Nelson Wiley Evans.

A history of Adams County, Ohio, from its earliest settlement to the present time, including character sketches of the prominent persons identified with the first century of the country's growth .. online

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Online LibraryNelson Wiley EvansA history of Adams County, Ohio, from its earliest settlement to the present time, including character sketches of the prominent persons identified with the first century of the country's growth .. → online text (page 54 of 120)
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were built of Yellow ledge near the top of the hill, but all ledges have stood
the test of time.

John Loughry retired from the business of quarrying stone on the lands
in 1856, but his son, John C. Loughry, conducted it from that date until
1861, when the quarrying ceased. He resumed it from 1863 to 1865, when
he got out the stone used for the piers of the suspension bridge at Cincin-
nati, Ohio. In 1865, he sold out to the Caden Brothers, who conducted
the business on an extensive scale till 1873, when Mr. John C. Loughry
bought the tract back. For a long time he sold the stone to John M.
Mueller, at a royalty of three to four cents per cubic foot in the quarry.

The stone business is an extensive one at Buena Vista, and in Lewis

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County, Kentucky, nearly opposite. The village of Buena Vista is de-
voted wholly to the stone trade, and Garrison and Quincy on the opposite
side are also devoted to it.

"The City Ledge" is still unquarried for more than a mile and a half.
In the city of Portsmouth, sixteen miles from Buena Vista, the saw mills
are running constantly, sawing the same quality of stone, but the stone near
Portsmouth is not so excellent as that at Buena Vista for many purposes.
In Portsmouth and Buena Vista many pavements are laid with this
sawed Waverly sandstone. Front steps are made from it, but it is most
extensively used for trimmings and for window caps and sills. This same
stone has been largely used in N^W York, Chicago, and Washington, D.
C. The beauty of the stone, the ease with which it works under the chisel
or the saw, makes it very popular in a wide range of territory, and for
house steps, window caps and sills, cornices, etc., it has no equal. Bridges,
piers, arch culverts and heavy foundations are made of it constantly.

The piers of the suspension bridge and of the L. & N. R. R. bridge
at Cincinnati, of the N. & W. Bridge, at Kenova, West Virginia, and the
culvert and bridge piers on the N. & W. R. R. between Columbus and
Ironton, and on the C. & O. R. R. between Huntington and Cincinnati, are
made of it. Many business blocks in Cincinnati are faced with it, and it
is now largely quarried on the C. P. & V. R. R. and on the C. & O. opposite
the same place. There are sixty ledges of this stone on the tract. Twenty-
two of them are below the "City Ledge" and the lowest of them is two
hundred feet above the level of the bottom land. None of these ledges can
be worked about Portsmouth for there they are below the level of the river.
On this tract they can be worked for a mile on the Ohio River front and on
both sides of Rock Run for two or three miles up that stream the canyon
of that stream affording good dumping ground. But stone is not the only
mineral wealth on this tract. The clays are most valuable. The two
hundred feet of shale extending from the level of the bottom land to the
first ledge contains much oil. Before the discovery of petroleum, it was
distilled for lubricating and illuminating oils. Lying in the "City Ledge'*
is a blue clay which bums to the color of the famous Milwaukee brick, and
just below it, is a stratum which will make the best of sewer pipe. Sixteen
feet above the "City Ledge" is a red clay, which has been used by the
Rockwood Pottery at Cincinnati. Beautiful building brick has been made
from it. This clay is well adapted to art pottery, and for bricks for house
fronts. Several articles of pottery made from this clay were decorated by
Mrs. Bellamy Storer, and took distinguished prizes at the latest Paris Ex-

As a summer resort, this place has many attractions. All the passenger
boats land directly in front of the main residence. The Chesapeake &
Ohio Railroad is directly across the river and persons can get off at either
Garland or Buena Vista Stations. There are chalybeate springs on the
property like the Adams County Mineral Springs, or Esculapia in Ken-
tucky. The canyon of Rock Run is always cool. The scenery around and
below the tract is as fine as any in the Ohio Valley. There is good driving
up and down the river valley, fine fishing in the river and it is an excellent
locality for those fond of rowing.

The property is owned by H. D. Mirick, of No. 1302 N St., N. W.,
Washington, D. C, and controlled by N. W. Evans, of Portsmouth, Ohio.

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Jefferson Township, named for President Jefferson, was organized in
1806, as will be seen by reference to the chapter on "Organization of the
Townships," from territory formerly included in Iron Ridge Township.
Its boundaries as then defined were : Beginning at the moiith of Beasle/s
Fork; thence up Brush Creek to the mouth of Lick Fork; thence east to
the Scioto County line ; thence south along said line to the northeast comer
of Greene Township; thence west along the north line of said township
to the place of beginning.

