* MUHLENBERG TOWNSHIP
* ORIGINAL OWNERS
* ANCIENT WORKS
* INDIAN DUEL
* EARLY EVENTS
* INDIAN INCIDENTS
* ENCOUNTERS WITH BEARS
This, the next
smallest township in Pickaway county, was formed from portions of
Jackson township on the south and east, Scioto on the north and
east, Darby on the north and west, and Monroe on the west and south.
It extends in a direction from northwest to southeast, on both sides
of Darby creek, which flows its entire length through very nearly
the center of the township. Muhlenburg township was erected
Dec. 8, 1830, beginning one mile east of Judge SEYMOUR's
place, near the State road; thence west, parallel with said road, to
the crossing of Dry run, so as to include Seymour and Bell; thence a
straight line to the south end of George ROWE's farm, to
include said farm; thence southeast in a straight line to two white
oaks from one root, on the corner of Hance BAKER's survey of
land, now owned by William FLORENCE; thence in a parallel
line with the first run line of said township, until it intersects
the road up Darby creek on the east side; thence to the beginning,
including about six by four miles. No order was issued for an
election of township officers. A change was made in the
boundary of Muhlenberg, Mar. 10, 1851, as follows: Beginning
at the southeast corner of said surveyed township below George
ROWE's; thence easterly (so as to leave the widow VanMETER in
Jackson township) in a straight line to intersect the section line
of said township of Muhlenberg.
There are on the tax-list thirteen thousand six hundred
and sixty-nine acres of land. The territory embraces
twenty-three square miles. The population, in 1840, was six
hundred and fifty-three; in 1870, nine hundred and fifty-seven.
It was for many years a stock-raising country, but is
now devoted more to the raising of grain. In early days stock
was bought in the adjacent country, and even in Kentucky, and
fattened here, after which it was driven to New York and
Philadelphia markets, some drovers sending three and four droves
across the mountains in a single season. Until a recent date
the land has been mostly owned by a few persons, and even now there
are many large farms. Some of the large tracts have been
divided among the heirs of some owners who are now deceased, and
there are some small farms that have been sold from the large
tracts. This will account for its tardy settlement.
records of the organization of Muhlenberg township have been
mislaid, or lost, and it is impossible to obtain any definite
information as to the precise date of the first election. It
is known that the township was erected Dec. 8, 1830, being taken
from Jackson, Scioto, Darby, and Monroe. It is probable that
the first election took place in the spring of 1831.
William Hill, sr. was the first justice of the peace.
There was no townhouse until 1875, when a neat building was erected
on the main street, in Darbyville, at a cost of twelve hundred
dollars. The lower story was built by the township and
corporation, and the upper story jointly by the Good Templars'
organization, the Good Samaritan Grange. The basement contains
a good corporation jail, of two cells. The officers of the
township for 1879, are J. T. KIRKENDALL and J. W.
McCALLISTER, justices of the peace; T. L. GRAHAM, Robert GALBREATH, and James TRETO, trustees; G. W. MILLER,
clerk; B. C. CARPENTER, treasurer; R. C. HILL,
assessor; J. I. RADCLIFF, and P. C. SWANK, constables.
At the time of the cession of this portion of Ohio to the
general government, by Virginia, the lands west of the Scioto river
were reserved as Virginia military lands, and were given to her
soldiers in the Revolutionary war, as a reward for their faithful
services in securing freedom from the yoke of bondage imposed by an
English king. Of the first proprietors of this part of the
military lands, General Peter MUHLENBERG owned some seventeen
hundred acres; Henry BALDWIN, twelve hundred; Henry MASSEY,
twelve hundred; CARTER, COPELAND, and others, large tracts.
This was surveyed about 1796, or perhaps a few years earlier.
General Peter MUHLENBERG was a minister of the
Episcopal church, and it is related of him, that seeing the need of
soldiers to carry on the war, he became one himself. One
bright Sabbath day he came into the pulpit, dressed in his
ministerial robes, and preached an effective farewell sermon to his
congregation; then, throwing off the robes of peace, he appeared
clothed in the full uniform of a colonel in the continental army,
and calling of them men of his congregation to fight the battles of
their country, he proceeded to enlist his regiment for the war.
The name of Muhlenberg was given to this township in honor of
Francis MUHLENBERG, the youngest son of General Peter
MUHLENBERG, who settled in the country in 1820, where he lived a
number of years, and finally married. He died two years after
his marriage, leaving no children to carry his name down to
But one stream of any size is found in Muhlenberg township.
This is Darby creek, which is large enough, and of enough importance
to the township, to be designated as a river, instead of by the
insignificant name of creek. Darby creek rises near the
head-waters of the Scioto river, and runs in a course nearly
parallel with that stream, into which it empties near Circleville,
some eight miles below Muhlenberg township. This stream has
been the means, in remote ages, of enriching a large portion of the
township, flowing, as it does, near the center, its entire length,
from north to south, and having a valley half a mile broad. It
runs over a clean gravelly bottom, and during high water floods a
large area of bottom land where it is not protected by levees.
The name of Darby creek was given it after an old Indian chief, who
lived on its banks at an early day. Besides this water course,
there is also Dray run, which extends just within the border of the
township, nearly its entire length, on the west and George's run,
which follows a tortuous course of a mile or more in the northwest
part of the township.
