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OHIO GENEALOGY EXPRESS

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ADAMS COUNTY, OHIO
HISTORY & GENEALOGY
 


 


Source:
Caldwell's Illustrated Historical Atlas
of
Adams County, Ohio

Publ. 1880

CHAPTER XI

JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP.
p. 20 - 21

     At the reorganization of the townships of the county, in 1803, Jefferson was formed, with the following boundary lines, to-wit:
     Beginning at the mouth of Beasley'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 N. E. corner of Green township; thence west along the north line of said township, to the place of beginning.  It was called Jefferson, in honor of Thomas Jefferson, then President of the United States.  The elections were ordered to be held at the house of Phillip Lewis.
     The township at this time contained 78.5 square miles, by actual survey, and 50,450 acres of land.  It is the largest township in the county.

SURFACE.

     This is the most mountainous portion of Adams county.  It is a succession of hills, whose tops reach almost to the clouds.  The distinctive appellation of mountain, is applied to many of them, as "Green Briar Mountain," "Peach Mountain," etc.
     Between these huge hills run pretty streams of pure, clear water, with beautiful valleys along their courses, covered with nice little farms, and tasty houses, presenting the appearance of a happy people, enjoying the comforts of peaceful quiet homes, undisturbed by the busy scenes, turmoils and strifes of the outside world.

SOIL AND PRODUCTIONS.

     The soil is of more than average fertility, producing good crops of wheat, corn, oats, potatoes and tobacco.  The valleys are more cultivated in grain, because their level surface renders greater facilities for the farmer to plow and tend his crops, while the hillsides produce tobacco as well, and don't need as much stirring of soil, as corn and many other crops do.  Hillsides that are too steep for the plow, can, on account of the mellowness of the soil, be easily cultivated in tobacco, with the use of the hoe alone, making heavy crops of that article.
     Cattle, hogs and sheep are raised in considerable numbers.
     Newton Moore has on his farm near Brush creek, a six acres field in meadow, that was sown with timothy in 1800, without plowing the ground.  This field has, without intermission, or plowing, remained in grass ever since, yielding good crops of hay for eighty years.
     This was originally the best timbered township in the county, its whole area, hills and valleys, being covered with a heavy growth of valuable timber, from which the inhabitants have derived no inconsiderable amount of their revenue, by the sale of immense quantities of cooper stuff; lumber and tanbark, gathered from it.  The materials are gathered and hauled to the river, and shipped to Cincinnati, and perhaps other points.
     There was a large poplar tree on the farm of Finley Wamsley, Esq., that stood so near the Wamsleyville bridge, that fears were entertained that it might sometime fall and crush it.  It was cut down, and when measured, the stump was found to be ten feet in diameter.  When chopped into eighteen inch stove wood, it made thirty-eight cords, which would be equal to thirteen cords of wood of one hundred and twenty-eight solid feet to the cord.

CREEKS.

     The largest stream that passes through this township is Scioto Brush Creek, which rises some six miles from the Ohio river, runs northwardly to near the center; thence eastwardly and empties into the Scioto river.
     There are numerous other streams that wind their way through the township - for a more particular description of which the reader is referred to the map, which accompanies this work.

PETROLEUM OIL

     It said to exist in several localities, but perhaps not in quantities that would pay for sinking wells.

EARLY SETTLERS.

     The first man who settled in the township, was James Williams, who came about 1792, and built his house on the east bank of Ohio Brush Creek, about sixteen rods above where the old state road from Cincinnati to Portsmouth, now crosses this stream.  This house stood opposite the present dwelling of Mrs. George Bayloess.  It is said that the same day that Mr. Williams moved into his cabin he went out with his gun to kill something for supper, and before he returned he had killed three bears.
     The first children born in Jefferson were John Waite a son of Jonathan Wiate, and Archy Burkett, nephew of Judge Joseph jMoore now of Scioto county.  Among the early settlers were Jonathan Waite, who settled a farm now owned by Peter Prather and John Beckman.

EARLY RECOLLECTIONS,
By _. _. Puxtenney

     In July 1817, a remarkable freshet occurred in Scioto Brush Creek, that did an immense amount of damage.  It seems to have had its origin on Churn Creek, the waters of which, it is said rose twenty feet.  The corn was about eighteen inches to two feet high.  The bottom lands, as well as the loose plowed fields, were literally swept away, leaving nothing but a naked hard pan.

