Historian: W.H. JOSTWORTH

The development of Turpin Hills (TH) began in the spring of 1956. A sign appeared on the site announcing lots “for sale” and the current name. At that time, TH was just a steep and heavily wooded hillside. The only entrance into the planned development was a rutted-gravel-farm road off Clough Pike. It traversed parallel to the right side of the present road, then cut diagonally left crossing the road several hundred feet above Lengel. After it dissected lots at 6036 and 6050 addresses, the old road continued up the left hand side to where a house and barn stood on a 300-acre farm. This site is now the intersection of TH and Saddleback Drives. Parts of the roadbed are still visible on some lots. The farm road circumvented the land around Lengel because it was a quagmire of small ponds.

Clough Pike was surveyed in 1805 and it is alleged to be the oldest road in Anderson Township. The original theme for the development was “Save the Trees,” and everyone held to that concept. All early lot purchasers were eager to comply, for in that era most developers denuded large tracts to expedite home construction.

Each proposed home had to be drawn by a registered architect, and then subjected to the developers approval before construction could begin, i.e., design, elevation levels and position on the lot. Those who refused to conform were denied the opportunity to build.

The initial lots were generally purchased from a plat plan which was displayed weekends on the hood of an automobile, serving as an “on site” sales office. Dense woods and heavy underbrush obscured many lot line stakes. Snakes, field mice, poison ivy, sumac, and Virginia creeper were in proliferation.

As lots sold, a deep cut into the hill began to emerge. Turpin Hills Drive has the maximum allowable degree of slope, which is readily acknowledged on snowy days. Early individual purchaser generally selected a lot In the section above the then proposed Lengel Road for reasons previously mentioned. Home construction rapidly advanced up the hill, but Turpin Hills Drive abruptly stopped at a blacktop turnaround at 6144 and 6145 lots. Parts of it can still be seen, mostly on the east side. A Nursery/Flower bed now covers the other side. The development at that stage rested for a moderate period of time.

The original triumvirate of developers offered landowners the opportunity to have their property listed as registered land at the Hamilton County Courthouse for a $5.00 fee. The fee provided a certificate of land-title guaranteed by the State of Ohio. It further offered historical interest and provided the greatest form of land-title protection. From a historical point of view, Anderson Township, of which TH is an integral part, is different from the rest of Hamilton County, because it is within the Virginia Military Reservation. This land was set aside to compensate soldiers of the American Revolutionary War for their services in the war. These soldiers were residents of the commonwealth of Virginia, John Adams, second President of the United States, arranged for the land allocations during his administration. Few Virginia soldiers ever took possession of the land to which they were entitled in the Ohio Reservation. Titles were transferred to heirs, or their agents, or sold outright. It is alleged that no Virginia soldier settled on their warranted land in Anderson Township.

Mr. R. Turpin Fischer of Turpin Farms, a direct descendent of the Philip Turpin family of Virginia, revealed that Philip purchased Lieutenant Crittenden’s warrant for 100 pounds of sterling in 1785. Warrants were given by service rank and theirs was the eighth warrant surveyed. The first developers of TH negotiated for the land with Turpin and Fischer families.

Several Indian cultures roamed these hills from 500 A.D. to 1650 A.D. (mostly mound builders). Their village sites were located on the second terrace of the Miami River plain near the junction of Clough Pike and S.R. 32. In the east, many burial graves and artifacts were unearthed. Sometime around 1650 the last village was abandoned for unknown reasons.

After the initial growth phase, Lengel Road and Crittenden Drive were then created. Next came the Saddleback Drive section. Its Eastern border contained large fields of big, juicy, wild blackberries. These were gustatorial delights for the children and their families. Chiggers reduced some of the pleasures during the picking.

During the 60’s the area rapidly grew East and West and then in the 1970’s and beyond, it expanded on the periphery of the growing development. Currently, over 500 families are listed in the TH directory.

Prior to, and during the time TH was in its infancy stage, Clough Creek had excellent swimming spots and fish were present.

Early observations of the area uncovered few large oak, and hard maple trees. The reasons were: a major storm in 1915 blew through these hilltops uprooting most of the oaks plus the hard maple trees had been felled in the early decades of this century to make charcoal for fuel and many other sundry purposes. A fresh-water spring to the West of the existing entrance generously flowed from the Pike’s hillside.

During the great Ohio River flood in ’37 many Cincinnati residents queued up for miles to fill water containers at the spring. It continued to flow for several years after the development started, but water is no longer visible on the Pike. However, the concrete supports which held the metal trough still remain at the site.

Many stories circulate that with the readily available charcoal, spring water, and nearby farm products, clandestine “moonshine” distillers had many pickup points scattered throughout the woods during the prohibition period All of these alleged accounts cannot be validated, but there are some very interesting stories told by local old-timers.

At the outset, small streams meandered lazily within the area and it was a place where children once captured salamanders, frogs, toads and harmless snakes that scrambled amongst the wet rocks and pretty little waterfalls “Tarzan” vines hung from trees and were used as wings to cross over the streams and valleys. In isolated spots. Some of these things still exist. The early TH homeowners feel we’ve had the best of time, good neighbors, quality environment, easy access to downtown, and isolated from traffic noises. Over the years it was delightful to witness the community grow into a beautiful and safe residential area. With the construction of a non-profit swim/tennis club and the formation of an active civic club in the expanding years, TH is now one of Anderson’s most livable garden spots.

2 thoughts on “Turpin Hills History

  1. My father was a Turpin and lived in north Georgia. He always spoke of family coming from “the hills”, however we have never had any confirmation on this. His name : George Lester Turpin born in 1913, his father was Wesley Turpin, and his father was Jack Turpin. I would like to know more about the Turpins that lived in Turpin Hills


    1. Hi Kathryn, if you visit our website at http://www.turpinhills.org there is a section titled Turpin Hills History. Our website is outdated, but the history page remains the same. It speaks mostly about how our neighborhood was started, but there is mention of the Turpin family. Hopefully that helps.


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