A Part of Genealogy Express
Delaware County, Ohio

History & Genealogy

20th century history of Delaware County, Ohio
and representative citizens
Chicago, Ill. :: Biographical Pub. Co., 1908 by James R. Lytle
Transcribed by Sharon Wick


Settlement and Organization of the Townships - Settlement and Founding of the Towns
Sketches of Ashley, Galena, Sunbury, Ostrander, Lewis Center, Powell, Radnor, and other towns.
Pg. 435




     GENOA TOWNSHIP is bounded on the north by Berkshire Township; on the east by Harlem; on the south by Franklin County and on the west by Orange Township.  It is five miles square and is in the territory known as United States Military Lands.  The western half of the township was included in the original township of Berkshire, and the eastern half was in the township of Sunbury.  When Harlem Township was cut out of Sunbury, it included all of what is now Genoa Township.  The present bounds of Genoa Township were established June 4, 1816.  Its name was suggested by an early settler who whished to do honor to the birth-lace of Christopher Columbus.  Running through the western half of the township from north to south, on the line traversed by the Cleveland, Akron and Columbus railroad, is a ridge which forms the water-shed between Big Walnut Creek on the east and Alum Creek in Orange Township.  On either side of the ridge, the land is comparatively level, although the surface is broken up considerably along the banks of the Big Walnut, and east of the creek is more or less rolling  The highest shale cliffs in the county are to be found in the northern part of the township, on what is known as "Yankee Street," about two miles south of Galena.  Here as elsewhere along the banks of Big Walnut, are to be found outcroppings of fine Waverly sandstone.  Here and there in the beds of shale a thin layer of an inferior limestone is to be found.  Some of the early builders were tempted to use this because of the ease with which it can be quarried, but they soon had their labor for their pains, as this stone disintegrates when exposed to the air.  The Big Walnut Creek, to which reference has alreay been made, is the principal stream.  It flows in a sinuous course from north to south through the eastern half of the township.  Originally its banks and the lands adjacent were heavily timbered with black walnut trees.  The bottom lands along the creek are especially fertile, but these places are frequently overflowed in seasons of freshet, causing the loss of a crop occasionally.  All the older men now living here remember the freshet in September, 1866, when cattle, sheep and hogs were drowned, and haystacks and small sheds and buildings were floated and carried down the stream.
     JEREMIAH CURTIS, a native of Hartford, Connecticut, was the first settler in this township.  He arrived in Berkshire in 1805, but soon after he purchased a section of land on Yankee Street from Colonel Byxbe, upon which he located in 1806.  His land was on the Big Walnut near the oxbow head of the creek.  At that time Chillicothe was the nearest milling point, so Curtis built a mill, and still-house, which was a great convenience to the settlers.  In 1811 he moved to Marietta, for the protection of his family during the war which was impending, and which he believed was sure to come.  He died June 21, 1813  Later his son, who becane the Hon. John Curtis, came back with the family to the farm in this township.  He was ten years old when the family first came to Ohio, and became a prominent and influential man who was sought for positions of responsibility.  John Williams, who was a local preacher in the Methodist Episcopal Church, came here and erected a cabin on the hill where the covered bridge crosses the Big Walnut, and the following summer brought his wife and ten children to their new home.  He was a devout man, and like the apostle Paul, worked with his hands while he preached.  His first sermon in this neighborhood was preached in Joseph Latshaw's cabin.  He died five years after coming here his son William joined a part of the army, in 1812, that was on its way to Fort Meigs, and fought the British and Indians there under Harrison.  When the war was over he returned to the township and settled near his father's farm.  Thomas another son, had a farm nearby on the Creek.  His oldest son, James, was the first white child born in Genoa Township.  A New Englander by the name of Joseph Latshaw came here in 1807 from Berkshire Township.  His farm was in the northern part of the township, southwest of Galena.  In the latter part of the same year David Weeks emigrated from Saratoga County, New York, and located in the northern part of the township.  William Cox, a Pennsylvanian, also came into the township that year.  He located in the oxbow bend of the Big Walnut, where he resided until his death.  The next year, 1808, Marcus Curtis, a brother of Jeremiah Curtis, and Elisha Newell came with their families from Connecticut.  Curtis bought 681 acres of land in the northeastern part of the township, on Yankee Street.  He soon began to make brick from the clay which he found on his farm, and erected the first brick structure in the township.  He also introduced short-horn cattle in to the township.  He bought his brother's saw- and grist-mill and operated them both for a time, but as this venture was not successful he disposed of the mill to Hezekiah Roberts.  The same year, Alexander Smith came from Pennsylvania and settled in the central part of the township.  He became a prominent citizen.  He was a successful farmer, held township offices and was an elder i the Presbyterian Church.
     In 1809 Elisha Bennett came here from Pennsylvania.  When it was decided to set off and organize the present township of Genoa, it was he who suggested the name which was adopted.  His farm was near Maxwell Corners.  One of the early settlers was Jonas Carter but it is not known just when he came from New England.  He settled on the Big Walnut, but after clearing a small part of his farm, he sold it to Jonathan Dyer and went to Indiana.
     In the spring of 1810 Hezekiah Roberts came to this township from Pennsylvania and bought Joseph Latshaw's farm.  He was a blacksmith, and he set the first shop for that kind of work in this region.  He was one of the first farmers to raise flax.  He bought the old Copeland Mill and moved it to the west side of the creek, where he ran it for a number of years.  His son, later familiarly known as "Long John" Roberts, was the second white child born in the township.  When his father was no longer able to follow his trade, John succeeded to the business, which he carried on for forty years.  Fulrad Seebring also came to the township in 1810.  His farm was located on the Big Walnut, about midway of the township from north and south.  The same year Ary Hendricks located on a farm southwest of Galena, and Thomas Harris and his son-in-law Henry Bennett came here.





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