The DeWitt Homestead is the oldest structure in the Oxford Township of Butler County, OH. Zachariah Price DeWitt built the two-story, four-room log home in 1805. The log home predates Oxford Township, the town of Oxford, and Miami University. Located about three hundred yards north of Route 73, it is the sole surviving home from a pioneer community built along Four-Mile Creek.
Imagine setting out to find a new home in a
place you have never visited. A place where no home yet exists and no farmland has
been cleared. This was the journey Zachariah Price DeWitt and his family embarked on in the
Zachariah Price DeWitt was born in 1768 to a large Dutch
family living in New Jersey. As a young
man, Zachariah left New Jersey with his brothers Jacob and Peter to move west. They first settled in Kentucky where
Zachariah met and married Elizabeth Teets in 1790. The family next set their sights on Ohio where
farm land was cheap and plentiful. The three
brothers established homesteads along a stretch of Four Mile Creek in an area now
owned by Miami University. Local lore
says that it was Zachariah DeWitt who suggested the current location of Miami
University to visiting trustees looking for potential sites.
Zachariah and Elizabeth built a two-story residence of hewn logs
on their homestead in 1805. The house had four rooms with ash floors and tulip
poplar and walnut ceilings. Pegs were
used instead of nails for the rafters and the chimney was constructed of rough
stone. The house is one of the oldest log structures in Ohio and
the only surviving home from the original settlement.
The couple raised nine children on the property and made
their living by farming. Zachariah
became a community leader, operated a sawmill, built houses for other settlers,
and served in the War of 1812. He died in 1851, outliving Elizabeth by seven
years. Zachariah and Elizabeth are buried in the Darrtown
The home and grounds are currently maintained by the Oxford
Museum Association and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.