THE FIRST SETTLERS and EARLIEST
of Licking County, Ohio
(Source: Centennial History of Licking County,
Ohio by Isaac Smucker
Publ. Newark, Ohio: Clark & Underwood, Book and Job Printers - 1876)
The first permanent white settlement made within the present
limits of Licking County was effected in 1798, by Elias Hughes and
John Ratliff. They came to the Bowling Green, (now in Madison
Township, on the Licking, from Western Virginia and were the only
settlers until early in the year 1800. The two families spent
the preceding year at the "Mouth of the Licking," and in the Spring
of 1798 they ascended said stream some twenty miles, and there
squatted, both families numbering, upon their arrival, twenty-one
persons. During the year 1799 a son was born to Elias
thus increasing the colony to twenty-two.
Captain Hughes had been a frontiersman all his
life, and had attained a good degree of prominence, in his native
State, before leaving it, as a skilful hunter, a brave soldier, a
reliable spy, and as a most daring and successful Captain of Scouts.
He had been in the most sanguinary battle of Point Pleasant, in
1774, and for more than twenty years thereafter he had served
efficiently, on the Western borders of Virginia, in the hazardous
employment pf Spy or Scout. In 1796-7 he was attached, as a
hunter, to the surveying party that run the Range and Township lines
of the United States Military lands in this section. He lived
until 1844, dying at the age of about ninety years and had been for
a long while, the last and only survivor of those who actively
participated in the hard-fought battle of Point Pleasant, between
about one thousand Virginians, commanded by General Andrew Lewis,
and perhaps as many Indian warriors under the leadership of the
celebrated Cornstalk, a Shawanese Chief.
John Ratliff's wife died in 1802, and was
probably the first white adult person whose death took place within
our county. During the same year, October 22, 1802, the wife
of Mr. John Jones, who lived near the Raccoon creek, four
miles West of Newark, died. The first death was that of an
infant child of John Stadden, whose birth and death occurred
in the latter part of the year 1801. The first marriage within
the limits of Licking County, was that of the parents of the
aforesaid child, (John Stadden and Elizabeth Green,) which
took place on Christmas day in the year 1800. John Ratliff
died on the South side of the Licking, near the mouth of the Brushy
Fork, about or in the year 1811. A few of the descendants of
Hughes and Ratliff still reside in Licking County.
SETTLERS OF THE YEAR 1800.
In the year 1800, Benjamin Green, and Richard Pitzer
settled on the Shawnee Run, two miles below the junction of the
North and South Forks, having come from Alleghany County, Maryland.
the same year Captain Samuel Elliott, from the same
County, settled half a mile above them. And in the same year
Isaac Stadden, an emigrant from Northumberland County,
Pennsylvania, settled half a mile above Captain Elliott.
His brother, John, an unmarried brother, accompanied him.
He remained unmarried, however, only until the Christmas of this
year. And it was during this year also, that John Van
Buskirk left Brooke County, Virginia, and settled upon a
thirty-one hundred acre tract of land he had purchased, situated in
the Valley of the South Fork, (now in Union Township,) some eight
miles or more above the mouth of the South Fork. He served as
a spy many years, between the Ohio and Tuscarawas rivers, for the
protection of the frontier settlers, and in that capacity was
eminently useful. He was frequently attached to expeditions
commanded by Captains Samuel Brady and John McCullough,
those eminent protectors of the pioneer settlers between the
Alleghenies and the Ohio river. His death occurred Dec. 31,
1840. Isaac Stadden was the first civil officer elected
within the limits of our County. At an election held in
January 1802, at the cabin of Captain Hughes, he was chosen a
Justice of the Peace of Licking Township, then Fairfield County,
and Elias Hughes was elected Captain of Militia at the same
time and place. John Stadden became the first Sheriff
of Licking County in 1808 and served as such, and as Collector of
taxes until 1810. Captain Elliott was elected Coroner
of the County of Licking in 1808 and served as such for a score of
years or more. He had been a soldier in the Revolutionary war.
His death took place in may, 1831, in his eightieth year.
