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




     This township, which was the last one to be organized in Delaware County, and was named after the Hon. Robert Porter, of Philadelphia, who received from President John Adams a patent dated Mar. 21, 1800, for 4,000 acres in Section 3, Township 1 and Range 16 of the United States Military Lands.  So far as is known, this was the first patent for lands in Porter Township that was issued by the Government.  The proprietor of this land was a prominent attorney in Pennsylvania, where he was a circuit judge for many years.  The present township of Porter was created at the June session of the county commissioners in 1826.  It is hounded on the north by Morrow County; on the east of Knox County; on the south by Trenton Township and on the west by Kingston.  There are quarries of fine Waverly sandstone in the township, and these are its only mineral resources.  The soil of the township is rich, and all the grain crops do well here.  Farming and grazing have always been the principal occupations of the citizens.  Before the axe of the white man was brought into this region, it was heavily wooded with all the varieties of timber common to this section of the State.  There are a large number of streams in the township, and this makes the problem of drainage a comparatively easy one to solve.  Big Walnut Creek is the principal stream of water.  It enters the township about a mile and a half east of the northwest corner of the township, and flows through the center of the west half of the township into Trenton.  Among the principal tributaries of the creek we will mention Long Run, which comes into the township from Morrow county and runs in a westerly and southwesterly direction until it empties into Big Walnut a short distance southeast of Olive Green.  Sugar Creek runs through the township from northeast to southwest, joining Big Walnut about a mile north of the southern boundary of the township.  Wilcox Run is the principal tributary of Sugar Creek.
     Prior to 1812, a number of white squatters, commonly called "Taways," but not related in any way to the Indian tribe of that name, settled in this township.  They were indolent and without ambition or enterprise.  Their nearest approach to labor was in hunting, trapping or fishing.  Wild game and wild hogs with wild fruits were their principal subsistence, though occasionally they broke over and raised a little grain.  Among the earliest real pioneers of the township were Daniel PintTimothy Meeker and Timothy Murphy.  Though they reared large families as was the custom in those days, few if any of their descendants are now to be found in the county.  In 1810, Peter and Isaac Plan, two brothers, settled in the southern part of the township.  In 1817, two brothers, Ebenezer and Christopher Lindenberger, settled where the village of Olive Green was later located.  They were from Rhode Island and owned several hundred acres of land.  About the same time two

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other Rhode Islanders.  Festus Sprague and Edward Mason, settled nearby and married two of the Lindenberger girls, sisters of the men we have mentioned.  Ebenezer Linderberger was a graduate of an eastern college, and his brother had a better education than was the common lot of men in those days.  Mason was also well educated, and possessed a mental endowment that qualified him for any township, county or State office within the gift of the people.  He seemed, however, to lack energy and ambition.  From the time he settled in Porter until his death which occurred near the beginning of the second war with England, he was justice of the peace and held other township offices.  His lazy habits resulted in his becoming very stout, and the slowness of movement, coupled with his ponderosity, gave him an air of importance which led people to call him "Pompey" Mason.  Like most large people, he was good-natured, and easy-going, and the radiance of his sunny disposition was shed alike on family, neighbors and friends - he had no enemies.  His court was one of conciliation.  Before the trial of a cause, he tried by every possible means to effect a settlement between the litigants, thus saving them money and winning their friendship.  Festus Sprague married a sister of Squire Mason.  By application and industry Mason succeeded in educating himself sufficiently to meet the requirements for a teacher in those days, and to fill various offices with ability.  For many years he served as justice of the peace, and while he possessed no legal training was regarded by those in the profession who knew him as having naturally a legal mind, and his counsel was often sought in important cases. He was a man of temperate habits and of the utmost moral rectitude.  His neighbors could never understand what it was that influenced him to adopt the polygamous doctrines of the Mormons, which led him, about 1857, to sell his property and move with his family to Utah, where he died not long after. Christopher Lindenberger and part of his family also moved to Utah for similar reasons.  Ebenezer Lindenberger and family moved to the West.  John Lindenberger, a son of Christopher, served as a justice of the peaceand in other township offices.
     Section 4 came to be known as the "Irish Section," by reason of the fact that the patent for these lands was issued by President Monroe, on Nov. 28, 1817, to the heirs-at-law of Hugh Holmes and Robert Rainey, who at that time were residents of Ireland.  On Apr. 10, 1837, these parties, by their attorney, conveyed his section to George C. Bumford, who in turn deeded it to John W. Worden.  Not long alter that Mr. Worden sold one-half of the section to Benjamin S. Brown, of Mt. Vernon, and this land was not placed upon the market until after Mr. Brown's death in the fall of 1838.
     On May 19, 1800, Judge Robert Porter deeded 300 acres of land, situated on Big Walnut Creek about three-quarters of a mile south of the present village of Olive Green, to Thomas Mendenhall. a merchant of Wilmington, Delaware.  Mendenhall gave this land to his son Joel Z., who brought his family here and erected a cabin in 1819.  He was a practical farmer and surveyor, which occupations he followed for many years.  He was county surveyor for a number of terms.  He married his second cousin, Eliza Mendenhall, in Philadelphia before coming to Ohio.  Mr. Mendenhall had a good education.  He was a justice of the peace and held other township offices.  From 1835 to 1853 he resided in the City of Delaware, where he also filled the office of justice of the peace.  But city life did not appeal to him, so in the latter year he returned to his farm in this township.  The increasing infirmities of age finally compelled him to give up farming, and he moved to Olive Green, where he died about 1872.
     Another settler who came into the township in 1817 was Samuel Page, who came from Broome County, New York.  His farm was on the Sunbury and Mt. Gilead State Road near the Kingston Township line.  About two years later he sold this farm to his brother William, who had immigrated to the township.  Samuel Page moved onto another farm in Bennington Township, Morrow County, where
the village of Pagetown is now located.  Wil-

