Hueston Woods State Park, which is partially in Butler County, bears the name of one of the area's pioneers, Matthew Hueston, who arrived with Gen. Anthony Wayne's army.
Hueston, as a businessman and a farmer, later accumulated land in Butler and Preble counties in Ohio and in Indiana. About 40 years ago, 377 acres of his land in the two counties became the nucleus for a 3,600-acre state park.
He was born May 1, 1771, near Mercersburg in present Franklin County, Pa., then a trading center for Indians and settlers. Later, his parents moved the family to a cabin on the western Virginia frontier, near Wheeling, W. Va.
When Lord Dunmore's War began in 1774, William Hueston sent his wife and children to Taylor's Fort, 12 miles away, for protection.
William Hueston continued to work on his new farm, where he was fatally shot and scalped by Indians, leaving his wife, Elizabeth, with six children to support.
At 15, Matthew Hueston began a four-year apprenticeship with a tanner. April 17, 1793, he headed west on his own, taking a boat load of leather to sell in Cincinnati and Louisville, then frontier towns.
In June 1793, he settled in Cincinnati and worked for about two months at a tannery.
He then joined Robert McClellan and William McClellan, also later connected with Butler County, as packhorse drivers for Gen. Anthony Wayne's army.
In this risky job, he hauled supplies from Fort Washington at Cincinnati through Fort Hamilton to Fort Jefferson (southwest of Greenville). Later, Hueston drove cattle north to Fort Jefferson where he butchered the herd for the army.
Eventually he was promoted to a $30-a-month commissary position in Wayne's army.
In 1795, after Wayne's victory over the Indians and the signing of the Treaty of Greenville, Hueston left the army to become a sutler (traveling merchant) and operated stores in Cincinnati and Greenville.
He also was a cattle drover between Cincinnati and Detroit. The drives — including as many as 350 head — took about 40 days for a round trip. Hueston was usually paid $2.50 a head.
By 1800, Hueston had saved about $1,500, which he decided to invest in land. He began by acquiring 200 wooded acres in Fairfield Township, south of Hamilton.
In 1801, when the federal government began selling land west of the Great Miami River, he bought 2,600 acres in what would become Hanover, St. Clair and Oxford townships.
Hueston was married April 15, 1802, to Catherine Davis, and they settled on his 200 acres in Fairfield Township (near Ohio 4 and Winton Road), where they farmed and operated a tavern and drover's stop.
In 1808, he began a career in public service that extended more than a quarter of a century. That year he became a justice of the peace in Fairfield Township.
Four years later, when the War of 1812 began, Hueston volunteered to return to the army, first as soldier and then as a commissary until the end of the war.
In 1813, he moved his family to a farm on Four Mile Creek in Hanover Township where he also was a justice of the peace (until 1834) and elected a Butler County commissioner from 1826 until 1835.
Meanwhile, other Hueston family members also located here.
His mother. Elizabeth, also lived near Four Mile Creek with her second husband, Thomas Gray. A brother, Thomas Hueston, settled on a farm north of Hamilton near Seven Mile. A sister, Mary, who married Gilbert Marshall, resided near Darrtown.
In 1834 Matthew Hueston, the father of four sons and five daughters, moved to Rossville (now a part of Hamilton) to a new house at the northwest corner of South D and Franklin streets.
He was residing there when he died April 16, 1847, about two weeks before his 77th birthday.