Benjamin Green lived until 1835, dying at the age of seventy-six
Isaac Stadden, late in October, 1800, left his
cabin one day, to go to Cherry Valley, to shoot deer. He came
home in the evening, greatly excited, having discovered the Old
Fort, of which he had not heard before. Next morning he and
Mrs. Stadden, visited this interesting relic of the
Mound-builders, and riding all around it on the top of the
embankment, where it was practicable, they took a good look at this
great curiosity, and so far as is known he was the first white man,
and she the first white woman that ever looked upon this ancient
work of a prehistoric people.
Another incident of this year. In November, or
early in December 1800, Isaac Stadden was deer hunting near
this spot, in the direction of Ramp or Auter Creek. There,
towards evening around a camp-fire, in the dense forest he met
John Jones, Phineas Ford, Frederick Ford, Benoni Benjamin and a
Mr. Denner. Jones and the
married to the sisters of Benjamin. Jones was of Welsh
ancestors, born in New Jersey, but had lived in the neighborhood of
Stadden, in Pennsylvania, where they had been schoolmates.
Neither knew that the other was in the Northwest Territory.
They had not seen each other for many years, and knew nothing
of each others intervening history or whereabouts. The
romantic interest of such a meeting, under such circumstances, by
Stadden and Jones, cannot be readily described - it must
be imagined rather. Jones with his associates
were exploring with a view of an early settlement, and they did
settle in a few months, Jones in the Raccoon Valley, and his
associates in the Ramp Creek Valley. The entire company
accepted Mr. Stadden's invitation to visit him at his cabin,
and did so, soon, and it was represented to the writer, sixty years
after, by Mrs. Stadden, that said visit and its incidents,
were among the most interesting and enjoyable events of her long
THE SETTLERS AND SETTLEMENTS OF 1801.
The year 1801 brought with it quite a number of settlers.
John Larabee ascended the Licking river in a canoe to the mouth
of the Bowling Green Run, where he landed, ad near that point on the
South side of the Licking, he occupied a hollow sycamore tree, while
he cleared some land, and raised a few acres of corn. He
served throughout the whole Revolutionary war, and probably also in
the Indian wars afterwards. Mr. Larabee died Feb. 6th,
1846, aged four score and six years. James Maxwell came
up the Licking with Mr. Larabee, John Weedman and a
Mr. Carpenter. Maxwell was the first school teacher, and
made that his life long profession. He was also our first
constable, having been elected to said office, Jan. 1, 1802, at the
same time and place of the election of Captain Hughes, and
Isaac Stadden, Esq. Samuel Parr this year settled on the
Licking bottoms just below the junction of the North and South
Forks. James McCauly and James Danner located
themselves near the mouth of Ramp Creek, where the first named built
a "tub-mill" or "corn-cracker," the first water power concern within
the present limits of our County. Phillip Barrick
settled near the "Licking Narrows." John Jones built
his cabin in the Raccoon Valley, five miles from the mouth of
Raccoon Creek, and Phineas and Frederick Ford and
Benoni Benjamin theirs in a Ramp or Auter Creek Valley, some
miles from the mouth of Ramp or Auter Creek. Phillip Sutton,
Job Rathbone, and John and George Gillespie
settled in the Hog Run Valley. In September of this year,
John Edwards came
to the South Fork Valley, from Brooke
County, Virginia. He was distinguished as a hunter and an
expert with the rifle, having been engaged as a spy for some years
on the frontiers of Virginia, as well as the Northwest Territory.
In coming he blazed the trees and killed the game for their
subsistence, while others cut out the road where necessary, and
still others followed with the wagon which contained his family and
THE SETTLERS AND SETTLEMENTS OF 1802.
The year 1802 brought us many immigrants. Alexander Holmes
and James Hendricks came from Brooke County, Virginia, and
settled in the South Fork Valley near the residence of their
brother-in-law, John Van Buskirk. Theophilus Rees,
David Lewis, David Thomas, James Johnson and Simon James
came this year, most of them settling on the Welsh Hills.
