Of this early pioneer, who was the companion of David Lowry, in the first known settlement in this county, but little can be learned now. He was born in Lycoming County, Penn., and came "West" in 1795, during the spring of which year he met Mr. Lowry at or near Cincinnati, and united his interests with those of his new-formed acquaintance, as is stated elsewhere in this work, which resulted in his selection of a portion of Section 33, Town 4, range 9 (now in Bethel Township), as his future home. In 1797, Mr. Donnel returned to Pennsylvania and brought out his brother James, who was then but eight years old, this brother grew to manhood under the guardianship of Jonathan Donnel, who was an active business man, and an accomplished surveyor.
He had a family of five children, viz., John, who died in Oregon; Jonathan, Jr., now living in Iowa; Elizabeth, who married Gen. John Keifer; Rachel, who married George Layton; Lucinda, who married and removed to Michigan. Mr. Donnel was engaged in furnishing supplies to the Western army during the "war of 1812," and, through the sudden ending of the war, or some other unknown cause, he lost quite an amount of property; this combined with ill health brought on by exposure, resulted in a temporary fit of insanity, during which he committed suicide by hanging.
This event transpired in the spring-house, on what is known as the farm of A. Holcomb, near the limekilns at the extreme western part of Springfield Township. The date of this sad act has not been learned, but is generally conceded to have occurred just after the close of the war of 1812, probably in the year 1815 or 1816.
The cause of his death has also been attributed to family troubles, but the best opinions of by far the greater number of old citizens, are that the latter reason is only an unkind rumor, without good foundation. He was buried in the graveyard at "New Boston," and his remains are among those of many other of the early pioneers, whose resting-places are unmarked and unknown in that neglected inclosure of thorns and brambles. (See the article "Boston.")
Donnel's Creek was named in honor of the subject of this sketch, while the village of Donnelsville is supposed to have been so named also, yet the public records show that the town was surveyed by James Donnel and Abraham Smith in August, 1836, and it may be that it was named on account of the latter Donnel.
From History of Clark County, Ohio, W.H. Beers & Co. 1881. Page 343
Battle of Piqua
Early Clark County
George Rogers Clark
Education in Clark County
Indians in Clark County
The National Road
Springfield in 1852
Springfield in 1863
SHS 1951 Yearbook
Then & Now