DeWitt Log Home: The oldest remaining structure in Oxford Township

By Emily Scott

Editor’s note: This is the latest in a series of photo essays about interesting and historic buildings around Oxford and on the Miami campus.

The DeWitt Log Home sits on a plot of land off of Oxford Trenton Road and will be open to the public from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Once visitors step through the doors, they will be transported to a time when Oxford looked very different; a time when it was not even called Oxford and Miami University had not yet been established. 

Zachariah Price DeWitt was born in New Jersey in 1768, then traveled to Kentucky with his brother in the 1780s. In 1790, Zachariah married Elizabeth Teets and the couple and their family made their way up to Ohio around 1794. Zachariah and Elizabeth eventually had nine children to help on the farm. 

DeWitt built a sawmill and built houses around Oxford. He was also a hotel owner, a pillar in the local Baptist Church, founded the local Masonic Lodge, helped William Henry Harrison get elected and was the Village of Oxford treasurer when he accepted a captaincy in the War of 1812. 

In the war, Zachariah commanded a company of Butler County riflemen, and marched them to Detroit to assist General Duncan McArthur. 

The log house that Zachariah, Elizabeth and their nine children called home is now the oldest remaining structure in Oxford. It is located at 4830-4868 Oxford Trenton Rd, which Miami University now owns. 

The university leases the home to the Oxford Museum Association (OMA), which took on the restoration of this property in 1973. After years of restoration and problems with funding, the association finally completed the project in 2003, the same year as the celebration of the Ohio bicentennial. 

The home sits next to the Miami Equestrian Center, which is where the DeWitt’s many acres of farmland used to be. A portion of the Oxford Area Trail System runs past the home, and it has gotten many more visitors since that section of the trail was completed. 

OMA owns five other historic properties in Oxford. These include the Black Covered Bridge, the Doty Homestead, the Pioneer Barn, the Doty Settlement Cemetery and the Township House.