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




     Liberty is one of the three townships into which Delaware County was originally divided when it was set off from Franklin County.  At that time it composed about half of what are now Orange, Berlin, Delaware and Scioto Townships, and the territory now embraced in Concord Township.  Delaware Township was set off from Liberty at the first meeting of the county commissioners.  Notwithstanding the loss of territory sustained when the townships above named were formed, Liberty Township is still from four to five miles wide and about eight miles from the north to south.  It is bounded on the north by Delaware Township; on the east, by Berlin and Orange; on the south by Franklin County, and on the west by Concord Township.  The Olentangy River enters the township at a point a little east of the center of the northern boundary, and courses a little east of south to the Franklin County line, where it is the boundary between Liberty and Orange Townships.  The township is drained by a number of small tributaries of the Olentangy, among which we may mention McKinnie's, Wild Cat, Big Wolf and Lick Runs.  There are many fine springs of pure and mineral waters here as elsewhere in the county.  For

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Baptist Church, Sunbury
Public School Building, Sunbury
Knights of Pythias Hall, Sunbury
Public Square looking North, Sunbury
Sunbury Co-operative Creamery
Town Hall, Sunbury

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a distance of two or three miles, the Scioto River forms the southwestern boundary of Liberty Township. In early times this portion of the township was a favorite camping ground for the Indians, a tine spring of very cold and pure water on the Stanberry farm being, perhaps, not the least' among the attractions of the spot.  The land is rolling, and for fertility is not surpassed by that in any other part of the county.  Originally it was heavily timbered with the varieties of trees common to this section.  The land in the river bottoms is especially rich and yields large grain crops.
     Who were the original inhabitants of this part of the county will never be known.  The evidence of their presence and their labor is here, but they faded into the mysteries of the past leaving no record of their advent, civilization or exit.  The subject of the Mound Builders is treated in another chapter, so we shall not dwell upon it here.
     The claim has been made that the first white settlers in Delaware County located here, and this is doubtless true as regards permanent settlement.  In an old issue of the Delaware Gazette we find an excellent historical sketch of the settlement by Captain Nathan Carpenter, which was written by one of his descendants, A. E. Goodrich, from which we quote the following paragraphs:
     "Captain Nathan Carpenter was born at Rehoboth, Massachusetts, in 1757, and grew to manhood amid the excitement preparatory to the Revolution, a zealous patriot.  He was among the first to respond to the call of his country when the great colonial struggle came on, though scarcely more than a boy in age.   He fought bravely at the battle of Bunker Hill, at which place his brother was killed and himself wounded. Afterward he participated in several battles, among them, the pursuit and capture of Burgoyne at Saratoga.  After the close of the war, Mr. Carpenter lived in Connecticut until 1795, when he removed to New York and purchased a large estate on the Unadilla River.  It was while residing here that the excitement over the Ohio territory rose to a height exceeded only by that perhaps over California in later years.  Public meetings were held, at which were discussed the stories of its delightful climate and inexhaustible wealth.  Never having become attached to the country which he had adopted as his home, he was inclined to share in the enthusiasm.  He disposed of his estate and other effects which he would not need, and having procured everything required for his future home, started for the new El Dorado on the 12th of February, 1801.  About twenty other young men (Powerses, Smiths, and others) accompanied him.  He traveled on wagons and sleds as far as Pittsburg, where he loaded his effects and passengers into a boat and continued his journey by floating down the Ohio River.  When they reached the mouth of the Scioto River, the cargo and passengers were transferred to keel-boats, in which they were moved up to Franklinton, a place consisting of three or four log houses, and situated across the river from where Columbus now stands.  Here a large canoe was procured, and the goods transported up the Olentangy to the place now owned by Captain V. T. Hills, about two miles south of the northern boundary, on the east side of the river, and where he arrived on the 1st of May, 1801, having been two months and eighteen days on the voyage.  The first business in order was the erection of a cabin for a shelter, which was built on the bank of the river just above high-water mark.  It was rudely chinked with split sticks and covered with bark, but without floor or chimney.   Flat stones were set up against the logs to make a safe place to build a fire.  The cabin was scarcely finished when it commenced to rain, and continued for eight clavs in succession.  After the flood had abated, the land was surveyed, and according to previous arrangement, Capt. Carpenter received choice of land in the section.  He now began prospecting for a site on which to build a permanent home, which must be erected and finished before winter.  His assistants were equally engaged in clearing, planting and hunting, and the result was they harvested 500 bushels of corn, besides superabundantly supplying the party with the choicest meats.  Game was plenty; deer were to be seen every day;