Jacob Nelson settled in the Licking Valley, and not long
thereafter built a mill, a mile or more below the junction of the
North and South Forks. Newark was laid out this year by
General W. C. Schenck; and Abraham Miller, John Warden
and Henry Claybaugh came from the South Branch of the
Potomac, and settled in its immediate vicinity. Michael
Thorn, Frederick Myer, and Henry Heff located at or near the
Little Bowling Green, on the Southern borders of the County, during
this year. They were from the Monongahela country, in West
Virginia. Adam Hatfield, James Black, Richard Parr, Samuel
Elliott, Henry Claybaugh, Samuel Parr, and Samuel Elliott,
Jr., built and occupied cabins in Newark this year, except the
younger Elliott, who probably had a tenant in his. The
senior Elliott built the first hewed log house with shingled
roof. Black kept a tavern on the lot now occupied by
the Park House. Beall Babbs, James Jeffries and
Mrs. Catharine Pegg, settled in or near Newark during this
year. Jonathan Benjamin, father-in-law of John Jones
and the Ford brothers, located on Ramp or Auter Creek, the
Spring of 1802. He had passed through the French and Indian wars,
and through the Revolutionary war also, and had been a frontiersman
from his youth up. Mr. Benjamin died in 1841, at the
great age of ONE HUNDRED AND THREE YEARS! Patrick
Cunningham, Abraham Johnson, Abraham Wright, James Petticord, Edward
Nash, Carlton, Benedict, Aquilla, and two John Belts
settled about and in Newark, except Cunningham, who first
lived neighbor to John Jones, having built the second cabin
within the present limits of Granville Township. He was from
Tyrone County, province of Ulster, Ireland; the others were from
Washington County, Pennsylvania. A considerable colony from
Brooke County, Virginia, also settled in the South Fork Valley.
SUBSEQUENT SETTLERS AND SETTLEMENTS UNTIL 1809.
After the year 1802, the influx of new settlers increased from time
to time, and new settlements were made from year to year.
In 1803, John Evans settled in the North Fork
Valley, seven miles North of Newark, and in the Spring of the same
year Evan Payne and Jacob Wilson located in the same
valley about a mile above the mouth of the North Fork. They,
as well as Evans were Virginians. John Simpson,
Robert Church, William Schamahorn, Richard Jewell, Edward Crouch,
William and John Moore, Thomas Seymour and William
O'Banon settled within the present limits of Madison Township,
during this year also.
In 1804 Thomas Cramer, Simon James, and Peter
Cramer settled on the Welsh Hills. Evan Humphrey,
and Chriswold May settled near the "Big Spring," now in
Newton Township. Daniel Thompson, Samuel Enyart and
Matthias and Hathaway Denman located in the present
Township of Hanover. Moses Meeks, William Harris, Charles
Howard and John and Adam Myers located about the
"Little Bowling Green." Maurice Newman settled in
Newark. John and Jacob Myers, Daniel Smith,
and James Taylor came to the South Fork Valley; and
Henry Smith, John Channel, and Thomas Deweese located in
what is now Madison Township.
In 1805 settlements were made on the upper waters of
the South Fork, now in Lima Township, David Herron being the
first settler. In the same year, (or early in 1806,) a Mr.
Hatfield settled within the present limits of Harrison Township;
and George Ernst, John Feasel, and John and Jacob
Swisher formed a settlement near the source of Swamp Run, now in
Franklin Township. In November of this year, (1805) the
Granville Colony arrived and established themselves at and around
the village of Granville. General John Spencer also
settled in the Spring of this year, in the North Fork Valley, five
miles north of Newark. When he settled at the "Big Spring," he
found in the vicinity a man named Evan Humphrey, quite an
eccentric character, who served his country in the Revolutionary
war, and who was also of the "forlorn hope," at the storming of
Stony Point, in 1779 by General Wayne. Rev. Joseph
Thrap settled within the present Township of Hanover; and
Elisha and John Farmer settled a few miles west of Newark
during this year.
