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




     It was not until 1847 that the present boundaries of Oxford Township were fixed.

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It is bounded on the north by Westfield Township, Morrow County; on the east by Peru Township, in the same county; on the south by Brown Township, Delaware County and on the west by Troy and Marlborough Townships.  Originally, Oxford was a part of Marlborough Township, which exercised dominion clear to the shore of the lake.  Seven years later, on Mar. 6, 1815. a petition was granted by the county commissioners, erecting Oxfordinto a separate township. John Shaw is credited with being the chief promoter of this movement.  At that time the boundaries were fixed as follows: "Beginning at the southeast corner of the sixth township, Range 18, United States Military Lands, and running thence north on the east line of Range 18 to the Indian boundary line; thence westerly on said line to the east line of Range 19; thence south on said Range line to the south line of the sixth township; thence east on said line to the place of beginning."  In 1818, all that part of Radnor Township which was due north of Oxford, and north of the Indian boundary line, was annexed to Oxford Township.  When Westfield Township was formed in 1822, the territory was taken from Oxford and in 1847, when Morrow County was established, a strip one mile wide and five miles long was taken from the north side of Oxford and added to Westfield.
     The east branch of the Olentangy River runs across the northwest corner of the township, and in this region the surface of the ground is more or less broken.   Along the west branch of Alum Creek, which flows from north to south through the eastern quarter of the township, the surface is similarly broken; otherwise, the surface of the township is generally level.  In the rolling lands, the soil is clayey, but most of the land in the township is a rich black loam.  In the early days this was so wet and swampy that the settlers almost despaired of ever using it.  Much of this land had been reclaimed by ditching and tiling and has proven very productive.  Grains are all raised profitably, and much attention has been given and still is given to stock-raising.
     On May 3, 1900, President Adams signed a patent for 4,000 acres of land in Section 3, the southwest quarter of the township, which  was issued to John Rathbone, of New York.  It was nearly half a century, however, before this land was placed on the market.  The first settlers in the township were Ezra Olds and his wife, Comfort.  In 1810, they located in the northwest corner of the township, at what was afterwards called Windsor's Corners.  In the same year a settlement was started in the southeastern part of the township, which later became known as the Alum Creek District.  The first pioneer here was, Andrew Murphy who, in a short time, was joined by James McWilliams, Hugh Waters, Henry Riley and Henry Wolf.  In the fall of 1810 or spring of the next year, Henry Foust settled on a farm a short distance east of the Olds farm.  He married Mary Olds in 1812.  A couple of years later, William T. Sharp, who came as far as Norton with Harrison's army, decided to make his home here, and for some time lived in the family of Henry Foust, David Kyrk came into this part of the township soon after the war of 1812.  Elijah Smith and Calvin Cole came into the township about 1815.  About two years after that Robert Brown settled in that part of the township where Ashley is now located.  A year later, Ralph Slack came up from Berkshire, and settled where the southeastern part of the village is built.  His brother John Slack settled on the next farm to the east, across the creek.  Adam Shoemaker settled a little north of the present village of Ashley in 1810, but a few years later moved to a farm just east of the village.  He had a large family of boys, and has numerous descendants still living in Ashley.  In 1823, Amos Spurgeon settled on the farm now occupied by the northwestern quarter of Ashley, and in 1826.  Thomas Barton settled on the farm next northwest.  In 1842, the land purchased by John Rathbone was placed on the market by his grandson, Hiram G. Andrews, of Delaware.  It was divided up into sections of 100 acres each.  Griffith Thomas was the first purchaser in 1843.  Others who bought lots soon after were Evan McCreary, Isaac Clark, George Houseworth and N. E. Gale.  They paid from three to eight dollars per acre.  This territory was for many years known as the "great south