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turkeys were frequently shot from the cabin door, and the creeks were full of fish.  "During the summer a substantial hewed log house was erected on the site of the present residence of Squire Carpenter.  The family were moved into it and provided with improved furniture and other adjuncts of civilization.  In the spring following Capt. Carpenter's settlement, his party was joined by two other pioneer adventurers, Thomas Cellar and Josiah McKinnie, who were also men of wealth and influence, having their land paid for, and bringing with them surplus money.  Mr. Cellar had purchased an entire section (4,000 acres) of land, and upon his arrival built a house on the Taggart farmMcKinnie located on the opposite side of the river from Carpenter.  The colony now consisted of the families of Carpenter, Powers (who came with Carpenter), Cellar and McKinnieCellar was a gunsmith, and had manufactured guns for the war of Independence, while the others had used them to that end.  They were now associated together, not in war. but in subduing the wilderness and building up homes in the new land of promise. 
     "The children of Captain Carpenter, ten in number, were now young men and women, and, being of congenial disposition, were sufficient company for each other to render their forest home cheerful and pleasant, instead of suffering it to become lonely and irksome.  They often had exciting stories to relate concerning their adventures with wild animals and the Indians.  With the latter they were usually on pretty good terms.  As many of these pioneer stories have been handed down to the present, we will give one or two by way of embellishment to dry facts.  There were those among the Indians, who sometime become intolerable in their conduct, especially in their demands for whiskey, and the whites in such cases, did not hesitate to enter into a skirmish with them, knowing that they were in bad repute, even with their own people.  An old Indian, whose name was Sevans, came to Carpenter's one day and asked for 'Whisk.'  Ira. the eldest son, who chanced to be present, knowing too well what the result would be, informed Mr. Sevans that he could not be accommodated.  The old Indian urged his demand with so much importunity, that it became necessary to use other kinds of persuasion than argument.  He first drew his knife, but Ira wrested that from him with little difficulty, which rendered the red man furious, and he began drawing his tomahawk from his belt, when a kick from his pale-faced adversary, sent him sprawling out of doors.  As soon as he recovered himself, he threw his tomahawk at young Carpenter with all the force he could muster, but the door was brought together in time to intercept the blow.  The weapon passed through the door, however, and was now in possession of the white man, who chastised Mr. Sevans quite severely.  He then gave him back his knife and tomahawk, with the injunction never to be seen there again - an injunction the old rascal faithfully obeyed.
     "There being a surplus of help at home, John Carpenter, the second son, concluded that he would hire out his services, and obtain employment of a Mr. Patterson, who had a trading-post at Sandusky.  He set out for that place on foot and alone, following the Indian trails, which were the only roads that were at that time through the wilderness.  He traveled in the daytime, guided by these trails and a pocket-compass, and at night he slept by the side of a log.  His first night's rest was quiet and undisturbed, but late in the second night, he was awakened by shrieks or howls, the source of which was evidently approaching nearer every moment.  Being thoroughly awakened and conscious of his impending danger, he remained perfectly still by the side of his log.  The shrieks were soon changed to snuffings, and then the beast sprang upon the log directly over his head; walking down the log smelling of its intended victim, it again alighted upon the ground, and, after smelling of him from head to foot, began to cover him up with leaves that were within reach.  After having accomplished this feat to its satisfaction, it retired some distance and began to shriek most hideously, and soon Carpenter heard a response in the distance, which