In 1806, the upper valley of Raccoon Creek, now Monroe
Township, was settled by George W. Evans, and soon thereafter
by Charles and George Green. Henry Drake also located
in the upper valley of the South Fork, now Harrison Township, during
this year. Chester and Elisha Wells and John
Hollister settled near the mouth of the Rocky Fork.
Samuel Hand, James Holmes and David Benjamin settled in
the South Fork Valley. Evan Pugh and Archibald
Wilson settled North of Newark in North Fork Valley. The
upper Valley of the North Fork, now Burlington Township, was settled
by James Dunlap, Nathan Conard and others.
William Hull and Isaac Farmer located this year in the
vicinity of the Flint Ridge.
In 1807 John Cook Herron built and occupied a
cabin in the Raccoon Valley, now St. Albans Township.
Granville Township, Fairfield County was organized their year.
It embraced the Western half of the present County of Licking
except, I believe, the Refugee lands, Licking Township, embracing
the eastern half, with the same exception.
In 1808, Joseph Conard settled in the North Fork
Valley, near the present village of Utica. He came from Loudon
County, Virginia, and was the first settler within the present
Township of Washington. In this year, (1808,) the County of
Licking was organized with the following persons as its first
Judicial and County Officers:
PRESIDENT JUDGE OF COMMON PLEAS COURT - William
ASSOCIATE JUDGES - Alexander Holmes, Timothy
Rose, James Taylor.
CLERK OF COURT - Samuel Bancroft.
SHERIFF - John Stadden.
TREASURER - Elias Gilman.
COMMISSIONERS - Archibald Wilson, Elisha Wells,
COLLECTOR OF TAXES - John Stadden.
COMMISSIONERS' CLERK - Elias Gilman
ASSESSOR OF LICKING TOWNSHIP - Archibald Wilson,
ASSESSOR OF GRANVILLE TOWNSHIP - Jeremiah R.
The first Court was held at the house of Levi
Hays, four miles West of Newark and two miles east of Granville.
There not being room in the house, the Grand Jury held its inquest
under a tree. During the year a board of Commissioners
consisting of James Dunlap, Isaac Cook and James Armstrong,
selected Newark as the permanent County Seat.
OUR FIRST JUDGES AND CLERK IN 1808.
WILLIAM WILSON was a New Englander, educated at Dartmouth
College, and had settled at Chillicothe as an Attorney at Law.
He presided at the first Court held in Licking County in 1808, and
remained on the Bench until 1823, when he was elected to Congress,
and served four years and until 1823, when he was elected to
Congress, and served four years and until his death in 1827.
ALEXANDER HOLMES came from Brooke County,
Virginia, in 1802. He was a gentleman of considerable natural
ability - of general intelligence and extensive information - and
was of the better educated class of our Pioneers. Judge
Holmes sat upon the Bench as an Associate Judge from 1808 to
1812, and again from 1823 to 1828.
JAMES TAYLOR was born in Pennsylvania, in 1753,
and after his marriage in 1780, he moved to Western Virginia.
In 1782 he was in the Williamson expedition against the Moravian
Indians on the Tuscarawas, and had the honor of voting, with
seventeen others, against the murder of their Indian captives, but
without avail. Judge Taylor served his country during
the Revolutionary war, and was a man of character and intelligent.
His death took place in 1844, at the advanced age of ninety-one
TIMOTHY ROSE was one of the original Granville
Colony of 1805, not one of whom now survives. He was an
Associate Judge from 1808 to 1813, when he died. Judge Rose
was a high-toned, intellectual and intelligent gentleman, and a man
of high character, of sound judgment, and undoubted patriotism.
He served in the Revolutionary war, and distinguished himself as an
officer, at the storming of a British redoubt, at the surrender of
Cornwallis, at Yorktown in 1781.
SAMUEL BANCROFT was the first Clerk of Court in
1808. He was of the original Granville Colony, arriving in the
Spring of 1806. He was a soldier in the war of 1812, served as
a Magistrate many years, and was an Associate Judge from 1824 to
1845. As a citizen and a pubic officer, he was held in high
esteem. He was born in Massachusetts, in 1778, and died in
1870, at the age of ninety-two years.