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liam Page was upright and industrious, giving a practical demonstration of the principles of Christianity in his daily life which won for him the high esteem of his neighbors.  He was justice of the peace, and filled other offices with credit.  He married Miss Sarah Edwards.  They had five sons - William A., Roswell, Samuel, Washington and Ranson, and one daughter, who married a man named Wells.  In 1840, William Page laid out the village of East Liberty on his farm.  It was laid off into four regular squares.  The lots were readily sold and the purchasers erected homes, but the failure at this time to build the projected railroad arrested the development of the place.  Dr. H. Bessee, who located here in 1847, was the first physician, and he remained here until the beginning of the Civil War.  The first hotel was kept by George Blainey, who was also the first postmaster.
     Olive Green was the first town laid out in Porter.  It was surveyed and platted in 1835 by Joel Z. Mendenhall for Christopher Lindehberger and Festus Sprague, who were the owners.  The village was laid out in eight regular squares, and is located on the State Road between Mt. Vernon and Columbus at the intersection of the road between Sunbury and Mt. Gilead.  The first store was kept by Christopher Lindenberger.  A post office was established in 1860.  James N. Stark being the first postmaster.  The first frame house was erected by a Mr. Baird.  About 1830, Andrew Hemminger, who was of German descent, moved into the township from Tuscarawas County.  For many years he was the only settler on the road between East Liberty and the old Vail tavern, and so his home came to be a -lopping place for travelers, lie put up a double log house, and as many as fifty teams were sometimes put up here over night.  Aaron R. Harrison located in the western part of the township in 1833.  He had a farm of several hundred acres on the road running from Sunbury to Mt. Gilead.  He was born in New Jersey in 1778, and married Mary Condit in 1803.  They brought five sons and four daughters with them from New Jersey.  He built the first frame barn erected in the township, which was 30 x 50 feet in dimensions.  His son Zenas served as county commissioner, besides filling different township offices to the satisfaction of the people.
     About 1820, a man named Sturdevant, the father of James and Chauncey H. Sturdevant, settled in the township.  A. G. Kenney emigrated from Maryland in 1828, and settled on a farm on a branch of Long Run about half a mile from the northern boundary of the township.  They erected the first brick house in the township.  Two years after they came here, Samuel Dowell settled at the head of Sugar Creek.  Rev. Henry Davey, a Dunkard preacher, settled on Sugar Creek, near the center of Section 1, about 1832.  He enjoyed vigorous health, and was capable of great mental and physical labor.  He built a saw-mill on his farm and soon had the farm well improved and good buildings erected.  He was a recognized leader of his sect, and for many years he was away from home the greater part of the time attending to his ministerial duties.  He was well-to-do in this world's goods, but lived simply and without display.  In 1856 he sold the farm just described, and purchased another on Big Walnut Creek; here he lived for several years, finally selling the property and removing to the western part of the State.  In 1830, Charles Patrick, a son of Squire Joseph Patrick of Berkshire, settled on the Porter section.  He cleared up and improved a farm of 300 acres.  The same year William Iler and the Gray family came from Tuscarawas County and settled in Section 1 near the Morrow County line.  Her was a local preacher in the Methodist Church, but was broad-minded and tolerant of the beliefs of others, often uniting with members of other denominations in religious work.  Other early settlers were H. Blackledge, who gained the reputation ofkeeping some of the best stock in the township.  Harvey Leach settled in the township in 1834, and married a daughter of Mr. Dunham, whose farm was on the State Road near the Morrow County line.  He was a soldier in the War of 1812.  During the later years of his life he was blind.
     In 1837, Mr. Charles M. Fowler located in the north-eastern portion of this township.  When yet a young man he left the parental

