The soil of Franklin is generally
thin. With the exception of along the branches, as
Stony creek, etc., the lands next to Chillicothe, along
the Ohio canal, are reasonably good. One side of
the township is bounded by this canal and the Scioto
river. At this portion of the township, on the
river, there is a large and beautiful bottom, which, for
richness of soil, can not be surpassed by any lands in
Ross county, or perhaps the State. It is owned
principally by Messrs. Foster, Davis, and
Higby. The first settlements in the township
were made on the river. The other portions of the
township were very little settled for several years
afterward. The larger portion of this territory is
very broken and hilly. There are no pikes in the
township and the roads are generally bad, the canal
being the principal outlet for exporting their grain,
cord wood, tan bark, etc. A good road along the
bank of this canal is needed badly. The timber is
principally oak of the different varieties.
Present Township Officers.
Justices of the Peace,
Elias Schamehorn and Samuel Wood; Treasurer,
J. C. Foster; Trustees, Wm. McGayer, T. C.
Foster, and David Crockett; Clerk, C.
D. Higby; Constables, James Dawson
and Jacob Piles. Post office Alma.
John Foster's Reminiscences.
father came to Ohio in the year 1796, on an exploring
expedition. He first went to Kentucky to see his
brother-in-law, whose name was Cheneworth. He came
up the Ohio river to the mouth of the Scioto, and up the
Scioto in a canoe. In 1798 he emigrated with his
family to Ohio from Cumberland county, Md. He
first settled in Ross county, now Cumberland county, Md.
He first settled in Ross county, now Pike. From
there he removed to the farm (where Colonel Foster
is now living) on the banks of the Scioto, and lived in
a log cabin about one year, and then built a hewed log
house, the first house of the kind erected in the
township. It is now standing and in good
condition. Mr. Thomas Foster's family
consisted of eight children, six daughters and two sons,
John and Joseph. The latter lied in
the State of Indiana, in 1864 or 1865, at the age of
seventy years. John was born Aug. 4, 1801.
He has lived in the township all his life, He is a
practical farmer, and one of the representative men of
that great interest. His father had five brothers,
Thomas, John, Benjamin, Joseph, and Richard.
Richard was the first settler of Franklin township,
when all was a dense wilderness, filled with wild
animals of all kinds. Colonel Foster has
been several offices during his lifetime, both civil and
Military. He represented the county in the
legislature in 1848; was associate judge for a short
time, when he resigned; was colonel of militia for
several years, and held township offices, etc., for many
years. His family consists of nine children, all
living, to-wit: Joseph, William R., Mary Davis,
Thomas, Jane Davis, John W., James P., Samuel D.,
major in late rebellion, and Rebecca Ann.
Rev. John Foster, of the M. E. Church, uncle of
Colonel Foster, was born in 1771, died in 1839, was
in the war of 1812 as captain of a company, and was
father of twelve children, to wit: Sarah, Ruth,
Catherine, Betsy, Joseph, John, Casandra, Mary, Rachel,
Thomas, Rebecca and Nancy. Lewis
Foster, another uncle, was born Dec. 26, 1760, and
died at the age of ninety-two or three. Colonel
Foster's father and his father were the first white
men who rowed the canoe up the Scioto river. A
Mr. Cheneworth came to Ohio the summer before Mr.
Foster, but they came in wagons. T. C.
Foster, son of Colonel Foster, has seven
children, to-wit: Martha, Hannah, James, John,
William and George. James served from
August, 1861, to January, 1866, in the late rebellion,
33d, 53d, and 59th Ohio Volunteers, and some months in
an Illinois regiment the last year of the rebellion, and
six months on Veatch's staff; was major of regiment
eighteen months; was at the battle of Shiloh, siege of
Corinth, battle of Corinth, and in Sturgis' defeat and
battle of Tallulah, and is now treasurer of the
township. Colonel Foster has forty-five
grand-children and two great-grandchildren.