NEW SETTLEMENTS FROM 1899 TO
1809, Henry Iles settled within the present limits of
ton Township. In 1810, the Wakatomika Valley was first
settled by Samuel Hickerson, followed next year by James
Thrap. Daniel Poppleton rendered a similar service within
the present limits of Hartford Township, in the year 1812.
Joseph and Peter Headly started a settlement on the head waters
of the South Fork, (now in Jersey Township,) in 1815. Etna
Township too, was settled in 1815, if not a little earlier, by
John Williams, the Housers and others. Isaac
Essex settled there in 1816. In the year 1818 David
Bright located in the Northeastern part of this County, and was
the first settler of Fallsbury Township, while in 1821, Rena
Knight built a cabin and opened a clearing near the head of
Brushy Fork, at a point now in Liberty Township. Thus one
locality after another became settled, and finally fully occupied in
every section of our County.
THE PIONEER PREACHERS AND CHURCH
1802, a Presbyterian minister named McDonald came along and
preached two sermons to the settlers in the Licking Valley. In
1803, Rev. John Wright also a Presbyterian Preacher,
delivered two sermons in Newark. Thomas Marquis,
another Presbyterian Minister, gave the people of Raccoon Valley a
sermon or two during this year. During the Autumn of this
year, Rev. Asa Shinn, of the Methodist Church commenced
preaching, as an itinerant minister, at Benjamin Green's in
the Hog Run settlement, and before his year closed he there
organized a society or Church, and that was the original or Pioneer
church organization in our County. He probably sometimes
preached in Newark also; certainly his successors on the circuit,
Revs. James Quinn and John Meeks, did, and also formed a
small Church organization as early as 1805, which was the second in
our County. The Congregational Church of Granville, organized
before the Granville Colony left New England, was the third
religious society of Licking County, and the Methodist Society,
organized in 1806 or a little later, near the Bowling Green, was
probably the fourth. A Methodist Society near the eastern
borders of this County, organized about the same time, and often
ministered unto by the Rev. Joseph Thrap, was most
likely the next in order, and the fifth in number. The
Welsh Hills Baptist Church was organized Sept. 4th, 1808, and was
the sixth and next in order. In the Autumn of the same
year the First Presbyterian Church of Newark was organized, and was
the seventh in order, in the County, although there may have been a
Methodist Church organized
earlier in the South Fork Valley.
The only other of the early-time Churches I mention is the Hog Run
or Friendship Baptist Church which was organized Feb. 20th, 1811,
and has had a good degree of prosperity until now.
The Revs. Joseph Williams and James Axley
were itinerating Methodist Ministers in 1805. Rev. Peter
Cartwright preached to the Methodist Societies in 1806, as did
also Rev. John Emmett. Rev. James Scott, a
Presbyterian Minister, also preached in Newark during this year.
Rev. James Hoge, of the same denomination visited and
preached to the people of Granville during the year, as did also
Rev. Samuel P. Robbins of the Congregational Church, and Rev.
David Jones, of the Baptist Church. In 1807, Revs.
Joseph Hayes and James King were the regular itinerant
Ministers, who ministered regularly to the Methodist Churches
hereabouts. Sometimes, too Revs. Jesse Stoneman and
Robert Manly ministered to them, as did also Rev. Levi Shinn.
In 1808 Revs. Ralph Lotspeitch and Isaac Quinn were
the regular Methodist preachers. Elder James Sutton and
Mr. Steadman appeared as Baptist ministers. Rev.
Timothy Harris a Congregational Minister took charge of the
Church in Granville this year and continued his ministrations until
1822. His ordination there was conducted by Revs. Lyman
Potter, Stephen Lindley, Jacob Lindley, John Wright and James
Scott. In 1809 Revs. Benjamin Lakin, and John
Johnson were the Methodist itinerants. Revs. Thomas
Powell and John W. Patterson, (Baptist,) commenced their
ministerial services in Licking County. In 1810 the latter
took charge of the Welsh Hills Church, and in the next year of the
Hog Run Church also. Rev. James B. Finley was the
Methodist itinerant of the year 1810.
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