township is situated in the northwest corner of the county, and is
bounded on the north by Franklin county, on the east by Scioto
township, on the southeast by Muhlenberg, on the south by Monroe,
and on the west by Madison county. Its surface is remarkably
level, except along the water-courses, where it is somewhat rolling.
The soil is fertile, consisting largely of corn land, and that
cereal is largely produced. For the last two or three years,
however, wheat has been more extensively grown than formerly, the
crop being found to do well on land on which corn ahs been
heretofore almost exclusively grown.
The principal original varieties of timber were the
oak, in several varieties, the white oak on the higher soil, and
burr, jack and post oak (sometimes called pin oak), on the black
land. There was also considerable red and white elm, hickory,
hand hard maple. There was formerly a considerable portion of
land in this township called "barrens," which, in its natural state,
was more adapted to grazing than to tillage.
Much of the land lying back from Darby creek is flat,
and before it was drained was too wet for cultivation. The
southwest part of the township, during most of the year, was covered
with water, and contained a thick undergrowth of timber, which gave
it the name, together with the portion of Monroe township adjoining,
of "the brush country." But when the land was once reclaimed
and cultivated, it was found to be the most fertile and productive
of the township. On the farm of F. C. BOSTWICK, is a
field, now in corn, which has produced a crop of that cereal every
year since 1805, and the growing crop, which is hardly second to any
field of corn in the county, is sufficient evidence that the soil
ahs lost but little of its fertility.
But, notwithstanding the fertility of its soil, and the
striking contrast which its present condition presents to its
appearance when the pioneers first invaded its forests, the township
is yet far from being in a high condition of improvement. The
cause is chiefly found in the fact that most of its lands are held
in large tracts, and are occupied and cultivated largely by tenants,
whose rude log houses, or cabins, with their "stick" chimney, look
more out of place, because they stand in the midst of such fertile
fields. When, as will eventually be the case, the land shall
be divided up into farms of moderate size, say, of two hundred acres
each, and occupied by their owners with neat and attractive
dwellings, the appearance of the township will be vastly different
from that which it now presents. The plan of smaller farms
better cultivation and improvements, has already been adopted to
some extent, and it is easy to predict that a few years more will
bring about a great improvement in this respect. What we have
said of Darby, may, in the greater or less degree, be said of all
the townships west of the river.
Indians of the
Wyandot tribe, from the region of Upper Sandusky, remained in the
township for several years after the first white settlers came.
They had a camp on Darby creek, on the farm now owned by David
DAVIS. The place is still known as "Indian Thicket.," the
ground being at that time thickly covered with black-haw. They
buried many of their dead there, and a number of skeletons, with
guns and other implements, have been plowed up. Three Indians,
whose names were Wysock, Canoe and Woyathe, remained
in the vicinity for some time after the others had left. They
brought in the skins and meat of wild animals, which they
exchanged with the settlers for shoes, stockings, and other articles
of wearing apparel.
Game was quite
abundant in the township, in its first settlement. Deer were
very plenty, and some of the early settlers killed large numbers of
them. Venison, and the meat of the wild turkey, were common
articles of food with the pioneers. Wolves, wild-cats,
opossums, and other smaller game were also numerous. Wild hogs
were frequently met with, and were more dreaded, perhaps, than any
other of the wild beasts. The genuine wild boar, exasperated
by the hunters, was the most terrible creature of the forest, and
the hunt was exciting and dangerous. His attack was too sudden
and headlong to be turned aside or avoided, and the snap of his
tusks as he sharpened them, in his fury, was something terrible.
Jacob BURGET, and Cornelius and William POULSON,
while out hunting wild hogs, on one occasion, surrounded an old
boar, with immense tusks. The hunters were on horseback, and
the hog, in his fury, made an attack on thehorse of Cornelius
POULSON, cutting his ham-strings. The horse was ruined,
and had to be shot, but the men, after a desperate fight, succeeded
in killing the beast. His tusks are said to have measured over
a foot in length. The wild hogs were not valued for their
flesh, but were regarded simply as dangerous pests, and were hunted,
mainly to rid the country of them. Jacob BURGET, above
mentioned, was a great hunter. It is said he wore an Indian
suit of deer-skin, and that it was impossible to distinguish him
from an Indian, a few rods away. He killed a great many deer,
wolves, wild hogs, and, also, several bears, and made hunting a sort
The first settlements were
made on Darby Creek and Opossum run, and commenced soon after the
year 1800. POULSON - Andrew, Cornelius, John, Elijah
and William. They came from Virginia on pack-horses, in
1800, and located near Chillicothe, on what is known as "big
bottom." Tow years afterward they came to Darby and settled on
Darby creek, within a short distance of each other. They were
all unmarried when they arrived, and, at length, found their wives
here. Andrew finally removed to Upper Sandusky.
