Dr. John Hole

If you’ve driven around the Centerville area, you may have seen the name Dr. John Hole around town.

Dr. John Hole was born in New Jersey in 1755. In his youth, John was adopted by a prominent doctor so that he could be trained and educated in the medical profession. He went to the University of Berlin and returned to the states in 1775, in the midst of the crisis that led to the American Revolution. John was present at the Battle of Bunker Hill, and when George Washington commanded forces at Cambridge. John was eventually reassigned to be the personal physician and surgeon under Brigadier General Richard Montgomery.

In 1778, John Hole married Mercy “Massee” Ludlow. She was the first cousin of one of Dayton’s founders, Israel Ludlow, and she was also a distant relative of Daniel Cooper. John and Massee moved to Losantiville in 1789 – what is now Cincinnati – and John became the first doctor in the area. After a few years there, the Holes decided to move north in 1797, and settled in the Centerville/Washington Township area, along a stream John dubbed “Silver Creek.” John eventually owned 1440 acres on what is now the northwest corner of Mad River Road and Alex-Bell Road (where the windmill house is!) Eventually John’s brothers Daniel, William, and Zachariah came to the area and settled into what became known as Hole’s Station – which later became Miamisburg.

Although he was the area’s only doctor, the medical practice in Ohio was not a successful means to support a family. John was paid with goods, rather than money. John covered a large region of all what would be Montgomery County, and extending to areas south to Hamilton, north to Sidney, east to Xenia, and west to Indiana. He also opened up his home to travelers for food and lodging. In order to survive, the family had large gardens, and hunted the land.

John Hole also ran two sawmills he built on Silver Creek, surveyed roads, and served on the committee to choose a name for the new county. John suggested that they name the county after the Brigadier General he served under during the war – Richard Montgomery. John was also the first person baptized in Silver Crek – which was later named Holes Creek. Holes Creek is a 9-mile stream starting from the Great Miami River near Dryden Road, flowing all the way to Centerville, near McEwen Road.

In 1812, due to failing health, John declined the position of Surgeon of the Army for the war of 1812, and died on January 6th, 1813. Dr. John Hole’s legacy lives on through Holes Creek, and Dr. John Hole Elementary School on Whipp Road in Centerville. Dr. John Hole is buried in Centerville Cemetery, north of downtown Centerville.

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