When the first settlers came on the
ground there were places of a few acres in extent, in the west part
of the township, and in the adjoining townships, there were called
prairies, as no timber grew on them, and they were covered with a
luxuriant growth of wild grass, that would sometimes reach to the
height of a man's shoulders when mounted on horseback. The
surface of these prairies was covered with a heavy mat of moss, on
which the numerous herds of deer feed in some seasons of the year.
This heavy growth of moss would lead to the inference that these
places, denuded of timber, were originally peat bogs, that had
become covered up and filled by the constantly encroaching moss, and
the accumulation of decaying vegetable matter.
Although Pickaway county is rich in ancient works of the race known
as the Mound Builders, this township has but few of their works
within its borders, although there is large mound in the adjoining
township of Jackson. In this township there are two small
mounds that have come under the observation of the writer; both in
the northern part of the township; one of the east and one on the
west side of Darby creek, and a mile or more from each other.
They are not more than thirty feet in diameter, and twelve feet
high, and are quite small when compared with those found in other
parts of the county.
When the while settlers first came to this country, the face of the
land was covered with a heavy growth of timber, such as walnut,
maple, ash, elm, honey locust, and sycamore, on the bottoms, besides
much oak on the uplands. As the land along the water courses
was the best adapted to the needs of the inhabitants at that time,
it was first cleared and an immense amount of the very best timber
the country produced was sacrificed. The land was cleared in
the quickest manner possible; by felling the trees, and rolling the
great logs into heaps, where they were burned, or by girdling, and
thus destroying them. Some of the better timber was split into
rails, with which to fence the clearings, the walnut being the most
durable timber used. Most of the best timber has been cut
down, and, in later days, utilized in various ways, until very
little timber, suitable for first class lumber, is left. There
are still, however, many good sized oak trees standing on the
uplands, and a great deal of land is now covered with undergrowth
and timer that, in a few years, will be cleared away, and the
country they now cover made into productive farms.
The soil is, for the most part, a black loam, mixed with some
gravel, and is very productive, raising large crops of corn and
wheat. On the hills, and back from the creeks, are to be found
areas of clay oil. This is so situated as to be easily
drained, and is very nearly as productive as the black soil, though
in some seasons it requires more labor to prepare and raise a crop
than on the bottom lands. Much of the land along the bottom,
and bordering the creek, has to be protected from the washing of
floods, by means of levees, that have been built at considerable
expense by the owners of these lands. It is not an unfrequent
thing to see fields of one hundred and fifty acres of corn in a
single tract, while the average area planted by each farmer would be
from forty to eighty acres.
This country was the home of the Shawnee Indians, and small bands of
them lived in various portions of the town at the time of its early
settlement. For a number of years after the country was
settled, the Indians returned annually, early in the spring, for the
purpose of making maple sugar, and remained until October, when they
moved toward the Sandusky river and bay. A large burying
ground was located in the rear of their old camp, a short distance
above the village of Darbyville, and on the opposite side of the
creek. This was the camp and burial place of the band to which
the chief, Darby, belonged. There was another camp, not
far from the toll-gate, south of Darbyville, a short distance.
Still another camp was located farther down the creek, and not far
from the township line.
An Indian duel took place just below Darbyville, where there was an
Indian camp, at an early day, between an Indian known as "Old
Pounder," and another Indian, whose name is unknown. Some
trouble ensued between them, and the Indians' code of honor admitted
of no other way of settling an injury than by blood. "Pounder"
had a presentiment that he should be killed, and obtained a promise
that he should be buried. He then fought the other Indian,
knives being the weapons used, and was soon killed. This
affair happened in 1805. "Pounder" was buried not far
from the banks of the creek. The next winter, or spring,
Colonel Elias Florence, then a boy, in company with a young
companion, were hunting rabbits in that vicinity, and, happening
near the grave, saw the remains of "Old Pounder" on the ground.
They were frightened at the sight, and informed Judge Florence,
who, with a man and the two boys, went to the spot and again buried
For the following facts pertaining to the early events, and
settlement of Muhlenberg, we are indebted to Col. Elias FLORENCE:
The early pioneers desired that their children
should obtain the rudiments of an education, and as soon as possible
arranged for schools. Judge FLORENCE was that first
person to establish a school, which he did in a log cabin on his
place, in 1807. The first school-teacher was Brice HOWARD,
who was hired and paid by John FLORENCE. Sylvester TIPTON
taught school in the same cabin, after Howard.
Horatio KEYS also taught about the same time. Mr.
TIPTON came from Virginia to Ohio, about 1796. Rev.
George AMBROSE came about 1820, and taught a school on the west
side of Darby creek, near Darbyville. He was a Baptist
preacher, and preached in the adjacent country, and at an early
date. Mr. Abbott taught school about 1816, or 1818.
James Rice taught school on the Muhlenberg farm about 1817,
in the fall. It is not known who was the first white person
born in the township. It is believed there were births in the
families of some of the squatters before actual settlers came in and
took possession of the land. The first death that occurred in
the neighborhood, was a child a Jonathan RENICK, named
SEYMOUR. This death occurred in 1805. An infant
daughter of Judge FLORENCE's died in November, 1806, the fall
after the family came to the new country, and was the first person
buried in the Florence burial ground. The first physician
employed in the township was Dr. SCOTT, of Chillicothe.
This was previous to 1810. Drs. TURNEY, WEBB, and
LUCKEY, came to Circleville about 1810. Dr. RAFE, a
Frenchman, came to the township and settled in Darbyville about 1826
or 1827. The first marriage, that can be recalled, in the
neighbor, was that of Anthony HALL and Polly WOOD,
in 1806. Early settlers obtained flour and meal from a
mill on Darby creek, in Jackson township, and about seven miles from
the present town of Darbyville, or from a mill on the upper part of
the same stream, in Franklin county. The first of these mills
was built about 1802 or 1803. The other a little later.