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home in the Catskill Mountains to engage in the manufacture of oilcloth, having Messrs. Snyder and ran for his partners.  The enterprise did not prove successful from a financial standpoint, and Mr. Fowler came to Ohio.  In 1840. he married Miss Catharine Ann Gray of New Philadelphia, and brought her to the farm in Porter Township on which he had settled three years before.  They came overland in a spring-wagon - the first one in the neighborhood.  Having taken the most important step in a man's lifetime, Mr. Fowler row set to work with all his energy to clear up his 200-acre farm.  The forest was so dense that they could not see forty rods from the cabin, and only reached this neighborhood by following a path that was indicated by blazed trees.  After remaining here for four years with his young wife, who had never been away from home, Mr. Fowler returned with his family to his old home in New York State, driving in a wagon to New Philadelphia, and making the rest of the journey by canal and wagon.  He remained away four years, during which time his farm was cultivated by a tenant, McCreary by name.  While he was away, Mr. Fowler was again engaged in business as a manufacturer, but sold out his interests when he decided to return to his farm.  He began to make improvements, and soon had his farm well fenced and under a good state of cultivation.  He erected a large frame house and two frame barns, set out an orchard, and soon had everything about him for his comfort and convenience that was possible in that day.  He and his wife were Presbyterians, and for many years they were regular attendants of the Old Blue Church in Kingston, a distance of seven miles from their home, and great as was the distance, they were seldom late either for Sabbath school or preaching services.  When the New School Presbyterians built their church in East Liberty, he went there, the distance being three miles shorter.  In this new church Mr. Fowler and Mr. John Van Sickle, of Kingston, were the main pillars.  Mr. Fowler was a man of true piety and practical religion.  He made several trips to his old home in the Catskill Mountains, and was frequently visited by his father and mother.  Mr. Fowler died in Delaware, where he had resided but a short time, on June 12, 1872, and was buried in the old cemetery he had helped to lay out, near the old church in Porter, with which he had been so long identified.  He was well versed in the Scriptures and in ancient and modern history.  His oldest son, Dr. S. W. Fowler, of Delaware, is the oldest physician in the county, and an able contributor to this work.
     In 1839, David Babcock emigrated from Rhode Island to Porter Township and settled on the east side of the Big Walnut, near the northern boundary or the township.  He cleared up the farm and resided here until his death, which occurred in 1871, when he was seventy-two years old.  About 1844, S. A. Ramsey purchased a farm of about 200 acres near the center of the "Irish Section."  This he developed into a profitable farm.  He reared a large family, and won the respect of all his neighbors by his uprightness of character.  He served as justice of the peace and in other township offices.  We have endeavored to give all that we could learn regarding the early settlers, who left homes of comparative comfort and braved the perils and endured the hardships of the wilderness to pave the wayfor the civilization that we enjoy today. It would be impossible to go into such detail regarding the thousands of worthy citizens who now compose the population of DelawareCounty.  So far as we know, no record exists to show the date of the first marriage, but as nearly as we can learn, the contracting parties were Reuben Place and Rachel Meeker.  Tradition also says that Eliza Allen Mendenhall Pint was the first white child born of the permanent settlers, and Polly Place was the first to die.  This has always been a farming community, and one of the last places in the world for a speculative enterprise to gain a foothold; yet, in 1865, when the oil speculation in Ohio was at its height, the Delaware & Hocking Oil Company was organized by Judge Isaac Ramsey, David Coban, Dr. H. Bessee, Mr. Huston and others, with Charles McElroy as secretary.  The necessary apparatus was purchased, and the Company started

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to bore for oil on the Big Walnut.  The excitement grew greater from day to day, the stock of the company increased in price and sold rapidly to those whom, it is easy now to say, were more hopeful than wise.  It was decided that the work was impracticable after the well had been driven 900 feet through thesandstone, blue clay and clay shale, and the enterprise was abandoned.  Had they been successful, the promoters of the venture wouldhave been credited with unusual foresight and business acumen.  The citizens of PorterTownship are the peers of the citizens of any similar neighborhood in the State in intelligence, industry, enterprise and morality.
     The present officers of the township (for 1908) are as follows:
     C. H. Forsley and L. E. Smith, justices of the peace: F. O. White and C. W. Sherman, trustees; W. H. Fredericks, clerk; C. N. Metzger, treasurer; E. R. Chadwick, assessor; Ernest Garvin and Elmer Vining, constables.



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