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Pickaway County, Ohio
History & Genealogy


History of Pickaway County
Source:  History of Franklin & Pickaway Counties, Ohio
Illustrations and Biographical Sketches
Published by Williams Bros. 1880



       * SETTLEMENT -
includes small biographical sketches
       * CHURCHES
       * SCHOOLS
       * SOCIETIES


     The broad acres, rich with their store of waving wheat or rustling corn, the large number of substantial, and, often, luxuriant homes, and the general air of thrift to be seen in almost every portion of the township, have nothing to remind the chance visitant of the dangers and hardships which the first settlers here, the brave pioneers, peacefully sleeping, many of them, upon the domain which they cultivated, were called upon to endure.
     The surface of this township is a level plain, except along its principal stream, where it is broken, or rolling.  The soil, principally clay, is better adapted to the growing of corn than other grains though wheat is largely grown, and is a profitable crop.
     The only stream of importance in importance is that from which the township derives its name.  This enters at the northwest corner, flowing a short distance northeast; its course then changes to a general southeast direction, to near the center of the township, where it assumes a nearly due south course, flowing across the south line of the township, at a point nearly central, east and west.  This stream affords several mill sites.  Other small streams, tributary to Deer creek, are found in the township, among which may be mentioned Hay run, on the east, and Yellow Bud creek, on the west.  These streams are, however, unimportant.
     Deer Creek township is situated on the extreme southern boundary of Pickaway county.  Its territory is a part of the Virginia military lands, and its boundaries are as follows:  On the north, the township of Jackson and Monroe; south, Deerfield township, Ross county; east, Wayne township, and west, Perry township.


     The following is prepared from personal interviews.  The writer has endeavored to give, in the course of this history, the name of each pioneer, or early settler.  Many will be found in that portion devoted to organization and churches, and when reliable data could be had, he has given to each brief biographical notices.  Following are the names, in part, of pioneers who have no living representatives in the township; the date of their coming was near the dawning of the present century: Samuel WILSON (who was generally known as the "old powdermaker"), Samuel HANSON, Michael WOLFE, Andrew TAYLOR, Homer STARBILL (who was, it is thought, the first blacksmith in the township), John ENGLISH, Bartholomew BAKER and two sons - Joseph and Martin - (who were preachers, rough in their oratory, yet effective withal), and William SCOTT.  There are, without doubt, others whose names are worthy of mention, but are not remembered.
     The numerous representatives of the RECTOR family, now residents of Deer Creek township, sprang from a Virginia ancestry. Edward RECTOR was born in Fauquier county, Virginia, in 1786.  When eight years of age his father died, leaving a widow and five children, of whom Edward was the eldest. In the fall of 1798 the family moved to the Northwest Territory.  The mother and the four youngest children made the trip from Wheeling to Portsmouth in a flat-boat.  Edward, then but twelve years of age, followed a blazed trail (CLARK and LEWIS) to Chillicothe, riding one horse and leading another.  At Chillicothe, the family occupied one of the three cabins at that time constituting this village.  In the spring of 1799, the family moved on to a farm near the mouth of Deer creek.  Edward RECTOR married, in December, 1809, Miss Peggy BROWN, and, in the following spring, located on the farm now owned by William BENNETT.  Here he remained until 1823, when he moved on to the Yellow Bud farm, still occupied by his heirs.  By his first wife, who died in 1839, eight children were born.  His second wife was Miss Sophronia H. BLODGETT, by whom seven children were born, two only of whom are now living.  Edward RRCTOR died August 11, 1876.  His widow still survives him, residing, at this time, with a daughter (Mrs. BOLIN) in Circleville.  Henry Rector married Elizabeth HOTSENPILER, and settled on the farm now owned by Cyrus COURTRIGHT, on Yellow Bud creek.  On this place he died, April 15, 1854.  In 1861 his widow was killed by a runaway horse.  The children of this couple numbered six.  Of these, but one - Amos - now resides in Deer Creek township.  John R. Rector married Miranda Wiggins, and located on the farm now owned by George Bennett, on Yellow Bud creek.  Ten children were born by the first wife, who died, and he married Miss Sue McCOYJohn R. RECTOR died January 14, 1878 Dec. 14, 1877. (date penciled in).  These were truly pioneers; the advance guard of the brave band who have made the "wilderness to blossom as the rose."  Their coming "was in the twilight of the first century of our republic."