It is the largest township, both in area and population, in the county.
It contains 50,450 acres of land, and has a voting population of over one
thousand. It is now divided into four voting precincts: Wamsleyville,
Cedar Mills, Lynx, and Churn Creek.

Snrfaoe and Soil.

The township lies in the shale and Waverly sandstone region, and
is rough and hilly, and in places mountainous. Greenbriar Mountain in
the south central part of the township, is one of the high points in the
county. A lonely tree on top of this knob can be seen on a clear day from
the Odd Fellows' Cemetery at West Union, a distance of nearly ten miles.
The highest point in the township is a slate and sandstone knob in the ex-
treme southeastern part of the township, about two miles east of the Geod-
etic Station ; it is nearly 1,200 feet above sea level. From its summit Ports-
mouth, West Union and all the elevated points in the county can be seen.
There are several other knobs almost as lofty as this in the township.
These knobs are capped with sandstone and fringed about with pine, cedar
and chestnut trees.

The soil in the valleys is very fertile, producing bountiful crops of
corn, wheat, oats, clover, timothy and tobacco. This latter has become a
staple crop in Jefferson Township, many of the hillsides on which the
accumulation of decaying vegetation has gathered for centuries, where
sheltered from winds, producing a fine quality of white hurley leaf. Upon
the discovery of this fact, a great influx of population to this region, from
the hurley tobacco districts of Brown and Clermont Counties took place
in the period from 1875 ^o 1885. The "coon-hunter, the ginseng digger,
and the bark peeler,'* have given place to intelligent and industrious hus-
bandmen, whose neat farms and comfortable homes, rank with those in the
more fertile regions of the county. There is not a more picturesque region
nor a happier, more comfortable class of people, in what constitutes real
happiness and comfort, than Blue Creek Valley and its denizens.


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First Settlers.

It is not possible now to learn who was the first white inhabitant of
this region. It was the hunter's paradise — buffaloes, elks, deer, bears, wild
turkeys and other game being found in great abundance. And the streams,
whose waters are so soft, so clear and sparkling, teemed with the finest bass
and pickerel. It was to this region then that the more daring hunters
came and made their abode before the husbandman seeking a farm built
his cabm and cleared away the forests Among the first settlers were
James and Joseph Williams. They came about 1796, and James Williams
erected a cabin on the east side of Ohio Brush Creek near where the Cedar
Mills Pike crosses that stream, or about sixteen rods above the crossing of
the old Cincinnati and Portsmouth Ro?d.

Isaac Wamsley, Sr., about this date settled a little further down the
creek in the vicinity of the Old Forge Dam.

Then Jonathan Waite settled on the Peter Wycoff farm, and Philip
Lewis built a cabin near the mouth of Blue Creek. Among the early settlers
may be mentioned Jesse Edwards, John Newman, Lazalel Swim, David
Newman, John Prather, John Beckman, George Sample, at the mouth of
Soldier's Run and Thomas Lewis.

William Lewis, a son of Philip Lewis, in writing of the early settlers
in Jefferson Township in 1879, said: "My father, Philip Lewis, came to
Jefferson Township in 1797 [the land records show that he was here in
1796], and settled on Blue Creek near where it empties into Scioto Brush
Creek. He built a saw and grist mill the same year. James and Joseph
Williams were here when father came. They had come the year before.
They were squatters, followed hunting and lived in shanties without floors.
Old man Foster, also, was a squatter and settled where Wash. McGinn
now lives. Jesse Edwards, who killed the big bear, came the same year
father did. He was a Revolutionary soldier and lived where David Collings
now does. He died at the age of 1 10 years.

The bear referred to was killed on our place on an ash tree that stood
on the left of the run as you go up it, right opposite where Clark Compton
lives. It weighed something over three hundred pounds."


In the old cemetery at Moore's Chapel, are buried many of the pioneers
of that portion of the township. Few of them have grave stones, and some
of these are so defaced by time as to obscure the names and dates. Hon
John B. Young furnished us the following: Jesse Williams, bom 1759, ^^^^
December 2, 1808; Andrew Jones, born 1768, died July 19, 1841 ; James
Cain, born 1739, ^^^^ Febraury i, 1836; John Williams, born in Maryland,
1776, died February 21, 1854; Mary Williams, his wife, bom 1766, died
August 12, 1838; Michael Freeman, born 1765, died April 14, 1835; Eliza-
beth Freeman, born 1766, died April 23, 185 1 ; John Wikoff, born 1774,
died December 16, 1849; Katharine Wikoff, bom 1779, died October 5,
1852; Hiram Jones, bom 1796, died October 26, 1843; Malinda Pendil,
born 1765, died 1833; Conrad Cook, born 1774, died June 26, 1833;
Elizabeth Cook, born 1781, died January 30, 1840.

