Township, named for President Jefferson, was organized
in 1806, as will be seen by reference to the chapter on
"Organization of Townships," from territory formerly
included in Iron Ridge Township. Its boundaries as
then defined were: Beginning at the mouth of
Beasley's Fork; thence up Brush Creek to the mouth
of Lick Fork; thence east of the Scioto County line;
thence south along said line to the northeast corner of
Green 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
Surface and Soil.
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
extreme southeastern part of the township, about two
miles east of the Geodetic Station; it is nearly 1,200
feet over sea level. From its summit Portsmouth,
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 burley leaf. Upon the discovery
of this fact, a great influx of population to this
region, from the burley tobacco districts of Brown and
Clermont Counties took place in the period from 1875 to
1885. The "coon-hunter, the ginseng digger, and
the bark peeler," have given place to intelligent and
industrious husbandmen, 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.
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 cabin 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 Road.
Isaac Wamsley, Sr., about this date settled a
little further down the creek in the vicinity of the Old
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 [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 Was. 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 110 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."
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, born 1759, died Dec. 2, 1808;
Andrew Jones, born 1768, died July 19, 1841;
James Cain, born 1739, died Feb. 1, 1836;
John Williams, born in Maryland, 1776, died Feb.
Mary Williams, his wife,
born 1766, died Aug. 12, 1838;
Michael Freeman, born 1765, died April 14, 1835;
Elizabeth Freeman, born 1766, died April 23,
John Wikoff, born 1774, died Dec. 16, 1849;
Katharine Wikoff, born 1779, died Oct. 5,
Hiram Jones, born 1796,
died Oct. 26, 1843;
Malinda Pendil, born 1765, died 1833;
Conrad Cook, born 1774, died June 26, 1833;
Elizabeth Cook, born 1781, died Jan. 30, 1840.
Henry Caraway, born
Greenbrier County, Virginia, 1765, died June 3, 1835;
Margaret Caraway, born 1764, died Oct., 1819;
Samuel Newman, born at Alexandria, Virginia, 1768,
died Feb. 20, 1855;
Nancy Newman, born 1771, died July 21, 184.
M. P., was organized in 1837. It is in the
southwestern portion of township near Lynx postoffice
and is known as "Greenbriar."
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.
"Mohogany," "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
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
"intelligence 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
First M. E. Meeting House in Ohio.
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 stockade 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 number 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 Territory, was
organized. It is stated that Dr. Edward Tiffin,
the first Governor 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
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
The rude log structure erected by the pioneer settlers
for the beautiful 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 Methodist 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 workmanship 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 1800-1880, 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 beautiful
memorial windows bearing the names of the pioneer
ministers who founded Methodism in Ohio there. The
building is surrounded by a burying ground where sleep
many of the pioneers of Scioto Brush Creek valley.
Villages and Postoffices.
a pretty little village on Scioto Brush Creek in the
northeastern part of the township and about one mile
form 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.
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.
is on Cedar Run where old Brush Creek Furnace was
located. The postoffice was established in 1868,
John V. Claxton, first postmaster.
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
hamlet and postoffice, is in the southern part of the
township, named for Hugo Selig, once a merchant
at that point.
No. 1. White Oak - Males 51,
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 22, 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.
No. 11 and 12. Fractional - Controlled by Greene
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.
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.
is a peculiar name for a beautiful
stream. It is said that a party of pioneer
surveyors while in this vicinity resolved to procure
some "Old Monongahela" 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
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 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
A Pioneer Family.
whose name is frequently mentioned in the early history
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.