He was a Methodist preacher, and labored as a missionary among the
Indians in that region for some time. William POULSON
was twice married - first to Betsey ENGLAND, and, second, to
Nancy TANNER, who survives him and occupies the old homestead.
Five of the eleven children of William POULSON, now living,
reside in Darby, viz: Sarah, Andrew, Thomas R., David, Elias,
and Phebe. Andrew POULSON is the oldest native resident
of the township; he was born in 1816. He has been justice of
the peace for twenty-seven years, and eight terms in succession.
In 1859 he was elected sheriff of the county, serving two years.
One of the first settlers on the Opossum run was
Peter LONG, who came from Rockingham county, Virginia, in 1804
or 1805. He bought, and settled on, the farm now owned by
Isaac MANTLES, where he resided until his death, June 1, 1852,
aged eighty-one years. He died in the woods, and was devoured
by wild beasts. Only a fragment of his clothes was afterward
discovered. His grandsons - Peter, Jacob, John - and
granddaughter - Mary (Mrs. OGLESBEE) - reside in Madison
Courtney TANNER removed in
from Kentucky, about the year 1804 or 1805, and settled where
Stephen SELF now lives, on the farm of Abraham ALKIRE.
His wife, Mary Ann (ALKIRE), died soon after their
settlement, and he subsequently returned to Kentucky, and married
Hannah FRANCIS, who survived him. His children were seven
in number (two being by his first wife), as follows:
Harvey, Betsey (Mrs. WOOD), Rebecca (Mrs. William HEATH), John,
Harriet (Mrs. Robert MANLEY)Eliza (Mrs. Wesley McCOLLISTER), and
Edward. John TANNER married Margaret ALKIRE, and
after a residence in Pickaway county about eighteen months, settled
in Madison county, where Mrs. TANNER still lives. He
died here, March 4, 1868. Mrs. TANNER is now in her
sixty-seventh year, and has three children - Courtney, Abaham
and Margaret (Mrs. William TAYLOR).
Isaac ALKIRE, born in
Kentucky in 1789, came to Ohio with his father, William ALKIRE,
in 1804. William ALKIRE bought a considerable tract of
land in Madison county, and settled there, Isaac and John,
his sons, settled in Darby. Isaac, in 1811, married
Mary GRAHAM, and located where his daughter, Mrs. BOSTWICK,
now lives. He died May 16, 1877, and his wife, November 14,
1876, aged nearly seventy. They had four sons and four
daughters, all now living. Forbes and Jackson live in
Indiana; William, George and Mrs. Lewis GREEN, in
Madison county; Mrs. Aristeus HULSE, in Jackson township;
Mrs. F. C. BOSTWICK, in Darbey, and Mrs. V. H. MOORE, in
Circleville. John ALKIRE married Susan MANTLES,
and settled on the farm now owned by Abraham ALKIRE, where
Courtney TANNER formerly lived. He afterwards located on
Opossum run, in Madison county, and continued to reside there until
Isaac McHENRY settled in
the northwest corner of the township, on Opossum run, about the year
1807, coming from the State of Kentucky. He was a Baptist
preacher, and preached throughout the neighborhood, He eventually
lost his land, his claim proving invalid, and he removed to Allen
THOMAS, about the same time,
settled on the WILSON farm, now occupied by Scott ROBINSON,
and resided there until his death.
A few years subsequently John MANTLES,
sr., from Virginia, settled where his grandson, Duncan
MANTLES, now lives. He was a man of great size, weighing,
at his death, November 5, 1831, four hundred and eighty pounds.
He was born in the year 1765. His wife died October 11, 1846.
Their youngest son, David, married Matilda NOLAND, and
resided on the old homestead until his death. His children -
Duncan, Isaac, and John - reside in Darby, and
Miranda (wife of W. T. FITZGERALD) in Madison county.
Isaac WOODS, a son-in-law of John MANTLES, was a
member of a company, from this neighborhood, which was sent out
against the Indians, in the war of 1812. While returning hoe,
at the expiration of his term of service, and in sight of his house,
he shot himself accidentally, in the act of getting over a fence.