List of Old Settlers - By
was justice of the peace for twenty-three years;
James Greearly, first school teacher; Quin
Collins Goddard; Samuel Wilson built first mill;
Richard Tomlinson, hotel-keeper at Three Locks or
State dam, was justice for several years, captain of
militia, auctioneer, etc.; John and George Pushon
were in the war of 1812; William Ridenger; Enos
Moore; John Beauman; Elias Scammehorn justice of the
peace for many years; Joseph Crockett, one of the
first settlers on Stony creek; Jonathan Swyers;
Daniel Swyers was a Revolutionary soldier and was at
the battle of Lundy Lane; Allen Nixon; Thomas
Louzatta; Saul Phillips; Benjamin Phillips; J. E. Higby,
extensive farmer on the river, and father-in-law of
Hon. J. H. Keith of Chillicothe; Sylvester Higby,
a justice of the peace for several years, held other
township offices; Samuel Wood held township
offices was justice of the peace, etc.; Peter Bennett
held township offices, and was captain of militia; S.
O. Barker, justice of the peace for many years,
township clerk, etc.; James Pry; Edward
Hurdell. Joseph Hern emigrated to Ohio from
Germany in 1817; Mr. Hern was a soldier under
Bonaparte, and was at Strasburg when Bonaparte
was driven back from Russia. He went as a
substitute for his brother, who is now drawing a yearly
pension for his services, which Mr. Hern seems to
think unjust. He will be seventy years old in
April next, and is hale and hearty, and looks as though
he might live that much longer; he is a farmer, and
keeps also a grocery store on the banks of the Ohio
canal. Just below Mr. Hern's grocery are
the three locks and the State dam across the Scioto
river. The dam is nearly one hundred yards in
length, and is quite a resort for fishing parties, and
Mr. Hernis always prepared to entertain guests on
those occasions in the best style, with anything they
may call for. Thomas Tomlinson was the
first lock tender, and Richard Tomlinson was the
first grocer, at these locks.
Mr. James Davis'
His father emigrated to Ohio in 1808, and settled
on the high banks of the Scioto. His family
consisted of eight children, to-wit: William,
Lotha, James, Hannah, Mary, George, Charles and
Louisa. They removed to Franklin township
about 1815. He has held township offices in
different capacities almost all his life. He used
to be a flatboatman, and take his boats to Natchez and
New Orleans trading. This occupation he followed
for many years. He would sell his cargo and boats,
and then foot it home. James has held
different township offices. On his father's farm
there was an old Indian burying ground, containing at
first about twenty acres, which has from time to time
been diminished by the washing away of the bank by the
river, and is now almost extinct. They used to
find many human bones, beads, etc., near and on the
ground occupied by this graveyard. There are on
the farm some four or five ancient works of different
shapes and sizes, and some of them of considerable
extent. There is also on this farm a salt spring
or deer lick. On James Davis' farm, some
years since, a company bored an oil well some seven
hundred feet in depth; but, like many other companies,
they failed to strike ile. At the mouth of
Stony creek, General McArthur several years
since, bored a salt well, and made a considerable
quantity of salt of a very good quality, but it was
finally abandoned. On Mr. Davis' farm is
what is known as the Foster Chapel, erected forty
years since, and is a good sub-stantial building yet.
It belongs to the M. E. denomination. Mr.
Davis' family consists of three children, to-wit:
Emma, Mary E., and J. Russell Davis.
In earlier days, Franklin was a great place for game,
such as deer, bears, panthers, wild cats, etc.
Indians, when Mr. Foster first settled on the
river, were very plenty, and they had a trail passing
along up the Scioto, which was perceptible for many
years. About two miles from Mr. James Davis'
farm is a circular-formed basin, some ten to twenty feet
deep, which has the appearance of having at some time
been much deeper. This basin is about fifty to
sixty feet across, and must have been dug out for some
purposes by the aborigines many years since.
We have been shown by Mr. J. C. Foster a
beautiful robe, made of four deer skins, which he
himself had captured in the hills of Franklin. He
is quite a hunter, and says that there are some of those
beautiful and timid animals to be found in the
neighboring hills yet, which almost tempted us to try
our hand. We were shown by Mrs. James Foster
quite a large and ancient split-bottom chair, which
measured across the seat two feet and nine inches, and
was used by her grandmother in her lifetime. The
old lady was a very large woman, weighing about four
hundred pounds; was born Nov. 13, 1770, and died in the
spring of 1841, aged seventy-one years.
END OF CHAPTER FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP
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