The first orchard planted in Muhlenberg township, was on the place
of Van METER. This was set out in about 1808.
Eleazer SMITH had a blacksmith shop on Darby creek, below
Darbyville, about 1808. The first shop in the town of
Darbyville, was erected about 1826. A store for the sale of
general merchandise was opened by Samuel SCOTT, in
Darbyville, about 1826 or 1827. A grocery store was opened,
about 1827 or 1828, by George HILL and J. P. HILL.
A blacksmith shop was run in Darbyville, in 1826, by Charles
McFETERS, a mulatto. The first post-office was kept in
Darbyville in 1827. Rev. George AMBROSE was the first
postmaster. The present postmaster is James D. MILLER.
Before this post-office was opened mail was sent to Circleville, and
obtained from that office. The first survey for a township was
made by Judge FLORENCE, in 1826, or 1827. It was
afterwards again surveyed by Mr. NESBETH, of Ross County.
The first justice of the peace in Muhlenberg township, was
William HILL, sr., who came, in 1815, to Virginia. The
first election for township officers was probably held, in 1830 or
1831, soon after the formation of the township. The earlier
records are lost, and it is impossible to obtain positive proof of
the date of this election. A tannery was started by John
SHEPARD about 1819, which he kept in operation until his death,
some years later. His son, Abram SHEPARD, continued it
until about 1838, when it was abandoned. James MAGILL
started a tannery about 1834, which he run for some twenty years,
until he became very dissipated, and allowed a large number of
hides to spoil, since which time it has not been in operation.
A saw-mill was built on the farm of Francis HILL, a little
below Darbyville, about 1820. In 1831 a run of stone was put
in for grinding purposes. Mr. HILL died, and, in 1835,
Jonathan BLUE rented the property and put in a wool-carding
machine. It was afterwards rented by others, and was finally
sold, about 1844, to Jacob MEASY, This mill has been in
operation for many years, and was torn down on the completion of the
mill in Darbyville, in 1877.
The names and the dates of arrival of many of many of the settlers
in this then new country, have been lost in oblivion. No
record of their heroic self-sacrifices has been kept, and most of
those who came into the western wilds have passed away. The
oldest of the early settlers now living is Col. Elias FLORENCE,
now in his eighty-fourth year, but with a mind still alive, and
stored with memories of those early days when, a boy, he frolicked
with the Indians boys, practiced at shooting with their bows and
arrows, and assisted in the sterner duties for redeeming a fertile
soil form the dense growth of forest covering it. To his
recollection of early events we rely for much of the history of the
early settlement of Muhlenberg township. It is more then
history of a neighborhood than of a township as until 1830 it was
not known as a township, but was included in the limits of Jackson,
Scioto, Darby, and Monroe townships.
METER came to the "Old Station," near
Chillicothe, about 1806, and from thence to this township in 1807,
where he purchased twelve hundred acres of land, a part of which is
now occupied by Col. Elias FLORENCE, and a part is owned by
Philip RENICK. Mr. Van METER married a daughter of
John RENICK. But few of his descendants live in this
vicinity at present. He died in 1820, and was buried in a
neighboring burying-ground, a short distance west of Col.
FLORENCE's, and on a hill overlooking the creek bottoms."
JOHN and DAVID MARTIN
had a cabin on the creek at a very early date. They owned no
land, and lived much as the Indians did - from hand to mouth.
They did not remain long.
WIDOW BURGETT, with a son, Daniel, and
four daughters, lived on Darby creek for a number of years, when
they left for some other location.
CORNELIUS and WILLIAM POULSON and
another brother, settled in Darby township at an early day.
MR. GALBREATH came to the township as early as
1806, and settled on the old Federal road, east of Darbyville.
His son Robert lives on the Galbreath road at this time.
SWANK came from Germany to Maryland, where
he remained some time, coming to Ohio in 1806. He never owned
much property here. He was always ready for a frolic or
merry-making. He had four sons - Peter, Adam, David,
and William. John SWANK, a descendant of his, now lives
in this township.
JOHN RUSH and family, consisting of wife and
several children, owned fifty acres of land on Darby creek, about
1805. They remained three or four years, when they moved to
STUDEBAKER and wife came about 1806, and
settled on the creek. He was quite a hunter, and never owned
any land. About Christmas time, one season, he found eighteen
bee-trees in one day. He remained four or five years, when the
roving disposition again seized him, and he moved elsewhere.
PRITCHARD settled on Dry run about 1806,
where he owned or occupied two hundred acres of land, and made some
improvements, but obtained no title to the land. He also
bought about one hundred and fifty acres additional. He died
about 1820. His family were rather a bad lot, and left the
country soon after his death.
WILLIAM FLORENCE came from Virginia to
Ohio, arriving here April 9, 1906. He was detained east of the
Scioto river a few days by high water. He occupied a cabin on
John Renick's place for a short time, when he bought a part
of the Muhlenberg tract, about one hundred acres, of a Mr. Wilson,
who then owned it. He afterwards purchased more land,
until he owned some seventeen or eighteen hundred acres. Judge
Florence, Jonathan Holmes, and Daniel LUDWICK, were the first
county commissioners of Pickaway county. He was twice elected
to the legislature, in 1816 and 1817, serving the first year the
legislature met at Columbus. He was elected associate judge by
the legislature, in 1828, and served two terms. He died in
1870, aged ninety-six. His children were Elias, Robinson,
William, Nancy, Salley, Betsey, Mary, and Kittie, who
died when an infant.
