is situated in the geological formation belonging to the
carboniferous age. It contains thirty-eight full sections of
land and is the largest township in the county. The land is
very rough, but, for the most part, fertile, and it is cultivated by
a thrifty and industrious class of people. The central part is
settled largely by a class of Germans who are noted for their skill
in farming. The timber is of fine quality, but growing scarce.
Sandstone rock abounds along the streams, and immense quantities of
limestone and iron ore is found in the hills, but yet undeveloped,
excepting in the quarrying of stone to a limited extent. Veins
five to seven feet thick, of the best hard coal in the State,
(according to the report of the State Geologist,) are found,
underlying thousands of acres. It is being quite extensively
worked in the southwest part of the township, in the vicinity of
Waterloo, Lawrence county. A new railroad is surveyed and soon
to be built, from Portsmouth to Gallipolis, through this rich coal
country, which will probably be extended from Cincinnati to
Pittsburg. In 1880, the township had a population of 1,892.
The first actual settler in the township was Henry
McDaniel, who came in 1808, and built a cabin in section six, on
Symmes creek, near the mouth of Camp creek. His son,
Ephraim McDaniel, was the first child born in the township.
Among other early settlers were John Louis, Giles Herrington,
John Carter, Thomas Clark, Walter Neal, John Peoples, J. McDaniel,
Charles Neal, John Lounds, William Williams, William Null, W. Long,
Samuel Boggs and Alexander McDaniel.
The township was organized April 13, 1819, and the
first election was held on Sand Fork creek, when Henry McDaniel
and Thomas Clark were elected justices of the peace.
Symmes creek is a large stream, averaging fifty yards
in width, in the township. It enters section five from Perry
township at the north, takes a crooked course southwesterly, across
the northwest corner of the township, through section twelve, into
Lawrence county, emptying into the Ohio river. Very fertile
bottom lands exist along this stream, which are in a high state of
cultivation. Sand Fork enters the southeast part of the
township, in section thirty-five, runs sluggishly northward, through
the eastern part, enters Perry township from section three and
empties into Symmes creek. This stream also contains very
rich, well cultivated bottom lands, and is noted for being the creek
on which most of the old settlers located.
In 1812, John Cornton erected a grist mill,
built of logs, containing one run of stone, which was located upon
Symmes creek and run by water. In 1818, he added to it a saw
Robert Armstrong, Mr. Petty, Thomas Ray and
Jacob Bosworth taught school, commencing in 1818, in a round log
building near Henry McDaniel's place. In 1822, the
first building was erected for school purposes, about one mile south
of where Sylvester McDaniel now lives. It was made of
round logs, with a puncheon floor and oiled paper windows.
There are at present twelve substantial frame school buildings in
the township, and the schools are well attended.
The first postoffice established was Flag Springs
office, kept by Charles Neal. There are now four
located in the township, viz.: McDaniels, Boggs, Sand
Fork and Sprinkle's Mills.
In 1817, religious services were held at the residence
of Walter Neal, on Symmes creek, conducted by William Kent,
a Methodist minister. Also, the same year, at the residence of
Charles Neal, sermons were delivered by Rev. John Lee, a
Baptist minister.. The first religious society organized was a
Methodist Episcopal, at the residence of Benjamin Smith and
wife, James McDaniel and wife, and John Ray and wife.
The second society was organized at Flag Springs. There
are now eight church buildings in the township, which are nearly all
frame and in good condition; Methodist, Baptist and the Christian
The first Sabbath-school in the township was organized
in 1825, by John McDaniels. There are now seven, viz:
Flag Springs, Sand Fork, Olive, Bethesda, Mount Zion, Pleasant
Valley and Fairview.
Flag Springs is noted for being the nucleus of the
early population, and the center from which they extended to every
part of the township. Representatives from this point are to
be found in nearly every State in the Union.
John Lewis, one of the early
settlers, made the first saltpetre, and sold it as an article of
CHOLERA EPIDEMIC OF 1849
As a matter of historical
interest, it is proper to give an account of the terrible visitation
of cholera which occurred in 1849. In the summer of that year, William Martt, of Walnut
township, assisted in moving a family in Lawrence county, and
returning home was taken sic early in July. He lingered
in his illness for over a week, and his friends and neighbors
kindly assisted in the care of him. It was not until it
had spread to the families of all those who had been exposed,
that the disease was discovered to be cholera of the most
malignant type. The first victim to the dread disease
was William Clark, who died after an illness of about
four hours. The death of his wife and daughter quickly
followed. The local physicians were inexperienced and
unable to cope with the fearful epidemic, which spread
To Mr. Middleswarth, a farmer in Clay township,
is due the credit of checking and finally subduing the
terrible scourge. Although unskilled in medicine, he had
previously obtained a recipe for the cure of the cholera from
a physician at New Orleans, and being a skillful nurse, he
volunteered and did good service among the sick.
At one time, eight of Mr. Martt's family,
including himself, were lying dead in the house, and five of
them were buried in one grave, as assistance could not be
obtained to dig a sufficient number. Owing to the
inability to obtain coffins, many were buried without them.
An excitement such as is seldom witnessed in any community for
a time prevailed, and all who had been exposed expected to
die. During the space of two weeks there were about one
hundred cases in Walnut and the adjoining township of
Harrison, thirty-seven of which were fatal, and the agonizing
anxiety for the safety of the lives of dear ones in the minds
of the people of the little community can be better imagined
The epidemic was confined to a radius of about four
miles. There is nothing in the locality that should have
caused its appearance, only in the manner described, as it is
exceedingly healthy, and nothing of the kind had ever occurred
before or has been experienced since.
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