Clifton, a small village settled over 200 years ago, straddles the line between Clark County and Greene County in Ohio. It sits quietly at the head of spectacular Clifton Gorge on the Little Miami River. There is no hustle or bustle in Clifton, it is a peaceful place full of images of days long gone. The tallest structure in town is historic Clifton Mill. Many of Clifton's original buildings remain, giving visitors a first-hand look at a real pioneer village. The Clifton Historical Society actively promotes and preserves the town's history with its programs, projects, tours and History Room in the old school house.
Very Brief History of Clifton
In 1787 the United States government opened up the Ohio Country for settlement. A portion of these lands were set aside to be used in lieu of payment to veterans of the American Revolution. Many of the Clifton’s first settlers were soldiers and their families who came here to settle on the land they were granted. Others came for the good prices and fair terms being offered by land speculators. Though not the first settler in the area, Owen Davis is considered to be the founding father of Clifton. The area was inhabited mostly by farmers until 1802 when Davis and his son-in-law, Benjamin Whiteman, came here. Davis was a miller and veteran of the American Revolution who, along with Whiteman, had originally settled on a government land grant at Alpha, Ohio. Davis and Whiteman set about at once to build the three things they knew were necessary to a successful settlement; a sawmill, a grist mill and a distillery. The rushing waters of the Little Miami River were perfect for the milling industry, the rich soil was excellent for farming and the woods abounded with game. This settlement became known as Davis Mills. Davis sold his mills to Col. Robert Patterson who called the village Cliff Town, later shortened to Clifton.