AN INCIDENT,

     Occurred that is almost marvelous.  A man named Swim, was living near the creek, on the farm now owned by S. B. Wamsley who, when he saw the water rising, sent his two little sons to pen the sheep, fearing they would be surrounded by water.  While the boys were fastening the sheep in, Swim discovered the waters had broken over the bank above, and were coming in a stream too large to be crossed, between the children and the house.  He called to his boys, to let the sheep out, and climb on the pen, which they did, pulling a favorite dog up with them.  Soon the father saw with inexpressible horror and dismay, the building, with his children on it, floating away with the irresistible force of the waters.  It was in the dusk of the evening, and the approaching darkness soon shut from the father's sight, his children, who were floating on their frail bark over the angry waters, with the probability that he would never see them again, but,

"God, who moves in a mysterious way,
     His wonders to perform,
He plants his footsteps in the sea
     And rides upon the storm,"

had ordered it otherwise.  They were borne upon the current over a smooth meadow, and in a short bend in the creek, were drifted in among some large sycamore trees that stood a little S. W. of where Wamsleyville is now situated.  Here their house stuck fast, and was soon wedged in by same sixty cords of rails, that had been swept off the farms along Churn Creek above.  Here, through all the gloomy, lonely night, with the doleful howling of the wolves in the forests around them, sat these two children, with their faithful dog beside them, watching and wishing for the morning to appear.  The father, who had spent a sleepless night of agony, in Fruitless efforts to find what fate had befallen his little boys, was met at the early dawn of the morning by the faithful dog, which by every sign he could make for his master to follow, led the way back to the place where he had spent the night.  On his way he met the children returning weary, cold and hungry.

CHURN CREEK - ORIGIN OF ITS NAME.

     This creek rises in the southern interior part of Jefferson, running in a northwesterly direction, empties into Blue Creek about half a mile above its junction with Brush Creek.  In 1807, a party of surveyors working along this stream, became thirsty, clubbed together, raised three dollars, and employed a man named Armstrong, who lived near by, to go to Graham's Station, across the river in Ky., and buy them three gallons of whisky.  This Armstrong, on account of the plentiful game in that neighborhood, had located himself on the farm now belonging to John Young, Esq.  He was ready for anything that might turn up, and willingly took the money, and with his gun on his shoulder, was soon on his road to Graham's Station.  On his way he killed a deer, which he skinned, and carried the hide and hind quarters with him to the Station.  Upon purchasing the whisky, he discovered he had taken nothing with him to carry it back.  He could procure no jug or vessel for the purpose, but, "where there is a will there is a way," so he exchanged his deer skin and hams for a cedar churn, in which he put his liquor, and in that manner worked his way back to the surveying party, who were rejoiced to see him return, and with the thought of the "jolly good time" they would have.  The first thing they did upon the arrival of Armstrong and his churn of whisky, was to name the stream upon which they were surveying, "Churn Creek," a name it retains to the present day.  The next thing they did was to proceed to the spring near by and take a good drink.  One of the party took a draught of water from a tin cup, which he then handed to another, while the third man knelt down, to drink from the spring in that way.  Just as he was rising up, he was bitten in the forehead by a rattle snake that lay coiled up in the weeds on the bank above.  The rest of the party decided, as he was bitten about the heart, he would died within an hour.  With death so near at hand, the bitten man thought he had better spend that hour in prayer - so he retired a short distance and knelt down in prayer.  After the rest of the party had all drank round, one of them went to the man who was thus earnestly engaged in devotional exercises, and insisted on his taking another drank, as he thought it would assist him to die easier.  The man of prayer did as he was advised.  He thought if two drinks would make him die easier, more would be still better, so he kept on till he got on a bender, and didn't die at all.  Thus it was first discovered that whisky would cure the bite of a snake.
     The township contains one village, eight stores, four water mills, (three of them for grinding) six steam mills, (three of them flouring mills) two planing mills, two bucking machines, eight cooper shops, four post offices, to-wit: Blue Creek, Cedar Mills, Wamsley and Lynx; ten churches, as follows:  one German Presbyterian, two Methodist Episcopal, two Methodist Protestant, two Christian Union; thirteen sub-district school houses, three fractional districts.

VILLAGES.

     There is but one village in this township.  It was laid out January 15, 1874, in nineteen in-lots and one out-lot, by William Wamsley, and called after the proprietor.

     WAMBLEYVILLE - This little village is situat4ed on the southern banks of Scioto Brush Creek, about one mile west of the Scioto county line.  It looks bright and new, and contains three stores, one millinery shop, one shoe shop, one wagon maker, two blacksmith shops, one drug store, one physician, one Odd Fellows Hall, one town hall, one Christian church, and post office.

POST OFFICE.

     CEDAR MILLS - This office was established August 5, 1868, with J. V. Cluxton as Postmaster, who still retains it.
     It received the name from the "Cedar Mills," at that place, while the mills received their name from the creek on which they are located, the creek taking its name from the number of cedar trees that line its banks.