JOHN and DAVID SHEPARD came to this
township from Chillicothe, about 1807. David SHEPARD
was at one time sheriff of Ross county, but unfortunate investments
had taken all his property. Colonel LANGHAM, a friend
of his, gave him three hundred acres of land, which was deeded to
his son, John B. SHEPARD. Colonel FLORENCE afterwards
bought this property.
JOHN SHEPARD came about 1807.
He married a daughter of Isaac Van Meter, and with her
received three hundred acres of land. He lived near the
saw-mill, just below Darbyville, where his wife died, after which he
moved to Illinois, and died there.
PARNICK GEORGE came from Virginia
about the same time as Isaac VAN METER, in 1807, and bought
land above Darbyville. He married Catharine Van Meter.
He was justice of the peace two terms.
WILLIAM SEYMOUR came from Ross county, about
1808. He was once the owner of considerable property there, but lot
most of it during the great flood of 1804. He settled in the
north part of Muhlenberg township, on Darby creek. He was one
of the early associate judges of the common pleas court, to which
office he was elected by the legislature, about 1810. His
children were: Catharine, Elizabeth, Margaret,
Minerva, Hannah, Polly, Richard, Abel, Adam and Jonathan.
Margaret is still living, and is the wife of Dr. HILL, of
Terre Haute, Indiana; Polly married Gustavus PERREL,
of Madison township, this county, where she still lives.
GEORGE ROWE came into the country before 1812.
In 1813 or 1814, he bought land on Dry run, the title to which
proved defective, and he came near losing it. He finally
compromised with the legal owner, and retained the property, on
which he resided until his death.
WILLIAM HILL came from Hampshire county,
Virginia, in 1815, with his family, consisting of wife and eight
children, four boys, and four girls. Of these, five are now
living. They fitted up a small cabin, about twelve by fourteen
feet in size, east of Darby creek, in which they laid a rough floor.
Three of the older boys fixed up a shelter which had been used as a
sheep pen, and occupied it for a time, without a floor. They
then built a house about eighteen by twenty feet, and had it ready
to occupy about Christmas. There was a saw-mill on the creek,
at which they procured boards for the floor of the new cabin.
The next spring they had about five acres cleared, and rented
besides this about twelve acres on the Muhlenberg farm, across the
creek. Their corn was almost ruined by worms some seasons.
Mr. HILL died Apr. 25, 1849, aged seventy-three years.
His wife was Margaret FLORENCE, of Fauquier county, Virginia.
Of their children, William, Thomas, and Robert, live
in Muhlenberg township, and are now aged men; Mrs. KINNEAR
lives in Columbus; and Mrs. Elizabeth HAMILTON, in
HILL, jr., son of the above-mentioned
William HILL, came with his father's family in 1815. At
the time of their arrival, there was some land cleared along the
creek bottoms, but none between Darby creek and the Scioto river.
Wolves and deer were plenty. As many as three deer were killed
by his father in one morning. There was a large pond above
Darbyville, where the deer went to eat moss and to drink. They
were sometimes hunted by placing a candle in the bow of a canoe,
when a board, or piece of bark, behind it to avoid showing the
hunter, when they could be approached very closely, and shot.
Mr. HILL married Susan GILLILAND, in Darby township,
in 1833. They had four sons and five daughters, as follows:
Albert, Sarah, Catharine, Coleman, Henry C., Ann, Elizabeth,
Frank and Margaret. Coleman died Apr. 13, 1864,
while a soldier in the war of the Rebellion. Albert and
Henry each served three years as soldiers in the war. Of
the nine children, eight are now living: three, Henry
Margaret, and Ann, on the old homestead in the east part
of the township. Mr. HILL is now seventy-nine years of
LEROY HILL, a brother of William HILL, sr.,
came with his wife, at the same time, in 1815, and bought something
over two hundred acres of and. In this party of new settlers
there were twenty-five persons, including children, who emigrated
from Virginia. All settled in this neighborhood.
Leroy HILL afterwards moved to Clark county with his
family, where he died in 1819.
ROBERT HILL, another brother, with a wife and
two children, came at the same time. With his two brothers he
bought five hundred acres of land, on which he remained eight or
nine years, when he sold to William and removed to the Little
Miami country, where he died some time after 1836.
THOMAS HILL, son of William HILL, sr.,
came with his father's family in 1815. May 18, 1845, he was
married to Julia SHARP, who came from New York State to Ohio.
They have a good farm of two hundred and twelve acres in the eastern
part of the town, and are comfortably situated in their old age.
They did their part in clearing the country of the heavy timber with
which it was covered, and now have their reward, cheered by the love
and care of their children, of whom they have had nine. Two
remain at home, and one is married and lives near home.
FRANCIS HILL came at the same time as the rest
of the family, in 1815, and, at his father's death, inherited a part
of his estate. He married, and raised seven children - five
girls and two boys. Of these, three girls live in the county:
Sarah, who married Robert GALBREATH, and lives on the
Galbreath road, east of Darbyville; Ann, who married Mr.
