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Licking County
History & Genealogy

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
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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 Hughes, 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.


     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.  In
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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 years.
     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. DennerJones and the
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were 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 Pioneer life.


     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
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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 household effects.


     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 BuskirkTheophilus 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 YEARSPatrick 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
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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.


     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 WayneRev. Joseph Thrap settled within the present Township of Hanover; and
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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:
ASSOCIATE JUDGES - Alexander Holmes, Timothy Rose, James Taylor.
CLERK OF COURT - Samuel Bancroft.
SHERIFF - John Stadden.
TREASURER - Elias Gilman.
COMMISSIONERS - Archibald Wilson, Elisha Wells, Israel Wells.
     COLLECTOR OF TAXES - John Stadden.
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.

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     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 years!
     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.


     In 1809, Henry Iles settled within the present limits of Benning
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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.


     In 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
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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 EmmettRev. 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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