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History & Genealogy

20th Century History of Steubenville & Jefferson Co., Ohio
by Joseph B. Doyle -
Publ Richmond-Arnold Publ. Co. - Chicago -

Chapter XXII.
The River Townships

Steubenville, Island Creek, Knox, Saline, Cross Creek, Wells and Warren - Towns of Toronto, Mingo, Brilliant, Irondale, Hammondsville, Empire, Rayland, etc. - Pioneer Schools and Churches - Early Trials and Later Developments.


     As most of the history of Steubenville Township and Mingo Junction has already been included in the general history of the county and in that of the city of Steubenville, it will only be necessary to include here and in the history of other townships such facts are are not related in the foregoing.  The original township was erected on May 30, 1803, and included what are now Island Creek, Cross Creek and Salem townships, the two former being cut off on June 4, 1806, and the last named on June 3, 1807.  According to the township minutes an election was held at the court hose in Steubenville, Zaccheus BRIGGS presiding, when the following officers were elected by ballot: John BLACK, clerk; Zaccheus BIGGS, James DUNLEVY and James SHANE, trustees; Richard JOHNSON and Jonathan NOTTINGHAM, overseers of the poor; Thomas HITCHCOCK, William ENGLE, and Richard LEE, fence viewers; Matthew ADAMS and Samuel HUNTER, appraisers of houses; Andrew McCULLOUGH, lister of taxable property; Thoams GRAY, George FRIEND, Daniel DUNLEVY and Thomas WINTRINGER, supervisors of highways; Anthony BLACKBURN and Andrwe McCULLOUGH, constables.  This was attested June 21.  The next minute is as follows:  "At a meeting of the subscribers, trustees of the township of Steubenville on the 11th of October, 1803, ordered that the aforesaid township be divided in the following manner:  Beginning at the Ohio River at the mouth of Wills Creek; thence up said creek to the head gate of Josiah JOHNSON's saw mill; thence north to the township line; thence with said line to the river allotted to George FRIEND."  Also from the Ohio River up said Willis Creek till opposite Benjamin DOYLE's; thence south to Cross Creek, a straight course; thence down said creek to the mouth, with the town of Steubenville, to be in the district with Thomas GRAY.  (This is practically the present township except the part below Cross Creek.)  Also from the mouth of Cross Creek up said creek on the south side of the township line west; thence south to the township line; thence east to the Ohio River, deeded to Daniel DUNLEVY.  As also from Wills Creek, a south course to Benjamin DOYLE's; thence south to Cross Creek; thence up said creek to the extreme of the township in a west corner to the place of beginning, to be in the district allotted to Thomas Wintringer."  The officers for the succeeding year were:  Trustees: Brice VIERS, John ENGLAND, Thomas PATTON; overseers of the poor, Jonathan NOTTINGHAM and Samuel THOMPSON; constables, Anthony BECK and Andrew McCULLOUGH; supervisors of highways, Daniel TREADWAY, Jacob ARNOLD, Geo. FRIEND, Joseph PORTER; fence viewers, Richard COX and Philip SMITH; house appraiser, Joseph DAY; TREASURER, treasurer, Samuel HUNTER.  The only reference to changes in the township boundaries is a minute on June 30, 1806, to the effect that in consequence of a division of Steubenville Township, David POWELL, late trustee, has fallen into the township of Cross Creek, Philip CABLE is appointed trustee in his place.  On the old minute book is found as entry of $4.43 for conducting a pauper funeral......  Under the "squirrel act" of December 24, 1807, requiring certain taxable residents ot produce so many squirrel scalps annually with the view of exterminating those animals, Hans WILSON is credited with thirty scalps; Philip CABLE, sixty; and Godfrey RICHARDS, twenty-two; in all, 112 scalps.  The idea of protecting squirrels had not yet crystalized.  On April 1, 1811, it was certified that Mordecai BARTLEY had received 132 votes; John ADAMS, twenty-eight, and John McGRAW, twenty-seven for justice of the peace. "July 10, 1813, Jacob FICKES produced his receipt from the treasurer for payment of $2 for refusal to serve as trustee."  The office evidently sought the man in those days.  The present township has somewhat the shape of a rude letter B, having six full sections and eight fractional, fronting on Wills Creek and the Ohio River, the northern boundary being formed for a short distance by the creek, with straight lines on the west and south separating it from Cross Creek, and Wells Townships.  The area is about 7,100 acres, of which 1,676 are within the corporate limits of Steubenville.  The principal streams are Cross Creek, George's Run and Wells' Run.  The Wabash system crosses it at Mingo, with C. & P. and W. & L. E. along the river front, and Panhandle to and up Cross Creek.  Among the early settlers after Bazaleel WELLS were the JOHNSONS, BICKERSTAFFS, ABRAHAMS, PERMARS, POWELL, LOCKARD, HODBERT, MYERS, ENGLAND, POTTERS, RICKEYS, ADAMS AND HILLS.  Mrs. JOHNSON, nee Mary BICKERSTAFF. was a name of reminiscences.  Her home was on eighty acres of land purchased from Bezaleel WELLS a mile and a half west of old Steubenville.  She remembered hearing Lorenzo DOW preach on the street in Steubenville in 1799 or 1800.  It is known positively that DOW was in the Short Creek Valley in 1798 and preached to the pioneers.  He was known to deliver eloquent discourses to an audience composed of one person.  They lived in a log cabin, but the old lady declared there was "a help of comfort in it compared with your damask curtained houses of today."  Dow arrived at Steubenville on foot, for he would not ride.  A report had gained circulation that a great divine was coming, whom some were not slow to claim a second Christ, which led to 200 or 300 persons gathering under a large tree that stood at the end of the public square.  Beneath this tree was a bench upon which butchers cut up their meat, and there was also an upping block.  When Dow arrived he look very seedy and travel worn, and staggered somewhat, which led to Mrs. BICKERSTAFF inquiring if he were drunk.  Her husband replied, "Thee'll see directly."  Mr. DOW mounted the "upping block" and began his sermon with these words:

"Sent by my Lord, on you I call -
The invitation is to all;
Come all the world, come sinner, thou,
All things in Christ are ready now."

     The audience was so delighted that a collection was taken up and the receipts handed to the preacher, who sought out the most humbly attired person in the crowd, and handed the money to him, bidding him God speed in its use.  The BICKERSTAFFs invited the preacher to their house, but he declined, saying, "I have not the time, my Lord's work must be done and I must go."  The farm was paid for in produce.  It was in this township on the ADAMS farm about a mile west of Mingo that the last Indian fight took place on Jefferson county soil, as related elsewhere.  George ADAMS, father of Henry ADAMS at the age of seventeen joined General WAYNE's army, his home then being in Fayette county, Pennsylvania.  He aided in building Fort Recovery, and settled in Steubenville Township in 1796.  Philip SMITH, who was with the Crawford Sandusky Expedition, settled near Steubenville in 1799, where he lived until 1812, then removing to Wayne county.


     Although Mingo Bottom was a historic point from the first advent of the white men into this valley, was the scene of the first recorded event in the county, had enough settlers before 1790 to at least discuss resistance to the forces sent to eject them, was the rendezvous of the Gnaddenuten, Crawford and other early expeditions, became a railroad junction in 1853 and was the landing place for supplies during the building of the S. & I. R. R., was a camp during the Civil War; in short was a leading figure in all the county's history, yet down to the fall of 1869 there was not even the semblance of a village there.  The surrounding country was divided into cultivated farms, with substantial homes, but at the place itself were but one small frame house and a little railway station.  There was not even a postoffice, and the neighboring residents came to Steubenville to vote.  The very name was appropriated by a post-office in another section of the stae, and when it was afterwards desired to utilize the old name which had indicated the spot for a century and a half, it was necessary to add it to the word "Junction."  There was a locust grove on the river bank fronting the vanishing island, and another on the hilltop, both of which were favorite picnic grounds.  The state road down the river here sought the base of the hill (now Commercial Street), passing the well known watering trough at POTTER spring, and the noise of passing trains only momentarily disturbed the rural quiet of this peaceful valley.  The POTTER, PIEHLER, MEANS, WELLS or JUMP farms occupied the



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