     BLUE CREEK - This office was established in 1844, and so named from the creek of that name, near where it is located .  Isaac N. Williams was its first postmaster.

     WAMSLEY - This office, so called in honor of the Wamsley family, who are leading citizens of this community, was established January 18, 1869, with William Wamsley as its first Postmaster.  Since that time the following persons have held the office:  Dr. G. D. McCormick, George Wamsley, William Finley Wamsley, present incumbent.

     LYNX - This office, located on what is known as Green Briar Mountain, was established May 14, 1879, with E. L. Ellis as first Postmaster.

     There was some difficulty in finding a name for it, when thinking of the wild animals that have inhabited the wilds of the hills, the name of Lynx occurred to mind, was proposed to the Department of Washington, and adopted.

CEDAR MILLS.

     Though this is not a village, it has been a noted business place from the earliest years to the present time.  It was the location of the old Brush creek Furnace, that was built there in 1811, by Paul & McNichol, of Pittsburgh, who were afterward succeeded by Summers & Stewart.
    
This furnace was carried on until 1839-40', when it ceased operations, and has now disappeared. 
     Although it was situated on Cedar Run, about two miles above where it empties into Brush creek, yet it was always called "Brush creek furnace" - why, is not known.
     During the existence of the furnace, the company always kept a store there, which ceased when it stopped.
     The furnace company, at an early day, owned a mill that was located at the Cedar Run falls, about one and a fourth miles above the furnace.  This was a log building and was run till it was worn out, when they built a new one near the furnace, but about the time it was completed, it burnt down, and the machinery of the old mill at the falls, was brought and put in the shed of the blast house, where it was used to grind corn until 1842.  In that year William K. Stewart and John Fisher commenced building the present mill, which commenced operations in 1844.
     In 1849, Donald Thompson bought the interest of Mr. Fisher, and in 1866 became sale proprietor by the purchase of Mr. Stewart's interest, since which time he has run it alone.
     There is a store in the place, commenced by J. V. Cluxton, in 1868 and which he has since carried on.  There is a blacksmith shop, a doctor, a post office and five or six houses.

REMINISCENCES.

     The first school house was built just above Newton Moore's and John Ellrod taught the first school.
     Ruhama Moore, a sister of Hosea Moore, married Js. Kendall, of this township.  They afterwards removed to Winchester township, where they lived and died.  This lady was the mother of 24 children, 18 of whom are yet living, several of them in Winchester township, this county.
     The first mill on Ohio Brush creek was built by Thomas Lewis and George Sample, just below the Satterfield bridge, in 1807 or '08.  It has long since disappeared.

EARLY RECOLLECTIONS
By William Lewis

     My father, Philip Lewis, came to Jefferson township in 1797, and settled on Blue Creek, near where it empties into Sciota Brush Creek.
     He built the 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 about fourteen feet square, and without floors.  Old man Foster was also a squatter, who had settled where Wash. McGinn, now lives, Jesse Edwards, who killed the big bear, came the same year that father did.  He was a Revolutionary soldier, and lived where David Collings now does.  He died at the age of one hundred and ten years.  That bear was killed on an ash tree, above our place, right across the run, on the left hand, as you go up, just opposite the house where Clark Compton lived up the run.  It weighed something over three hundred and eighty pounds.  Mr. Edwards divided it with my father.  There was nothing to subsist on in those days but wild meat.  Salt was brought here and sold by measure at $4 per bushel, and paid for in bear bacon, at what they called an eleven penny bit per pound.
     These Williams' peddled salt which they bought at the Scioto Salt Licks for $2 a bushel, then carried it on horses to the three islands, (Manchester) and sold it for $4 a bushel, taking their pay in bear bacon.
     The mill father built was washed away by high waters June 16, 1814; he rebuilt it the next year.  Father died in 1835, aged eighty-six years.  The mill was burnt in 1849, and John Brooks commenced rebuilding the same year, but did not get it completed till the next year.
     After father's death John Brooks became the owner.  This was about 1837.  It was burnt down in 1819, but Mr. Brooks rebuilt it, putting up a good frame building.  He run the mill until he died in 1873.  John Rupert soon afterwards became the owner, and continues the milling business to the present time - 1880.