     MICHAEL ALKIRE was born in 1771, near Moorfield, Virginia.  In 1793 he married Dorothy PHEBUS, and the following year removed, by flat-boat, down the Kanawha, to Herodsburg, Kentucky, where he remained until 1798; he then came to Ohio.  The first two years he lived at, or near, what is now called the Frybeck property, on the plains, and not far from the "Logan elm."  In 1800, he purchased, of Colonel EVANS, and others, the farm in Deer Creek township, now occupied by his heirs.  Here he became a farmer, and engaged extensively in stock raising, and dealing.  He died on February 11, 1843.  Mrs. ALKIRE survived him some years, dying May 11, 1854, aged eighty-two years.  The children, three of whom were born prior to removal to Ohio, are:  John M., Nimrod, Sarah, Nancy, who was born in 1803, was among the first births in the township; married Captain E. HALSTED, and is now deceased; William M. who married Mary ALKIRE, and lives in Deer Creek township;  Catharine, Ruanna, James M., and Alexander, who are deceased; and Benjamin F., who has been twice married, and is a widower, and now lives on the home farm, of which he owns over four hundred acres.

     SIMON MICHAEL and ISAAC HORNBECK, came from Bath county, Kentucky, to Ohio, not far from the year 1800.  They were natives of Virginia.  Many descendants of these brothers now live in this township.

     DAVIS YATES came from Culpepper county, Virginia, to Ohio, locating in Point Creek, in Ross county, about the year 1800.  Here he married Christina EDMISTON.  About 1896, he removed to Deer Creek township, and located permanently on the farm now owned by his son, John.  Mr. YATES was connected with the manufacturing interests of the township from its infancy.  He died March 31, 1840.  Mrs. YATES survived him several years, dying early in August, 1855.  The children were:  Thomas LOVELL, who married Susanna SAUNDERS, and was recently living in California; John, who married Betsey BLUE; Reason, who married Hannah EDMISTON; Nancy, who married Joseph SAUNDERS; Elizabeth, who married David BUTLER; David, who married Nancy EDMISTON, (these are deceased); Mary A., who married Arthur WHITESIDE, is widowed, and now resides at New Holland; Emily, who married William RECTOR, and is deceased; Joshua O., who married Catharine WHITESIDE.  The two last reside near Manson, Iowa.

     MOSES COLVIN, of Kentucky, settled on the farm now occupied by Jacob J. Myers, in about 1800, and upon this he passed the remaining years of his life.

     GEORGE and SAMUEL PHEBUS, two brothers, from near Dorchester, Maryland, settled in Deer Creek township in 1801.  They lived continuously in Deer Creek until their death.  A large family of children were left, none of whom now reside in the township.

     GEORGE ATER, who was a soldier in the Revolution, and disabled while in the service, resided near Fredericktown, Virginia; here his wife died, and, in teh spring of 1799, he came to Ohio, settling in Deer Creek township, on the farm now owned by J. R, RECTOR.  The members of Mr. ATER's family, who came at this time, were:  Abraham, who married Charity EVELAND, in Virginia; Isaac, who married Elizabeth SMITH; Catharine, who married Oswell THOMPSON; Jacob, who married Nancy SOLLARS; Polly, who married James SMITH; George, who married Elizabeth WATTS; Samuel, who married Margaret HINES; Thomas, who married Eliza BROWN, and William, who married Margaret COLSON.  Numerous descendants of this family are now residents of Deer Creek township.

     JOHN BAKER, whose place of nativity was near Providence, Rhode Island, came to Ohio in 1799, settling on the bank of the Scioto river, on Evan's prairie.  In about 1801, he located permanently in Deerfield, Ross county, Ohio, where he died in 1841.  His wife survived him some fifteen years.  In this family were seven children, two of whom, Joseph and William, settled in Deer Creek township.  The former remained here some fifteen years, and removed to Pike county, Illinois.  William married Sarah JACKSON, and, after a residence of fifteen years upon the farm now occupied by his son, John, removed to Deerfield, where he died, about the year 1865.  Mrs. BAKER died a year previous.  They left but two children:  John, who married Mary Parker, and lives on the old farm, and Peter, who married Harriet HARRINGTON, and now lives in Kansas.

     EDWARD DAVISON, from Bourbon county, Kentucky, settled in Deer Creek township, in 1803.  here the mother died, soon after.  Mr. DAVISON died in August, 1827, aged seventy-seven years.  He was a soldier of the Revolution, an Indian-fighter on the "dark and bloody ground" of Kentucky, and an intrepid hunter in the backwoods of Ohio.  He was opposed to slavery, and came to Ohio that he might not witness its evil effects.  There were seven children in the family, four of whom are now living:  Robert, now living in Darke county; John, who lives in Washington county, Iowa; Lydia (Mrs. CUMBERFORD), and William, who married Rachel ATER, and lives on the old homestead.