MONTGOMERY, and lives in Jackson township; and Matilda,
who married Jonathan BLUE, and now lives in Bloomfield,
day an Indian came to the school-house, near the creek, where
William HILL was working, to see what the white children were
doing. As he entered he handed his knife and tomahawk to
Mr. RICE, who laid them on the desk. The children were
very much frightened, and ran out of doors to hide. William
HILL, with his two oldest boys, were husking corn near the
school-house, and seeing that the children were much frightened,
inquired the cause. They imagined the Indian had killed the
teacher, and, in a few minutes, two or three of the neighbors
arrived, armed with axes, and one with a gun. By this time the
Indian had come out where Mr. HILL was, and was looking at
the horses. The man with the gun presented it at the Indian's
head, and would have shot him, had not Mr. HILL thrown the
weapon aside. He was determined to kill the Indian, until
Mr. HILL suggested, in a forcible manner, that they find out
whether the teacher was killed, before murdering the Indian.
On arriving at the school-house, the matter was explained by Mr.
RICE, the teacher. It was a narrow escape for the Indian,
and had he been killed, would have resulted disastrously for the
After this affair was over, the Indian told Mr. HILL
that seven Indians had gone to his house. Mr. HILL was
considerably frightened as nearly all his family were sick, and he
did not known what the Indians might do. He hastened home,
where he found things all quiet. Mr. HILL's sister was
baking bread, his eldest daughter assisting her. The Indian
asked for bread, and was given a loaf, fresh from the oven, and
smoking hot, which he wrapped in his blanket. He was then
asked if he wanted meat, when he replied, "No hog, ho hog," and
Francis MUHLENBERG, a younger son of General
Peter MUHLENBERG, came to Ohio about the year 1820. For a
number of years he lived in the family of Judge FLORENCE.
He came into possession of about sixteen hundred acres of land
owned by his father, and married Mary DENNY, with whom he
lived about two years, when he died, childless. In politics he
was a Democrat, but being a man much respected, he was elected to
the legislature on the Whig ticket, in 1823. In 1825 or 1826,
he was elected to congress, and served one year, declining to serve
the second year of his term. The township of Muhlenberg, in
which he lived, was so named in honor of him.
Major MUHLENBERG, brother of Francis, and
an officer in the regular army, lost his wife in the east, and came
to Ohio, remaining in the family of Judge FLORENCE until the
marriage of his brother, after which he lived with him until his
death, when he returned to Reading, Pennsylvania, where he died.
Arthur Whiteside taught school many years in
this neighborhood, and, being a frugal man, saved money until he was
able to buy three hundred acres of land in Darbyville, where he
afterwards resided. His widow lives with a daughter of New
Holland, his county. A daughter, Mrs. GIRTON, now lives
with her husband in Darbyville. Mr. WHITESIDE's father,
Andrew WHITESIDE, came, originally, from Ireland, and bought
land in Jackson township, about 1824, where he died.
Alexander McKINLEY came to this township about
the year 1825. John McKINLEY and Jacob YOAKUM
came about the same time. They bought a part of the tract of
land owned by Judge Seymour.
Jacob YOAKUM served in the war of 1812. He
settled on land in the north part of Muhlenberg, and the south part
of Darby townships, which he cleared, and where he died in 1878,
at an advanced age. His widow now lives on the same property.
Charles BELL settled in the northwest part of
the township in about 1825. He built the house, or a portion
of it, and is now owned by Thomas DARST, and situated on
Henry DARST came from Maryland to Ohio in 1805,
and settled in Lancaster, Fairfield county, where he remained for a
time, when he removed to Perry county, and from there to Muskingum
county. In 1835 or '36, he came to Pickaway county, and
located in Circleville, where he kept hotel three years. He
then purchased five hundred acres of land in the northwest part of
Muhlenberg township, on which he remained until his death. The
farm he then bought is now occupied by his sons, Gideon and
Gideon. Another brother Thomas, lives in the north
part of the township, on the creek, and Ira DARST
lives on the farm half a mile above Darbyville, on the pike.
William FULLEN came from Rockbridge
County, Virginia, with his father, who settled on Deer creek, about
ten miles from Chillicothe. He came to Pickaway county in
1827, where he bought land, about 1834, near Darbyville. He
owned several hundred acres of land, and now lives with his children
on a farm of two hundred and seventy acres. He has been twice
married, and has raised eleven children. He was a soldier in the war
of 1812. Only two of his children by his first wife are now
living - James, who lives on a part of his farm near
Darbyville, and Jackson who lives in Darby township. Of
his second wife's children: Mary married James
BROWN; Lucy married Ezra STONEROCK; Richard lives at
home, in Darbyville, where he keeps a livery stable, and the younger
children also live at home. Mr. FULLEN made money
handling stock. He would sometimes take three droves of cattle
and one of hogs across the mountains in a single season; and though
he has lost considerable money by signing notes as security, he
still has a good property.
Able Seymour came to Ohio and settled, in 1827,
on a part of Judge SEYMOUR's tract. He was married near
Baltimore, Maryland, in that year, and both he and his wife came
from that place to Ohio on horseback. Before his marriage he
was a drover. He was a son of Judge SEYMOUR, and
inherited a part of his property. He died in 1872, aged nearly
seventy-five years. His widow, Mrs. Mary A. SEYMOUR, lives
on the farm he left, which contains over two hundred acres.
They had no children, and a nephew - Seymour GULICK- whom
they brought up, lives with her and manages to farm. Mrs.
SEYMOUR, now sixty-nine years of age, has crossed the mountains
on horseback five times. She is a member of the Methodist
church at Darbyville. At an early day she used to attend
preaching services and class-meetings at John McKINLEY's,
near the north line of the township, once in two weeks. For
several years before the church was built at Darbyville the
school-house at that place was used as a place of worship.