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woods." because it was so heavily timbered.  The land was so wet that it took many years of hard work ditching and tiling before it was in condition to till, but today there is no better farming land in the county than this.  Seth Slack built the first brick house in this section.
     The first justice of the peace was Andrew Murphy.  He was succeeded by Ezra Olds, who filled the office for thirty years.  The first brick house in the township was built by Aden Windsor in 1832.  He also built the first frame barn a few years later.  The first frame dwelling was built in 1840 by a carpenter by the name of Harkness, for Henry Foust.  The first death in the township was that of a child of Comfort Olds, in 1812.  Interment was made in the cemetery at Norton.  Job Foust was the first white cihld born in the township.  The mills, schools, religious development and military history of the township are treated in other chapters of the work.
     The village of Ashley is the most populous municipality outside of the city of Delaware in the county.  Its original name was Oxford, but was charged to Ashley in honor of L. W. Ashley, one of the proprietors of the ground upon which the village was built.  the other owner was J. C. Avery.  County Surveyor Charles Neil platted the village on June 15, 1849, laying it off in 69 lots.  On August 6th of the same year an addition of 83 in-lots was made and on June 18, 1850, J. C. Avery, S. Finch and Henry Lamb made an addition of 15 in-lots, and in 1860, L. W. Ashley added three more lots.  In 1877,  Hugh Cole and John Doty made a small addition, bringing the total number of lots up to 183.  In May, 1850, a small grocery and dry goods store was started by Lewis Purmort on the Shoemaker farm east of the village.  Later in the same year Aloy Patee built the Ashley hotel, and Purmort moved his stock of merchandise into one of the rooms of the hotel.  In 1850 or 1851, the first postoffice was established, and J. H. Miller, of the dry goods firm of Miller & Mulford served as the first postmaster.  Among the earliest firms were Robert Morehouse, Jr., who erected a frame buildingp on in-lot No. 4 and started in the dry goods business.  Two years later they sold out to J. S. Brumback.  A year or two after the village was laid out.  Benjamin McMaster, Joseph Riley and Israel Potter erected a grain warehouse of which Mr. McMaster became sole proprietor in 1853.  He engaged in  the grain business a few years longer and then sold out to the firm of Breeden & Place.  About the time this grain warehouse was first erected.  Jesse Meredith built another on the railroad grounds, and combined the grain business with the duties of station agent.  Among other early merchants we may mention Adam Sherman and a Mr. Clark.  The village of Ashley was incorporated Aug. 30, 1855, and the following were the first city officials: James Culbertson, mayor; A. Patee. recorder; Jesse Meredith, S. Joy, Levi Shisler and Samuel Shisler, councilmen.  They served until the regular election the following spring, when L. D. Benton was elected mayor; J. M. Coomer, recorder, and Solomon Joy, Samuel Shisler, S. B. Morehouse, A. G. Hall and George McMaster, councilmen.  Benjamin Fry was the first marshal, and Solomon Joy the first treasurer.  The first ordinance passed by the Council was for the suppression of intemperance.  In the spring of 1857, B. F. Fry was elected mayor.  Ashley is now one of the most prosperous municipalities of its size in the State.
     Its financial interests are taken care of by the Ashley Bank and the Farmers' Savings Bank.  The Ashley Milling Company and the firm of Lin & Shoemaker conduct prosperous flouring mills, while Frank Goodrich and Graham Company are elevator proprietors and dealers in grain.  The hardware buisness is represented by B. Bartholomew and John Olds; Fisk & Wilcox deal in agricultural and other implements; A. B. Claypool, Lee & FiskFrank Sharp and Ray Waters are grocers; James Dugan deals in clothing; A. Aldrich, Charles Malony, William Robinson, and E. Wilkerson are blacksmiths; Miller Bros, are proprietors of a furniture and undertaking establishment; while the dry goods interests are looked after by E. C. Sipes (proprietor of "The Bazaar"), Westbrook & James, and Jo-

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seph Wilt.  There are two hotels - the Cottage and the Franklin, presided over respectively by William Ashbrook and E. Stalkbarger, and other business interests are represented by John Brehm, baker and confection; Frank Barto, William Osborn, barbers; M. Powell, dentist; O. M. Gilbert, distillery; Jesse Achelson and Ray White, draymen; Aldrich & Stratton and Ed Keltner, emblem Manufacturers; James Durkey, harness and shoes; D. Davis and Frank Pierce, jewelry; Clyde Sherman livery; Welch & Windsor and A. M. Myers meat; Mrs. Clara Wilkerson, millinery; A. P. Oliver and A. E. Thomas, real estate and insurance; Ray Slack and J. G. Redman restaurants; Doctors Burkey, A. E. Westbrook, Elda Welch and M. McGough physicians.  The Ashley Star has W. S. Shoemaker for editor and manager, while Charles Longwell is engaged in the manufacture of monuments.
     Oxford Township Officials (1908): Jerome Harroun and Seebers Martin, justices of peace; Stanley Beel, J. B Glenn, and E. A. Martin, trustees; Ralph Davis, clerk; Leroy Watters, treasurer; J. L. Porterfield, assessor; John R. Compton and B. L. Martin, constables.



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