     JAMES SMITH came from near Alexandria, Virginia, to Ross county, in 1799.  In 1804 he removed to Deer Creek township, living in different locations until 1811, when he purchased a farm, now owned by a son, Mr. SMITH engaged in farming, which he prosecuted successfully the remainder of his life.  He died October 16, 1831.  Mr. SMITH survived him many years.  The date of her deceased was April 26, 1872.  Their children numbered seven.  Of these, Pency, Elizabeth, Maria, Phebe and Margaret, are deceased.  Alexander remains on the old homestead, consisting of two hundred and sixty acres.  James married Rebecca MARSH, and lives in Ross county.

     JOHN, GEORGE, CHARLES and THOMAS WOOD, brothers, originally from near Harpers Ferry, Virginia, came to Ohio in about 1805.  John and George settled in Chillicothe, where they engaged in merchandising, and amassed comfortable fortunes; they are now deceased.  Charles and Thomas settled in Franklin county, where they passed the residue of their lives.  Thomas married Elizabeth RAMSEY, by whom five children were born; three are yet living - Mary, who lives in Illinois; George, who married Hannah E., INGHAM, and resides in Deer Creek township (the owner of sixteen hundred acres of land), and LEWIS,  who is now in the mines of Colorado.  During the war of 1812, Thomas WOOD acted as a spy, carried the mails and did various duties connected with the army requiring great bravery.  He was quite celebrated as a hunter in the early days.

     GLADSTON COLSTON married Polly VOSS.  He was a native of Maryland, and died there.  His widow, with three children, came to Deer Creek, early in its settlement, where she died many years since.  Of the children, Henry, the eldest, settled in Ross county; Nancy married, and is now deceased; and Margaret, who married William ATER, still resides in Deer Creek.  Josiah REEVES, from near Culpepper Court House, Virginia, emigrated to Deer Creek township in 1808, where he reared a numerous family, none of whom now reside in the township.

     Ebenezer DAVIS,  who lived on the west branch of the Potomac river, in Virginia, emigrated to Ohio in 1813, arriving in Deer Creek township in November of that year.  During the first years of his settlement he lived on the farm now owned by George WOOD.  In 1817 he removed to Williamsport village, and opened a hotel, the second one in the township.  Mr. DAVIS became quite prominent in public affairs.  In 1848 he removed to Indiana, where he died two years later.  Mrs. Davis died in 1846.  The family consisted of ten children, but three of whom are now living - Sarah (Mrs. DOUGLAS), who now lives near Danville, Illinois; Ebenezer S.,  who married Sedalia McFARLAND, and lives in Williamsport, where he has been postmaster since 1835; and Margaret, who married John L. BARNS, and lives in Washington, Fayette County, Ohio.

     Jacob TERWILLIGER came from Ulster county, New York, to Deer Creek in 1815, and located on land now owned by Cyrus COURTRIGHT, where he died, June 10, 1828, leaving a wife and one child.  The latter became the wife of John W. WIGGINSMrs. TERWILLIGER subsequently became the wife of Jeremiah BROWN, esq., and is now deceased.

     Philip TERWILLIGER reached Deer Creek the year following his brother's arrival.  His selection of land was also on Yellow Bud Creek, where he accumulated a fine property, owning, at the time of his death, one thousand acres of land.  He died March 23, 1858, and his wife, Mary, died in 1868.  One child was born prior to coming to Ohio - Eliza, now the wife of Isaac HALSTEAD,  of Indiana.  The following children were born in Ohio:  Abram, Sarah, Jacob, David, Catharine, John and Lewis, all of whom are living except Sarah, who died in Michigan.

     James ROSE, also from Ulster county, arrived in Deer Creek in June, 1818, where he spent his remaining years, dying September 6, 1861.  Mr. ROSE was thrice married.  The children, all born of the first marriage, were six in number - Levi, James, Sarah, Jonathan, Peter, who was quite a public man, serving as State representative, etc., and Abraham - three of whom are now living.

     HENRY GROVE was born in Virginia, married there, and soon after the close of the war of 1812 settled in Ross county, near the southern line of Deer Creek township.  He died in Franklin county.  There were six children in the family - John, who married Hannah LACKEY, and died on the farm still occupied by his widow; Henry, Polly, William, Abraham, and Sarah, all deceased.

     JOHN LACKEY, who was a captain in the war of the Revolution, came to Ross county, where both himself and wife died.  The children were:  Reason, Thoams, Ira (deceased), Hannah (Mrs. Grove), Richard, Sanford, Anna (Mrs. J. HENLEY), Maria (Mrs. John RITCHEY), and Susan (Mrs. Kennell).