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Caraway Cemetery — Henry Caraway, bom Greenbriar County,
Virginia, 1765, died June 3, 1835; Margaret Caraway, born 1764, died
October, 1819; Samuel Newman, born at Alexandria, Virginia, 1768, died
February 20, 1855; Nancy Newman, born 1771, died July 21, 1848.


Liberty Chapel, M. P., was organized in 1837. It is in the south-
western portion of township near Lynx postoffice and is known as "Green-

Cedar Grove, Baptist, organized in 1871, is about one mile north of
Liberty on Greenbriar.

Hill's Chapel, known as "Hell's Kitchen," on Randall's Run, formerly
U. B., not now occupied.

"Mahogany," "Hackworth" Baptist, in western part of the township,
in the Taylor settlement.

Christian Union, Wamsleyville, organized 1870.

M. E. Church, Wamsleyville, organized 1820.

White Oak M. E., organized 1820.

Christian Union, near White Oak Chapel, organized 1865.

Mount Unger, Baptist, organized 1872, near Scioto County line.

Christian Union, Blue Creek, formerly Grange Hall.

Union Grove, near residence of Hon. John B. Young, built as a union
house for religious and literary purposes, in 1880. Occupied by the
Christian Union Church since 1883, but is free to all denominations of "in-
telligence and piety."

Moore's Chapel, on Breedlove Run, near Blue Creek postoffice, was
the first Methodist Episcopal organization in the Northwest Territory and
here was erected the

First M. E. Meetins House in Ohio.

The first Methodist Society organized in the Northwest Territory
was at the humble cabin of Joseph Moore on Scioto Brush Creek in Adams
County. Writers more enthusiastic than accurate have stated that this was
in the year 1793 when Joseph Moore settled on the farm recently owned
by Oliver Jones in Jefferson Township near Blue Creek postoffice. But
this is too early a date. There were no settlements made outside the stock-
ade at Three Islands, or Manchester, previous to 1795 ; and this date is
probably the year that Moore's cabin was erected on Scioto Brush Creek,
although it may have been a year later. But in 1797, there was quite a num-
ber of settlers in the vicinity of Moore's cabin, and it was here, and in this
year that the Pioneer Methodist Society in Ohio, and the Northwest Terri-
tory, was organized. It is stated that Dr. Edward Tiffin, the first Gov-
ernor of the State of Ohio, visited the class at Moore's in the year 1797,
which is altogether probable, as he located in the town of Chillicothe about
the time of its founding in 1796 ; Adamsville near the present site of Rome
on the Ohio, was in 1797 made the seat of justice for Adams. County
which then included what is now Ross County. Moore's was conveniently
near the line of travel from Chillicothe to the place of meeting of the courts
of Adams County. About this time there was a society of Methodists in
the vicinity of Simon Field's which met at Wamsley's on Ohio Brush
Creek, and it is said that Dr. Tiffin frequently preached there, also.

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Rev. Philip Gatch, Rev. Lewis Hunt and Rev. Henry Smith preached
to these societies before the year 1800. Rev. Henry Smith, who organized
the Scioto Circuit in 1799, says that "on the sixth of August, 1800, we
proposed building a meeting house at Scioto Brush Creek, for a private
house would not hold our week-day congregation ; but we met with some
who opposed it. We however succeeded in building a small log house,
large enough for the neighborhood." It was named Salem Chapel, but
afterwards called Moore's Meeting House.

This rude log structure erected by the pioneer settlers for the beauti-
ful Scioto Brush Creek valley was the first Methodist Meeting House in
the State of Ohio. It was begun in the winter of 1800 and completed the
summer following. The first services held in it by the circuit preachers
was the quarterly meetings in August, 1801. There stands upon the old
site today a neat frame building erected through the untiring energy of
Rev. A. D. Singer, who vowed that this spot so dear to every true Meth-
odist should be marked by a comfortable church building in which the
members might gather to worship Him who had guided their forefathers
to this "refuge in the wilderness." The pulpit is a beautiful piece of work-
manship constructed by Rev. Singer from sixteen kinds of native woods.
The front panel is inlaid with dark colored woods so as to form the figures
1 800- 1 880, the dates respectively of the building of the first church and
the dedication of the present structure.