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convinced him that he was the subject of a grand supper talk.  Not wishing to become the food of a panther and her cubs, he quietly crawled out of the pile of leaves which had been heaped upon him, and climbed up the nearest tree.  The answering sounds which he had heard grew nearer, and soon the young family made its appearance.  They tore open the bed of leaves, but their anticipated supper had disappeared.  Uttering hideous shrieks, the old one struck the track and followed it to the tree, and, rearing up against the trunk with her fore feet, stared indignantly at the subject of her disappointment.  When the morning dawned, the huge panther withdrew her interesting family, and young Carpenter, happy in his escape, went on his journey.  Many other incidents of interest pertaining to this pioneer settlement might be narrated, but our space will not permit; so we will return to facts.
     Capt. Carpenter died in 1814.  On the evening of the 9th of September, a little more than thirteen years after his settlement in the township, he was returning from the town of Delaware on horseback.  The animal on which he was mounted was a very vicious one, and, having left town late, night overtook him before he reached home.  He could not see the road, and his horse had no disposition to follow it.  Winding along the river, it passed between the bank and a tree that stood very near to it.  An overhanging limb swept the rider from his seat, and, being so near the brink, he fell down the precipice upon the rocks below.  He raised up his hands and uttered a solitary cry for help.  The familiar voice attracted the attention of a neighbor near by. who hastened to his assistance.  He immediately asked for water, which the man, with his hat for a cup, procured for him from the river.  Dr. Lamb was soon at the scene of the accident, but his injuries were fatal, and he soon expired, thus ending, at the age of fifty-six, his eventful life.  His death cast a cloud over the entire community; all were conscious that they had lost a friend.  His family were devoutedly attached to him; his physician and many friend swept at his grave, as they laid him by the side of his wife, who bad died ten years before."
     Among those who came here with Capt. Carpenter were Thomas and Avery Powders, who settled on farms adjoining Carpenter'sAvery Powers was one of the first county commissioners, and performed the duties of his office with credit to himself and with the approval of the community.  His death occurred some years prior to that of Capt. Carpenter's.  His son, Benjamin Powers, was president of the First National Bank of Delaware, and his grandson, George W. Powers, is now cashier of the same institution.  Thomas Powers was killed at the battle of the Thames in the War of 1812.  Josiah McKinnie, to whom we have already referred was one of the first associate judges of Delaware County.  He and Thomas Cellar, who came with him, are buried in the old Liberty church cemetery.  James Gillies and Ralph Watson and George Case came into the township not many years after the settlers whom we have named.  In 1804, John, Ebenezer and Aaron Welch, with their brother-in-law, Leonard Monroe, came here from Unadilla County, New York.  John Welch came here as agent of the Glover lands, but the country pleased him, so he made his home in this township.  Aaron died in Delaware in 1816; Ebenezer died in 1823. and John Welch died in Marlborough Township in 1832.  Abijah and Dr. David Welch were sons of John WelchAbijah was one of the first of the settlers to die.  The mother of John Welch, who came here with him, died at an early date.  John Welch was a justice of the peace, probably the first one in the county to bold that office. Isaac Welch, a nephew, settled near the mouth of Welch's Run at an early date.
     Ebenezer Goodrich settled in the extreme southeastern corner of the township about 1806.  He purchased his land before he left Connecticut.  He was unmarried and for many years had only his faithful dog as a companion.  He was a soldier in the War of [812, and after his return he held the office of justice of the peace for a number of years.  His death occurred on Oct. 15, [846.  He was successful in acquiring a considerable property.  John Hardin came here from Fairfield County about

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the some time as Goodrich. In 1815.  Timothy Andrews and his son, Capt. Timothy, came from Connecticut and settled on what is known as Middlebury Street.  The senior Andrews died in 1840.  Other settlers in the neighborhood were Solomon Moses, Joseph M. Gardner, Lemuel Humphreys, Abner Pinney and Eben C. Payne.  All were natives of Connecticut except Gardner, who came from New Hampshire.  Middlebury was named in honor of their native town.  Humphrey became a justice of the peace.  Gardner was the first person buried in the Powell cemetery.  David Buell and David Thomas came here from the same state as most of the other early settlers, the latter in 1810.  He settled one mile below the old Presbyterian Church, where he kept a tavern, also the stage stand, which was on the route between Franklinton and Sandusky.
     What is known as the Stanbery section was originally purchased by Dr. Jonas Stanbery from some old Revolutionary general prior to the War of 1812.  He never occupied the land, though later his son Charles Stanbery took up his residence here.  As we have already said, this was a favorite hunting ground for the Indians, and later the whites.  Squatters also occupied it at an early day.  One of these was a millwright named Pasco.  He erected a mill on the Scioto River at an early day.  Lint his venture was not a success.  A colored man, whose only known name was Peter, was another of these squatters.  For a number of years his cabin was known as a station of the "underground railway," his door being always open to fugitive slaves.
     About 1809, Isaac Patton settled in the northern part of the township.  He was a captain in the War of 1812.  Benjamin Bartholomew settled in the southern part of the township sometime soon after 1814.  Mrs. Bartholomew's father, Caleb Hall, who was a native of Massachusetts, settled here.
     The article by Mr. Goodrich, from which we have quoted so freely in the earlier part of this sketch, gives such an excellent picture of the wilderness life of the early pioneers, that we will make further use of it here.  "The encroachment of the white man - as. it naturally would - irritated some of the Indian tribes until they became hostile, and were readily induced to become allies to the British in the War of 1812.  Although too infirm to join the army himself, Capt. Carpenter was represented in the ranks by his five sons - Ira, John, Alfred, Nathan and James - as well as by many of his neighbors.  No one but the father was left at home (at Carpenter's) to provide for the family, or defend it against the hostile Indians, who sometimes made incursions in their vicinity.  Nathan Carpenter, Jr., in going to the war, had left at home a wife and babe.  They lived about half a mile from the old home. Laura, the youngest daughter, then sixteen years of age, went to stay with her in her solitude.  She had looked after the various little charges around the house one evening, and had gone inside to attend to the housework, when, looking out of the window into the moonlight, she saw two savages approaching the house.  Having just heard of the murder of an entire family but a short distance from their neighborhood, she was considerably startled, and exclaimed, 'My God, Electa!' (which was the name of the young wife who sat in the middle of the room with the child in her arms) 'what do you suppose these critters want?'  Electa understood too well her meaning, and was unable to utter a word.  In order that they should not surprise her.  Laura advanced, opened the door, and propped it open, then, seizing the axe, she retired behind her sister's chair that she might better conceal her motions and the axe, with which she had determined to defend them to the last.  The savages, armed to the teeth, walked up to the door, came in, and began their parley by making pretenses, during which time Laura remarked that they could obtain what they wanted at her father's house upon the hill.  'Oh, your father live near here?'  'Yes,' she answered; 'only a short distance,'  After a few more words, they shouldered their guns and started, as they said, for the 'big house.'  Thus the young girl had saved their lives by artfully insinuating that help was near.  After they were gone, she received the congratulations and thanks of her sister, who,