In 1812 John GILLILAND
came from Jackson county, Ohio, and settled on Opossum run, and his
brother Andrew about the same time. John finally
removed to Illinois, but Andrew resided in the township until
his death, in 1832. His son Samuel now occupies the old
Thomas NOLAND joined the
settlement on this stream in the year 1815, moving in from Maryland.
Richard HEATH was an early
settler on the place now owned by John MANTLES. He
resided there for six or seven years, taking a lease of John
MANTLES, Sr.. He married a sister of Thomas
TIPTON, and, afterward, settled on Darby creek. He
eventually moved to Missouri, where he died.
John BOWMAN was an early
settler on the MORGAN farm, east of Darby creek.
James MORSE settled at an
early date, where Joseph CROSSLEY now lives; and Jonas
DEYO on the place now occupied by George REED. MORSE
was a mechanic; he had a blacksmith shop, but was principally
engaged in the manufacture of plows. HE came from New England.
Benjamin DAVIS emigrated
from Maryland, in 1802 or 8103. He first located near
Williamsport, Deer Creek township, on the George WOOD farm.
He afterwards moved to Monroe township, and later, to Darby.
He finally removed to Indiana, where he died in March, 1873.
His wife died in Monroe township, Pickaway county. He had a
family of ten children, of whom one son and two daughters are living
- John Davis, in Darby, and Mrs. CUTLER and Mrs.
CANAHAN, in Indiana.
Charles BELL came from
Virginia, in 1824, and settled in Darby creek, now Muhlenberg
township, where he lived until his death, in 1846. His son,
John W. BELL, married, in 1836, Susan Ann HENDERSON,
whose father, Charles HENDERSON, was an early settler in the
vicinity of Chillicothe. Mr. BELL located in this
township, in 1836, near where his widow now lives. He died May
3, 1862. Mrs. BELL has nine children. A daughter
is the wife of J. W. SHEETS, the present township clerk.
an old settler, opened up the farm opposite the residence of
Thomas D. RIDGWAY, and lived there until his death.
Sampson B. SMITH,
of Maryland, with his wife, Margaret HILL, came to Darby in
1824, and settled on the farm now owned by Cyrus COMSTOCK,
where he continued to reside until his death, in October, 1876.
His wife died in March previous. Six of the nine children born
to them are now living, and in this township, to wit: Mrs.
W. J. SHOCKLEY, William, George W., Mrs. Lewis BALLAH, Mrs. Richard
DICK, and Samuel.
In 1826, Joseph DALBY,
with his wife, and four children, arrived from Frederick
county, near Winchester, Virginia, and settled where his daughter,
Mrs. David HURST now lives, and died there September, 1876.
He was twice married, and was the father of twelve children, who
lived to adult age, and were married. Ten are now living,
three of whom reside in this township, as follows: Mary
Jane (widow of Thomas JACKSON); Hannah (wife of
Theodore GANTZ); and Mrs. HURST, above mentioned. A
son, Scribner V. DALBY, lives in Harrisburg, Franklin count;
and Israel, near London, Madison county. The other
children, except Dr. I. N. DALBY, who lives in Cleveland,
reside in the west.
Seth MORTON came to Ohio
from New England in 1832, and located first in Circleville, where he
engaged in the manufacture of cigars. A years or two
afterwards he moved to Monroe township, settling at "Five Points,"
where he resided three years, when he moved to the place now
occupied by his widow, on the Circleville pike, in the same
township. He died there in April, 1870. He was married
twice, and had eleven children. His son, Sidney, who
married Mary J. Neff, resides in this township.
Samuel RIDGEWAY and family
came from Bourbon county, Kentucky, in the year 1812, and settled
near Chillicothe, where he died, February, 1837. Thomas D.,
his son, now living in Darby, aged seventy years, married Eliza
MATTSON in October, 1833, who died in the fall of 1842. In
1845 he removed to this township, and two yeas afterward married
Rebecca SMITH, who died March 4, 1878. Mr. RIDGEWAY
has served as trustee of this township for seventeen years.
Robert McDOWELL came to
Ohio from Bucks county, Pennsylvania, in the year 1837. He
worked at blacksmithing for about eighteen months at Harrisburg,
Franklin county, and afterwards established a tannery at Palestine,
which, in connection with Stacey WALDO, he carried on for
several years. He then purchased fifty-three acres of the farm
he now owns and on which he has since resided. He married,
March 7, 1844, Catherine H. NEFF. They have two
children living and one deceased.