A writer has truthfully said that there should be no more sacred spot
to Ohio Methodists than this, and that there should be erected on the site
of Moore's Meeting House, a handsome stone chapel adorned with beau-
tiful memorial windows bearing the names of the pioneer ministers who
founded Methodism in Ohio there. The building is surrounded by a bury-
ing ground where sleep many of the pioneers of Scioto Brush Creek valley.

Villases and PostolRces.

Wamsi^Eyvili^B, a pretty little village on Scioto Brush Creek in the
northeastern part of the township and about one mile from the Scioto
County line, was laid out in 1874 by William Wamsley of that place. The
postoffice there, named Wamsley, was established in 1869, with William
Wamsley as the first postmaster.

Blue Creek, a little hamlet lying along the valley at the junction of
Blue Creek with Scioto Brush Creek, including the lower valley of Mill
Creek, is a most charming locality. Blue Creek postoffice was established
in 1844 with Isaac N. Wamsley first postmaster. There is a good Hotel
near this place conducted by John W. Lightbody.

Cedar Mili^ is on Cedar Run where old Brush Creek Furnace was
located. The postoffice was established in 1868, John V. Claxton, first post-

Lynx Postoffice, on Greenbriar, was established in 1879 with E. L.
Ellis as postmaster. It is named from the wild animals of that name that
once infested that region.

Seug^ hamlet and postoffice, is in the southern part of the township,
named for Hugo Selig, once a merchant at that point.

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No. I. White Oak — Males 51, females 31.

No. 2. Randall's Run — Males 40, females 36.

No. 3. Red House — Males 49, females 41.

No. 4. Cedar Mills — Males 29, females 36.

No. 5. Fears — Males 23, females 21.

No. 6. Hamilton's — Males 32, females 32.

No. 7. Caraways — Males 17, females 20.

No. 8. Blue Creek — Males 29, females 24.

No. 9. Woodworth's — Males 44, females 40.

No. 10. Wamsley's — Males 28, females 26.

Nos. II and 12. Fractional — Controlled by Greene Township Board.

No. 13. Mill Creek — Males 27, females 33.

No. 14. High Hill — Males 24, females 24.

No. 15. Mt. Unger — Males 47, females 32.

No. 16. Turkey Run — Males 31, females 19.

No. 17. Upper Churn Creek — Males 36, females 45.

No. 18. Shawnee — Males 14, females 21.

No. 19. Johnson's Run — Males 28, females 19.

No. 20. Cassel's Run — Males 48, females 27.

No. 21. Star — Males 32, females 24.

No. 22. Sunshine — Males 24, females 25.

No. 23. Winterstein's Run — Males 20, females 17.


An. Old Meado'w.

On the home farm of the late Newton Moore on Ohio Brush Creek,
between the house and the creek, is a field of several acres which has been
in meadow continuously for ninety-six years, having never been plowed but
once, at the time of clearing, and which yields annually from two to three
tons of timothy to the acre.

Churn Creek

is a peculiar name for a beautiful stream. It is said that a party of pio-
neer surveyors while in this vicinity resolved to procure some "Old Monon-
gahela" from Graham's Station across the Ohio in Kentucky, and sent
one, Armstrong, to fetch it. He made his way to the Station and secured
the "old double distilled,*' but had no vessel to carry it in. Finally, a
cedar churn was procured and in it the refreshment was put and carried
back to the camp in the wilds of Iron Ridge. From this circumstance it
is said the stream was immediately named Churn Creek.

A Marvelous Incident.

In July, 1817, there was a "cloud burst" in the region of Churn Creek,
and the waters of that stream, it is said, rose to a height of twenty feet,
destroying crops, and otherwise doing great damage along that stream.
Scioto Brush Creek suddenly rose from the flood in Churn Creek and
vicinity, and soon overflowed its banks. Lazaleer Swim, grandfather of
Samuel B. Wamsley, was then living on the farm recently owned by the

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latter on Scioto Brush Creek. Seeing an approaching storm, he sent his
two little boys to pen the sheep in a building in the bottom below the house.
It was in the evening and growing quite dark. Suddenly the waters burst
in a swift current between the house and the pen in which the children
were securing the sheep, and the horrified father saw they could not be
rescued. He called to them to climb on top of the sheep pen, which they
did, taking up a favorite dog with them. The flood continued to rise, and
soon swept the pen with the boys and dog on its roof down the creek where
it lodged in a drift of rails and logs against some large sycamore trees near
where Wamsleyville is now situated. Here the children remained until
the waters began to subside, when they were rescued, almost dead from
fright and exposure, by their parents and the neighbors who had been
aroused by the frantic cries for help and the pitiful howling of the dog.