Mrs. SEYMOUR is still able to use the old-fashioned
Jacob THORN came to Ross county about 1808.
He moved to this township about 1834, living on rented farms for
many years before buying. He finally bought a farm in the east
part of the township, about two miles from Darbyville. He
married while in Ross county, and had eight children, six of whom
lived to maturity. Three - John, Frederick, and
William D. - are now residents of this township, Frederick
occupying the old homestead. The original farm was two hundred
and sixty acres, mostly covered with heavy timber; now there are
only about twenty acres in timber. Jacob Thorn was an
abolitionist, but did not keep a station on the underground
railroad. He died in 1870, aged eighty-one years. His
wife died in 1867, aged seventy-four years.
John McKINLEY came from Virginia about 1819, and
settled about three miles above Darbyville, in the northwest part of
the township, where he bought a farm. In 1849 he moved about
half a mile above Darbyville, where he died in April, 1876, aged
seventy-nine years. At his death he owned about seven hundred
acres of land. His widow now occupies the farm, which is
worked by his nephews.
George W. BOLIN came from Berkeley county,
Virginia, to Ohio, in 1835. For some years after coming to
this State he remained in Circleville, working at his trade, which
was that of a carpenter. In 1841 he bought the farm he now
lives on, in the northwest part of the township. When he
purchased it there was no clearing, but the hard labor of his own
hands, with the help of his sons, has cleared the land, and he now
has a good home. His wife was Mrs. McILVAINE, to whom
he was married in 1831. They have four sons and one daughter.
Isaac SEYMOUR came to this township in 1835, and
bought one hundred and two acres in the north part of the township,
east of Darby creek. It was mostly in timber when he purchased
it, but is now a fine farm. He has raised seven children, of
whom six are now living.
Baldwin Clifton CARPENTER came from Fleming
county, Kentucky, in 1837, bringing with him a small herd of cattle.
In the spring of 1838 he engaged in the general mercantile business
in Darbyville, at which he continued for a few years at a time,
until about 1857. During this time he was in partnership with
several different persons, and a part of the time was out of
business, and dealt in cattle. He now owns some thirteen
hundred acres of land. He was married in 1829, and has had
nine children, one of whom died quite young; two are married; the
rest live at home in Darbyville.
Alexander McKINLEY came to this township in 1839
or 1840. He bought eight hundred acres of land in the northwest
corner of the township. He was married in 1849, and raised
twelve children. He died in 1873. Mrs. McKINLEY
manages the farm with the help of her sons, and has now five hundred
acres of land.
William Avery MILLER came to Darbyville in 1840,
and engaged in the tinning business. In 1855 he engaged in a
general mercantile business with his brother-in-law, Samuel H.
THOMPSON. Mr. THOMPSON went west in 1860, and Mr.
MILLER continued the business until his death, when he was
succeeded by his son, James D. MILLER who still conducts the
business, in connection with the post-office.
Mr. Joseph A. PRITCHARD came to Muhlenberg with
his wife, in 1844. He bought nearly three hundred acres of
land on the Columbus pike, in the northeast part of the township.
He was a local Methodist preacher, and held meetings in the country,
and assisted at protracted meetings. They had eleven children,
all of whom now lie in the cemetery. Two sons and one adopted
son died in the army, and one son died while attending school at
Delaware. Mr. PRITCHARD died Feb. 16, 1863, aged
fifty-four years. Mrs. Matilda PRITCHARD, his wife, now
lives in Darbyville, saddened by the great losses she has sustained,
but cheered by the blessed hope of meeting her loved ones in a
It was no very unusual ting for the new settlers in a wilderness of
timber to become somewhat dazed and lost when they had occasion,
Mr. Isaac Van METER, then well along in years, mounted his horse
and rode into the woods to gather in some of his hogs that had been
fattening on "shack," as acorns and beechnuts were called. He
was gone much longer than expected, and his family became alarmed
and instituted a search for him. The neighbors were called on,
and after some time found him about three miles from home, near what
is now known as Robtown. He had dismounted and tied his horse
to a bush, and was engaged in whipping a pole cat around with a
little switch. When asked what he was doing that for, he
replied that "he became so very cold in riding that he had to do
something to keep warm, and it occurred to him that if he whipped
that pole-cat about for a while he would get warmed up." The
general verdict of the searching party was that he had become
pretty well "warmed up," as they returned home, carefully keeping
the windward side of him.
ENCOUNTERS WITH BEARS.
For a number of years after the
early settlement of the country many wild animals remained,
including bears, wolves, foxes, deer, and smaller animals.
Bears were not very plentiful, but were occasionally met with.
Miss Ellen HILL, a sister of William and Thomas HILL
(who are now residents of this township), when a young girl, was
sent into the field to pick corn and beans for dinner. While
engaged in this work she heard a noise near her, and looking around
discovered a large bear sitting up on his haunches but a few feet
from her. Her screams of terror put him to flight and called
the family to the field, where were to be seen the large tracks he
made in the moist earth.