John W. KENNEDY came from Mifflin county,
Pennsylvania, in June, 1839. He had learned the carpenter's
trade in Pennsylvania, and worked, on his trip to Ohio, at different
points - first at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, then at Wooster, Ohio,
and other places. He finally reached Palestine, in this
township, in company with Frederick L. SMITH, where they both
decided to remain. In November, 1840, Mr. KENNEDY
married Mrs. Mary E. TAYLOR, since which time he has resided
in his present location. He has three sons, namely, Henry
S., living in Madison County; William J., a physician,
residing at East Ringgold; and Samuel W., at home.
Frederick L. SMITH, married, December 25, 1839,
Sarah SMITH, and resided in Palestine several years, when he
moved to Madison county. Subsequently he removed to Harrison
Mills, Fayette county, where he died.
Benjamin F. RENICK has been a resident of Darby
since 1841. On the fifteenth of November, of that year, he
married Sarah WILLIAMS, by whom he had two children: his wife
died March 1, 1854, and December 8, 1856, he was united in marriage
to Mary TAYLOR. The result of this union is eight
children, four girls and four boys, all of whom are living. A
sketch of Mr. RENICK's ancestry is given in Jackson township.
The first religious meetings in Darby were held by Thomas
REYNOLDS, a Methodist exhorter, who came from Virginia about the
same time that the Poulson Brothers came. He
lived to be eighty years old, and was a zealous and earnest
christian. Robert Finley, a traveling Methodist
preacher, was the first regular clergyman in this section. He
had a son, James, who was a missionary among the Indians at
Upper Sandusky. Andrew Poulson says he remembers well
the first camp-meeting in the township, held by the Methodists, on
Darby creek, in which James Finley and three or four of his
Indian converts took an active part. One of these Indians was
the well-known Between-the-Logs, who preached, on this occasion, in
his native language, his sermon being interpreted by a negro who
traveled with him for that purpose. Jacob Young, a
Methodist, and Isaac McHenry, a Baptist, were among the
pioneer preachers of Darby.
The first church in the township was the log house now
used as a dwelling by a tenant of widow Bell. It was
erected by the Methodists in 1844, and was called the Free Will
church, any denomination that chose to do so, being allowed to
worship in it. The Methodist society was formed long prior to
the erection of a meeting-house, and held their meetings in a barn
which then stood on the farm now owned by Mrs. Bell, and,
also, at teh house of father Reynolds, and that of John
Bowman. The Reynolds, Bowmans, Poulsons, Tiptons,
Rains, and some others, constituted the society. The
organization subsequently disbanded, but, finally, re-organized, and
worshiped in the school-house near the old Free Will church, for
five years. The Renick church, so called because of the
interest and activity shown in its erection by Mr. Benjamin F.
Renick, was built in 1870, costing about two thousand, three
hundred dollars. The present pastor of the church is the
Rev. Mr. Callahan of Darbyville. John W. Sheets is
leader of the class.
A United Brethren class was organized at Palestine,
about the year 1844, by Rev. Henry Jones and Rev. Jesse
Bright. The constituent members were: Nimrod Huffman
and wife, Jeremiah Deyo and wife, Daniel Alkire and
wife. The meetings were first held at the dwellings of the
members, and, subsequently, at a school-house on Deer creek. A
frame meeting-house was erected at Palestine about the year 1850,
which, at this writing, is still standing, though it has not been
used for several years. The church flourished for a number of
years, and until the war of the Rebellion, when questions of a
political nature caused dissension and division amongst members, and
the society was finally broken up.
A new church, to be erected on the site of the old one,
is now talked of, for which three or four hundred dollars are
already subscribed. It will be under the control of no one
denomination, but will be open, alike, to all churches of orthodox
The first school in Darby was kept
in a rude log cabin, built for a school-house, which stood on
cedar-cliff hill, on Darby creek. The first teacher, or
one of the earliest, was John Poulson. This was
probably about the year 1815. The next school-house was
erected in the north part of the township, near Harrisburg.
The first school-house in the Alkire neighborhood stood just
above the orchard, on the farm of Abraham Alkire, in which
the first term of school was taught by Michael Hornbeck.