A Pioneer Family.

Hosea Moore, whose name is frequently mentioned in the early his-
tory of Adams County, had a sister, Ruhama Moore, the wife of James
Kendall, of Winchester Township, who was the mother of twenty-four
children, eighteen of whom were yet living in 1879.


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Liberty Township was organized December 6, 1817, from territory
taken from the north end of Sprigg Township. Under the territorial
organization what is now Liberty was included mostly in Manchester
Township, the western portion however was within the limits of Cedar Hill.
The first election in Liberty Township was held at the house of David
Robe in April, 1818.

Earlj Settlers.

It is said that Governor Thomas Kirker was the first settler, but it
is more accurate to say he was among the first of the pioneers of this re-
gion. His cabin was erected on Zane's Trace on what is 'known as the
old Kirker farm in the southeastern part of the township. James Jan-
uary came as early as 1796 and one year later opened a tavern on the Trace
at the foot of the hill west of West Union on the Swearengen farm. About
this date also came Needham Perry, Alexander Meharry, Richard Askren,
John Mahaffey, Rev. Thomas Odell, David Robe, George Dillinger, Bez-
ebel Gordon, Col. John Lodwick, Daniel Marlatt, James Wade and Joseph
Wade. And later, James McGovney, John Stivers^Conrad Foster, and
Lewis Coryell. These were mostly Revolutionary soldiers from Virginia,
and to perpetuate among their descendants the memory of the cause for
which they had struggled, the name Liberty was given to this township
when formed. Land warrant number one issued to Richard Askren, was
laid in this township.

As indicative of the frugality and integrity of the citizens of Liberty
Township, a chronicler of local history in the year 1880 noted the fact that
there had never been an assignment made by any of its citizens.

Surface and SolL

The surface is rolling and in localities bordering the streams somewhat
hilly. Bald Hill and Cave Hill, in the northeastern part of the township,
are remarkable elevations, the first about 650 and the second over 700 feet
above low water at Cincinnati. They have the same geological position
as the elevations on which West Union stands and are "outliers" of the
cliff limestone. Cave Hill is one hundred feet higher than West Union,
and was one of the stations in the United States Geodetic Survey. The
western portion of the township is in the Cincinnati or blue limestone
belt and the soil is generally fertile, producing good crops of com, to-
bacco, wheat, oats and clover. The surface is furrowed by numerous
streams, tributaries of Eagle Creek, the largest of which is East Fork
which receives the waters of Hill's and Kyte*s Forks in this township.


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LIBERTY township;


VillacMi and Postofices.

Fairvi^w, near the Brown County line on the old Cincinnati turn-
pike, was laid out by William Mahaffey, March 15, 1844, on a plot of nine
lots. Benjamin Whiteman kept a store there previous to that time, and
a postoffice named Hill's Fork had been established with Robert Patton as
first postmaster. The village contains one store, one church, a black-
smith shop and a few residences.

Maddox Postoffice, established in 1890, is in the southwestern part
of the township.


The first church in the township was a log structure erected by the
Christian Association or "New Lights" near the old Kirker Cemetery in
1800; but the Associate Reformed Presbyterian congregation held meet-
ings at the house of James January as early as 1797. See history of U.
P. Church under Wayne Township.

Briar Ridge M. E. Church. This is one of the pioneer churches
of the township and county. A log house was erected there in 1804, and
afterwards a small brick, which was replaced by the present frame build-
ing. Near here on the creek, Rev. Odell and Rev. Robert Dobbins
founded the first Methodist class in, this part of Adams County. Peter
Cartright, afterwards a celebrated Methodist divine, used to preach at
Odell's in this locality.

Christian Union Church. About 1868 a division in the M. E.
Church at Briar Ridge took place over questions of politics growing out
of the Civil War, and many members joined the new Christian Union
Association, and about 1873 erected a comfortable frame church house near
the site of the Methodist edifice.

German M. E.' Church. Some years before the Civil War, a small
colony of German families settled in the vicinity of Hill's Fork. In 1853
they built a house of worship at Fairview where services have been held,
with slight interruptions, to the present time, but not as formerly in the
German tongue.

Liberty Chapel, M. E. This church is on the North Liberty and
Manchester pike at the crossing of the old Cincinnati road. It is a frame

Online LibraryNelson Wiley EvansA history of Adams County, Ohio, from its earliest settlement to the present time, including character sketches of the prominent persons identified with the first century of the country's growth .. → online text (page 54 of 120)