Thomas ROBERTS was a settler on the upper Darby,
in 1836. He lived near Georgesville, Franklin County. On
one occasion he was riding his horse across the prairie, below the
DARST farm, in Muhlenberg township, when he came across a
large bear. He had no weapon but a tomahawk and knife, but
concluded to have some sport; so he chased the bear through the tall
grass until it was nearly tired out, and he found that by heading it
off occasionally he could drive it where he wished. He
accordingly headed it toward home, and when near enough to be heard,
called his large bear dog, which came and furiously attacked the
bears. Mr. ROBERTS could not remain quiet and see his
dog torn in pieces by the bear, which had seized it in its strong
embrace. He jumped from his horse, and struck at the
bear with his tomahawk, which was knocked out of his hand, and the
huge animal came to close quarters, and would have soon torn him in
pieces had not a fortunate thrust of his knife pierced his heart and
terminated the fight. His dog was seriously injured in the
first attack, but was cared for as such a faithful creature should
be, and recovered.
For a number of years after the first settlement was made there was
no physician nearer than Chillicothe. When the services of a
physician were required, as was frequently the case in the new
country, a message was dispatched to Dr. Scott, of that
place, until so late as 1810. In that year Drs. TURNEY.
WEB, and LUCKEY, settled in Circleville, and being good
physicians, and more convenient of access, they were employed.
In 1826 Dr. RAFE, a Frenchman, settled at Darbyville, where
he remained some years, until his death. He was a weak little
man of no great force, and very slack in collecting his bills, and
just as slack in paying his debts. It was frequently the case
that a creditor, to secure his debt, would attach the doctor's
faithful horse, "Botherum." When this happened he would call
on Colonel FLORENCE helped him out of this trouble many
Dr. NOBLE and Dr. WILSON came later, and for
some years dealt out calomel, jalap, aloes, and the nauseating drugs
so extensively used in those days, as the needs of their patients
Dr. James ALLEN settled in Darbyville about
1833. He was born in Pennsylvania about 1803, and came down
the Ohio river with his father in 1812, settling in Fayette county,
where his father bought a small farm. About 1824, Dr. ALLEN
read medicine with Dr. TOLAND of London, Madison county.
He was examined by the president and members of the eighth radical
district of Ohio, in 1827, and granted a diploma, after which he
practiced for a time in Frankfort, Ross county. In 1833 he
moved moved to Darbyville, where he continued his practice for
twenty-two years. He accumulated considerable property by
careful, straightforward, economical habits, and bought nine hundred
acres of land in Muhlenberg and Darby townships. He moved to
his farm in 1853, and remained there a year, when he again moved to
London, Madison county, where he died, July 8, 1867. His son,
James ALLEN, now lives on a part of his estate, and ownes
a fine stud of young horses, which he has in training for the turf.
Dr. Richard H. TIPTON began the study of
medicine with Dr. SISSON, of Columbus in 1841, and attended
lectures in Cincinnati one year, when he went to Philadelphia, where
he graduated in 1850. He began the practice of medicine in
Darbyville, in 1846, before graduating, and after receiving his
diploma returned. He has since remained in Darbyville, except
during the war, when he entered the service as surgeon of the
Ninetieth Ohio infantry, serving in all the campaigns in which the
regiment participated, and was in charge of the field hospital of
the first division of the Fourth army corps one and one-half years.
At the close of the war he resumed his practice in Darbyville, where
he has since remained.
Dr. F. M. BLACK began the study of medicine with
Dr. P. K. HULL, of Circleville, in 149, and graduated from
Starling medical college, at Columbus, in 1852. He first began
practice in Williamsport, but came to Darbyville in 1853, and
entered into partnership with Dr. James ALLEN. He owns
a large farm in the north part of the township, and is an extensive
stock raiser, having a fine herd of short-horn cattle, which he
bought in Kentucky, in 1875. He entered the army as captain of
company A, Ninetieth regiment Ohio volunteer infantry, in July 1862,
and served until December, of the same year, when he resigned.
Dr. BLACK has a very lucrative practice, and has accumulated
a good property.
The corporation of Darbyville was
platted July 27, 1826. It was laid out on land formerly
entered, surveyed, and patented by Cornelius BALDWIN, on the
west side of Darby creek, and hear the center of the present
township of Muhlenberg. The plat was surveyed for George
HILL, who owned the land east of Main street, and David
THOMAS, who owned the land on the west side of said street.
The surveyor was Joel WALKER. We are unable to
ascertain the names of the first officers. The present
officers are: R. H. TIPTON, Mayor; T. H. CARPENTER,
clerk; I. W. McCALLISTER, treasurer; H. C. PLUMMER, Jacob
MILLER, W. H. KIRKENDALL, councilmen; Felix RADCLIFF,
marshall and street commissioner.
The business of the village is represented by the
following persons: J. D. MILLER, general merchandise;
W. H. KIRKENDALL, general merchandise; James A. CLAY
general merchandise; Henry C. PLUMMER and Thomas J. MILLER,
blacksmiths; David DORNSIFER and C. A. Buzzy,
wagon-makers; S. W. Brown and J. A. Pickerieng,
harness-makers; Jacob MILLER, hotel; R. H. Tipton, F. M.
BLACK, and J. T. Kirkendall, physicians; Richard
FULLEN, livery; BROOKS & BIRTON, saw and grist mill;
George WEHE and W. H. BURCHNELL, shoemakers.
The first ground used for this purpose was on the farm of
Judge William FLORENCE, on the south side of the creek, below
Darbyville. An infant daughter of Judge FLORENCE was
buried here in 1806. One was afterwards made on the Van
METER place, west of Colonel FLORENCE's Present
residence, and another of Judge SEYMOUR's place, near where
Joseph WRIGHT now lives. Several others were used in
various parts of the township, and at the present time there are no
less than eight burial places to be found. In 1875, the
corporation of Darbyville bought five acres of ground, just below
the town, on the pike, and opened a general township cemetery.