Soon after the settlement on Opossum run was commenced, a
school-house was built just across the line, in Madison county, on
the farm now owned by Samuel Boyd, and here the children, in
this neighborhood, first attended school. The stone - a big
"hard head" - which constituted the back of the fire-place, still
remains in position. One of the earliest teachers in this
house was Simon Cochran. He was a Methodist preacher,
and, at the time of his death, was the oldest minister of that
denomination. The first school in Palestine was kept by
Miss Emmerett Moore, in a building now occupied by John
The first grist-mill on Darby creek, in this township, was the
Harrisburg mill, erected by Joseph Chenoweth, as long ago as
1835. It is now owned by John W. Rush and Owen T.
Curry. Chenoweth built there a short time before,
the first saw-mill in the township, which was finally burned down,
and the present mill subsequently erected. A carding machine
was established at the same place by Elijah Chenoweth and
Alfred Bird. There have been two other grist mills in the
township, on Darby creek - the Kepler mill built by James
Kepler, and located about five miles below Harrisburg, near
"yellow bank," and, a mile further down, the Garrison mill,
erected by John G. Garrison. This was purchased by
John W. McKinley.
The old "Federal
road," opened by the general government, and which ran across the
southwest corner of the township, was the first road in Darby.
The original road of the Circleville and London pike, was surveyed
and opened under the superintendence of Judge Thomas Renick,
of Jackson township.
earliest justice of the peace now remembered by the oldest
inhabitants, was Humphrey Becket, who was elected about the
year 1820. He lived on Greenbrier run, on what is now the line
between Darby and Muhlenberg. He served a number of
years, and was followed successively by John Henderson, William
King, John Poulson, John Troutner and Andrew Poulson.
The latter served for twenty-four consecutive years, and was elected
for one term subsequently. The early elections were held, for
several years, at the house of Edward Henderson, where
George Smith now lives. The following are the present
township officers: John W. Sheets, clerk; Joseph
Davis; Joseph McKinley and J. P. Dick, trustees;
Courtney Tanner, treasurer; Edson Deyo, assessor;
J. F. Morgan and G. W. Smith, justices of the peace.
Dr. Olds was the first resident physician in Darby. He
settled at Palestine about 1830, and practiced until his death.
Dr. Harriman came next, from Jefferson, and practiced several
years, when he returned to Jefferson, and was followed by Dr.
William Wilson. He came from New Holland, and remained two
years, when he removed to Darbyville. Dr. Roswell Shepherd
came from Vermont about the year 1838, and practiced a number of
years and until his death. Dr. George W. House, and
Dr. Crumley practiced medicine here a few yeas, coming from
Columbus. The last physician in the township was Dr. W. T.
Williman, who came from Logan, Hocking county, in the fall of
1862. He remained until the spring of 1878, when he removed to
Mt. Sterling, where he is now in practice. All of the
physicians above mentioned resided at Palestine.
For the following facts we are
indebted to John Ray and John W. Kennedy.
The little hamlet of Palestine, situated on Darby
creek, on the western border of the township, and now consisting of
one small store, two or three mechanic shops, and about a dozen
dwelling houses, was once a stirring little place. It was laid
out about the year 1829, by Josiah Rush and George Alkire.
The old tavern, built by Mitchell and Pritchard, and
now occupied by Thomas Brown, was one of the first buildings
erected in the place. Rush & Alkire opened the first
store, on the northwest corner of the crossing of the two pikes, in
a little building now standing in the rear of the preset store.
John V. Davis' was the first store kept in the frame
building, now vacant, on the southeast corner. Samuel
Diffenderfer brought in a stock of goods from Circleville, but
subsequently moved back there. Thomas Fellows
started in trade, and continued for a time, then moved away.
Joseph Tenney, of New Hampshire, a clerk of Fellows,
subsequently opened a store where the present store of S. S.
Fetherolf now stands, in a building now occupied as a dwelling
by Charles Ketchum. Tenney sold goods there many
yeas, and acquired a fortune. He finally sold out to
Jerrold Sweatland and returned to New Hampshire.
Sweatland carried on the business with success for several
years. George Neff & Son followed Sweatland.
They moved out the old store and erected the building now occupied
by S. S. Fetherolf. These were the principal early
traders in Palestine. The only post-office in the township was
established here in Joseph Tenney's store, with Tenney
as postmaster. The present postmaster is S. S. Fetherolf.
< BIOGRAPHIES FOR
DARBY TWP. >