CHURCHES

     MOORES' CHAPEL. - This is believed to be the first Methodist meeting house ever built in Ohio, or west of the Allegheny mountains.
     A settlement was made near Manker's mills, about 1797-98.  In 1799 Joseph Moore, who was a Methodist Minister, settled on the farm that is now owned by Oliver Jones and Weller Caraway.  When he came, he found r. Waite, James and Joseph Williams, two brothers already here.  There came about the same time that Mr. Moore did, Peter Wikoff, John Newman, David Newman, Jesse Edwards, John Prather, John Beckman and a few others.  The first Methodist society was organized at Moore's house, in 1799.  Mr. Moore probably preached the first sermon in this settlement.
     On August 6, 1800, the neighbors met and resolved to build a meeting house, which was done the same fall.  It stood on Breedlove's Run, one-fourth of a mile from Scioto Brush Creek, at the present grave yard.  The society was mostly made up of the families just mentioned.  The house was made of hewed logs - not large, but sufficient for the congregations that assembled.  The house having been used as log as it was fit for such purpose, the congregation dissolved, and organized another church.  An effort is making to reorganize and build a new house.

     MOUNT UNGER BAPTIST CHURCH - This church is situated in the southeasterly portion of the township, not far from the Scioto county line.
     The first Baptist preaching in the neighborhood, was by the Rev. William Eller.  In the spring of 1872, Rev. G. W. Thompson, missionary from the Strait Creek Association commenced preaching in the neighborhood, and on July 27th of that year, a church was constituted with 31 members, and received by the recognition council, with the Rev. G. W. Thompson as pastor, Joel B. Compton, deacon; John N. Compton, clerk; Samuel Unger, S. S. Brown and Samuel Redman trustees.  Mr. Thompson served as pastor two years, in which time the church had increased to 63 members.  He was succeeded by Rev. G. A. McMannis, for one year.  After the expiration of that time, the church was without a pastor until November, 1878, when Rev. S. G. Lindsey was employed by the Association to preach for the congregation.
     When Mr. Lindsey came, he found the church in a very disorganized condition.  In May, 1879, it was reorganized with six members.  Since Elder Lindsey has had charge of it, thirty-five members have been added.
     S. Unger, C. Irvine and A. Carter, are the present trustees.

     WHITE OAK CHAPEL, M. E. CHURCH. - This church is located in the Northwestern portion of the township in District No. 1.  It was organized about 1815.
     The first name on the list of members was Joseph Freeman who had been a member of Moore's Chapel.  Mr. Freeman opened his house for regular preaching and in 1841, donated a lot of land on which to build a meeting house, but before it was completed, he died and was the first person buried in the cemetery there, that now contains sixty-three graves.
     The church was completed and dedicated in 1865, by Rev. Alexander Maharry.
    
This building is made entirely of white oak logs.  In 1878 it was weather boarded, re-roofed, ceiled inside and painted, and is now a comfortable house.

     CHRISTIAN UNION. - This church, situated within a few rods of White Oak Chapel, was organized in 1865.  They have a very good frame meeting house.

     M. E. CHURCH, WAMSLEYVILLE - This church is situated near the village of Wamsleyville. It is an old church.  When Moore's Chapel, near Manker's Mills, was dissolved, that portion of the members living in the Wamsleyville neighborhood united together and organized this society.  At what date this occurred is not known, but, it is probable, it was some where from 1815 to 1820.
     They built a log meeting house which was used until about 1859, when they built a new frame church, which is their present place of worship.

     CHRISTIAN UNION CHURCH, WAMSLEYVILLE - The asperities growing out of the war, caused divisions in churches, as well as in families and communities.  This church had its origin in those antagonistic principles.  A considerable number of the members of hte old Methodist church withdrew and organized a separate church, with the above name.  some six or eight years ago they built a neat frame meeting house.  The church appears to be in a prosperous condition.  It is to be hoped, however, that the causes that produced these estrangements, being removed, the wounded feelings of the brethren will be healed and the old church again united, with renewed efforts for the advancement of a common cause.

     GERMAN LUTHERAN CHURCH - This church is located in the eastern part of the township, near the Hamilton school house.  No history or statistics furnished.

     LIBERTY CHAPEL, METHODIST PROTESTANT - This organization dates back to about 1830.  Our efforts to obtain information in regard to its history, were unsuccessful - nothing reliable could be gathered.  It is situated on Green Briar Mountain near Lynx post office.

     HILL'S CHAPEL - This was a log meeting house built a few years ago about a mile and a half east of Liberty Chapel, and a church organized, that never prospered.  A new organization, sometimes known as United Baptists, has recently came into existence, in the neighborhood, that now occupies the house.

     CHRISTIAN CHURCH, MANKER'S MILLS -  This church costing $1138, was built in 1871, by S. D. Newman at his own expense.  It is a good frame building 40 x 50.
     Andrew J. Wood was the first preacher.

     M. P. CHURCH - This is a new organization.  A neat frame house was built in 1879, about a mile south of hte Hamilton school house.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

JOHN PILE

JAMES WAMSLEY

 

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