This lot cost them seven hundred and fifty dollars, and, in time,
will be made a beautiful ground. At present, it is in a crude
The Baptist church was established about 1820 or 1825, by Adam
MILLER, who came from Fairfield county. Meetings were at
first held in the house of George HILL, until the
school-house was built, soon after, when an addition was built to it
and used for divine service by the Baptists, Methodists, and
Presbyterians. This church finally went to decay, and of the
members who were left, some went into Scioto Township, and joined a
church that was formed at a later date. Rev. George Ambrose
preached in the school-house about 1830. He went south for a
time, and on his return, was seized with the cholera, and died.
A branch of the Presbyterian church was organized about
1825. Service was held at different houses in the
neighborhood, during the winter season, and in the summer a pleasant
grove was selected, and logs were rolled together for seats for the
congregation. The Darbyville school-house was used, after its
completion, for some years. In 1842, a church was erected near
the line, in Jackson township, and the people have since attended
service at that house.
Occasional services, by laymen, of the Methodist
denomination, were held at an early day, in some parts of the town.
Preaching service was had at Mr. McKINLEY's as early as 1826,
and afterwards at the school-house in Darbyville. The exact
date of the church organization can not now be ascertained. It
was first called London circuit, then Franklin, and then Darbyville.
It has now four appointments: Commercial Point, Renick chapel,
Concord, and Darbyville. The church in the latter place was
begun in 1842, and completed in 1844, since which time it has been
used for worship. The preacher for 1879 is Rev. R. CALAHAN.
In the spring of 1878, a branch
organization of the African Methodist Episcopal church was perfected
at Darbyville. For a number of years services have been held
at the school-house in the village, by John DICKINSON
Some of the persons interested in the formation of this church
assisted at the building of the school-house, with the understanding
that it should be used by them as a church. The first
quarterly meeting was held there soon after its organization.
It is expected that it will be made a mission and supplied from
Circleville, at the next session of conference. The present
minister is Rev. R. H. Morris, of Circleville.
This township is well provided with schools, and has been from a
comparatively early date. In 1855 a union school district was
set off in the village of Darbyville, and has, since that time been
maintained. It was organized April 9, 1853, by the election of
three trustees: Rev. John McKINLEY, for three years; David
YATES, two years, and Isaac George, own year, with
S. H. THOMPSON, clerk. Four hundred dollars were
appropriated for a building fund - three hundred and fifty for
tuition, and fifty for incidental expenses. A school building
was erected the same year, at a cost of fifteen hundred dollars.
In 1867 a second story was added to the building, to be used as a
school hall, at an expense of four hundred dollars. The school
is under the superintendence of I. W. McCALLISTER, who has
been in charge two years, as well as three years about 1869 to 1872.
Mrs. PICKERING is his assistant, and has been employed three
years. The school has an average attendance of about ninety,
during the summer, and one hundred, during the winter.
A school is kept up in Darbyville, by the township, for
the education of the colored children and youth. The building
was erected in 1872, at a cost of six hundred and thirty-two
dollars. The school is taught by John R. GIBSON, who
has been a student at Wilberforce university, Xenia. At the
present time, twenty-six names are enrolled, with an average
attendance of about sixteen.
There are but two societies in the township, both located in
Good Samaritan Grange, Patrons of Husbandry, was organized in Monroe
township, in 1874, but was afterwards changed to Darbyville.
Its sessions were first held in the school hall, but, in 1875, the
funds in the treasury and such as were raised by means of festivals,
were combined with such as were furnished by the Good Templars'
organization, and appropriated to the erection of hall over the town
house. This hall has since been used when the society has held
meetings. For some time past no regular meetings have been
held, and but little interest in the society is manifest.
A lodge of the Independent Order of Good Templars No. 494, was
organized under a charter issued in 1875. The charter members
were: W. H. KIRKENDALL, Rev. W. CHERRINGTON and wife, H. H.
RADCLIFF and wife, James A. MILLER, David DORNSIFER, John WEHE and
wife, Lou J. PICKERING, Roswell MOORE and wife, Ann BROWN, Cora
SEYMOUR, Seyour RADCLIFF, Emma MILLER, Catharine BEATHARD, Effie
PRITCHARD, Matilda PRITCHARD, Robert GALBREATH, Charles WEHE.
The present officers are: Alfred BROOKS, W. C.;
Lou J. PICKERING, W. V.; W. H. KIRKENDALL, P. W. C.;
Simon CARPENTER, R. S.; Ed. MURPHY, F. S.; Emma
PICKERING, W. T.; John WHITE W. M.; Katy FISSEL,
D. M.; Effie GIRTON, I. G.; W. L. WILLEY, O. G.;
Mrs. BEATHARD, R. H. S.; Lucy BROWN, L. H. S.; Cora
SEYMOUR, W. D.. This society owns a half interest in the
hall over the town house, and is in a flourishing condition.
It has now fifty-one members.
A company was organized in 1832, for
the purpose of importing blooded cattle, and thereby improving the
stock of the country. Colonel Elias FLORENCE was one of
the stockholders interested. The existence of the corporation
was to terminate in five years. Two men, of good judgment,
were selected to go to England and purchase such stock as was
required, which, in due time, arrived. It comprised of sixteen
bulls and twenty cows, and through them a great improvement was made
in the stock raised and shipped to the east. On the expiration
of the time for which the corporation was organized, the stock was
bought by Colonel FLORENCE, and others, and
descendants of that herd were to be found on many farms in the
vicinity in later years.