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Fair Play

Fair Play or Fairplay was around the intersection of Sections 15 and 16 in Fairfield Twp. at a western extension of present Nilles and River roads. It was laid out about 1850. It had been the site of mills, a ford and a ferry across the Great Miami River (see Anderson's Ferry). At various times, it was known as Black Bottom, Hart's Block, Alston's Mill, Graham's Mill and Miami Chapel, the latter after a Methodist church was built there about 1843. The origin of the name Fair Play, according to Thomas Stander, who is quoted by Mrs. Esther Benzing in Fairfield, Ohio, is because Stander's great-great grandfather, Stephen Harrison Elkins, a resident, "was a canalboat master and his canalboat was named Fair Play. Further, when Fair Play was laid out . . . his son was Justice of the Peace Reuben Squire Elkins." There is a Fairplay in Colorado, which attributes its name to "an honest citizenship in contrast to reputedly dishonest neighbors in other villages," noted The Illustrated Dictionary of Place Names. The Fairfield riverside area was called Graham's mill for a paper mill operated there sometime between 1815 and 1830 by James Graham. It is believed to have been the first paper mill in Butler County.

It was called Black Bottom for the rich farm land found there. It was called Alston's Mill when Thomas Alston operated a mill there. (See Miami Chapel Cemetery.), River Road, Fairfield, a quarter-acre historical cemetery, is the burial place for a Revolutionary War soldier (Joseph Catterlin), a War of 1812 soldier and four Civil War veterans. The earliest burial is believed to be in 1810, and its latest in 1941. The cemetery is maintained by the Fairfield Parks and Recreation Department.

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