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during this time, had sat speechless and as white as death, which each moment she expected to suffer.  After barricading the house, Laura, expecting their return, stood guard with the axe until morning, when they returned to the manor-house.  The savages had not gone there, as they pretended they would, but, on the contrary, as soon as they were out of sight, they went into the woods and were never seen afterward. * * *  Unlike the Ohio, the shores of the Olentangy were swarming with Indians, by whom our party was received with many tokens of friendship, notwithstanding the stories they had been told of their hostile and. savage nature.  The Wyandots predominated in numbers and enlightenment, followed in their order by the Senecas, Delawares, Shawnees, Choctaws and the Taways.
who were noted for their uncleanliness."  But there were other dangers that beset the pioneer.  Ferocious wild beasts roamed the woods - wolves, bears, panthers and wild cats.  Then there was the danger of starving to death.  There was no Delaware or Columbus to which to go for supplies of food, but this lack was not felt because there was no money with which to purchase provisions.  The prices of sugar and coffee ranged from 25 cents to 75 cents per pound, while the price received by the settlers for what he sold was correspondingly low, so it was difficult for men to rake and scrape enough money together to pay taxes.
     There has always been a dispute as to who was the first white child born in the township, that honor having been claimed by both Benjamin Powers and Jeremiah Gillies, the date of the latter's birth being Aug. 7, 1803, and it is said that Mrs. Carpenter claimed that he was born before Powers.
     Ebenezer Goodrich and Betsey D|ixon were married at Middlebury, now the village of Powell, in June, 1813, by Aaron Strong, a justice of the peace.  About this time also, Nathan Carpenter and Electa Case were married.  George Dean was the first merchant.  About 1829 or '30 he opened a store on the Goodrich farm, which he sold a few years later to Edmund Goodrich and Henry Chapman.
     After a few years they discontinued. Then there followed a period when there was no store.  Joseph M. Cellar was the next storekeeper.  His place of business was located at Liberty Church, and here, about sixty years ago, a postoffice was established under the name of Union.  This business died out after a few years.  The next attempt at merchandising was made by Thomas R. Hall at Middlebury.  This store at the corners led to an application for a postoffice.  This was secured through the influence of Judge Powell of Delaware, and the office was called Powell in appreciation of his efforts. Joshua Pennel was the first postmaster and also kept a store.  The place was surveyed and laid out as a village early in 1876, and the plat was recorded on March 29 of that year.  A. G. Hall was the owner of the land on which the village was located, and he built the first house in that place, Since that time the village has grown considerably in population and as a business center.  The village cemetery is one of the oldest in the county, the remains of many of the early settlers of this portion of the township having been buried here.
     The village of Hyattsville was laid out Feb. 6, 1876, by Henry A. Hyatt.  Ed Nalz was the first merchant.  He sold out to Henry Cook and opened another store in the depot building, and in 1877, when the postoffice was established, Hyatt became the first postmaster.  Later his business was almost exclusively that of a grain warehouseman and shipper.  This village undoubtedly owes its existence to the building of the railroad through the township, and to some extent this is also true of Powell. P. Banner is the present village blacksmith, while W. B. McCloud & Co. keep a general store and H. W. McClary caters to the public in the line of groceries. 
     In Powell the leading merchants and business men are: Sellers, Roy and M. E. Weaver, blacksmiths; C. B. Dobyns, C. O. Hawes and Peter Sharp, general stores; H. E. Sharp, hardware; J. C. Campbell and C. F. Tally, physicians, and George Kibby, hotel proprietor.
     The township officials (1908) are: John Thomas and I. N. Gardner, trustees; V. P. Rutherford, clerk; John Taylor, treasurer, and W. G. Chambers and S. C. Blaney, assessors.



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