel a distance of some twelve miles to meet with the twenty members who composed it, one of which number only is now living [date uncertain]. He acted as leader and steward in the church for many years. On February 3, 1841, his consort, Phoebe [Gast] Dimmitt, departed this life, after which time he passed his declining days with his children, who mostly reside in this county. His last days were his happiest.”
Ezekiel Dimmitt died in March of 1857 at the age of 82, having enjoyed a good life with his wife, Phoebe, their children, friends, and neighbors. Just as their humble cabin was a welcome resting place for weary travelers, Dimmitt Woods Senior Housing will be a welcome resting place for many of our community’s older citizens for years to come. I believe Ezekiel Dimmitt would be both proud and honored to see his old homestead used for such a noble purpose. When completed in the spring of 2013, Dimmitt Woods will provide 40 one-bedroom apartments for senior citizens age 62 and over who meet certain income guidelines. For more information and to place your name on the interest list contact Clermont Senior Services at (513) 724-1255.
George Brown is a freelance writer. He lives in Jackson Township.