     GEORGE BENNETT, a native of Winchester, Virginia, married Margaret PERRILL, of the same place.  Three children were born there - John (deceased), Elizabetn (Mrs. Philip FORESMAN), and James, who married Matilda RENICK, October 14, 1848.  His children are George, Mary, and John, and live in Deer Creek.  In 1820 George BENNETT, removed with his family to Ohio making his first halt in Chillicothe, where he remained until 1825, when he located permanently on the farm now owned by his son, William, where he engaged in the stock business, in which he continued actively during the remainder of his life.  He died May 31, 1858, and his wife soon followed, dying Dec. 31st of the same year.  The children born in Ohio are:  William, who occupies the old farm, Rebecca (deceased), and Helen (Mrs. F. W. RENICK).  James and William have farms of nearly twelve hundred acres each.    


     The writer has met with very indifferent success in his search for data from which to prepare items for this topic.  Among the first deaths in Deer Creek township, was the wife of Edward DAVISON, which event occurred soon after the family settled in the township, in 1803.  The body was interred in the Christian burying-ground at Williamsport.  In the fall of 1813 John REDIN suffered death by his own hand.  His body was rescued from the flames of his cabin, which he had fired previous to taking his life, and his remains were interred in the Christian cemetery.  The beautiful cemetery on the west side of  Deer creek, near Williamsport, was first occupied in 1875.  George GORDY's remains were the first buried there.

     A post-office was established in Williamsport in the year 1816.  John WILLIAMS was commissioned postmaster, but he soon resigned, and was succeeded by Ebenezer DAVIS, who in turn, gave way to Ebenezer S. DAVIS, esq., the present incumbent.  The pioneer store was opened by a man named FORESMAN, in 1815, in a small building on Water street, yet standing, and now owned by A. D. RADCLIFF, This store closed in perhaps one year, and the village was without a store until 1822, when Joseph G. Dodridge began the mercantile business.  The present merchants are:  Wesley DAVIS, M. S. LEIBY, John HENSON and Dr. G. W. HURST, drugs; Thomas HENSON, groceries; John R. WILKINSON, tinware.  The first orchard in the township was planted by P. H. Baker, as early as 1810, on lands now in about the center of Williamsport village.  George REID also planted an orchard about he same time.  Many of these trees are now standing upon the lands of E. S. Davis, esq., within the limits of the village.  The pioneer hotel was kept by John WILSON.  It was located in Williamsport.  Ebenezer DAVIS afterwards kept a house of entertainment for a series of years.  John HARMOUNT is the host of the only hotel now in the township.  This is situated in Williamsport village.


     It is impossible, at this time, to ascertain the exact date when Deer Creek was erected a township.  It was, however, prior to the formation of Pickaway county, and while this territory was attached to Ross county.  The earliest record of an election now extant is as follows:  "At an election held at the house of Jesse FIZGERALD, in Deer Creek township, on the first Monday in April, 1816, John TIMMONS, John TEVERBAUGH, and Jacob FUNK, were chosen judges, and Thomas WILLIAMS and Jonah RUST, clerks of said election."  Following is a list of the officers elected:  Thomas WILLIAMS, John TEVERBAUGH, and John TIMMONS, trustees; David YATES, clerk; James BURBRIDGE, treasurer; Simon and Jesse HORNBECK, overseers of the poor; John MOTTESTER and David CRABILL, fence-viewers; John RUST, lister; William G. CANTRILL and Andrew MOTTER, constables; Benjamin FREEMAN, Charles HAYS, William B. BALEY, Jesse FITZGERALD, Christopher CARDIFF,  and Moses COLOM, supervisors.  Among the first justices of the peace were David YATES, Isaac CADE, and Alexander ROWEN.  On March 3, 1817, the following persons were chosen grand jurors:  Isaac HORNBECK, James BURBRIDGE, Benson GOLDSBERRY, William B. BAILEY, James DAVIS, Joseph HAYS, Thomas CRABILL, Edward RECTOR, Jeremiah BROWN, William BAKER, George ALKIRE, and Alexander ROWEN;  and the following, who are designated as travis jurors:  William BURBRIDGE, Simon HORNBECK, Andrew MOTTER, Peter BROWN, John LITTLETON, Peter MOUSER, John MILLS, John MATTOX, Jesse HAYS, and Moses COLVIN.  Of all these names, none are dead, and some, perhaps, living in other localities, while but few have descendants in the township. 
     The township officers for 1879 are:  William BENNETT, William C. ATER, and George BETTS, trustees:  Dr. George W. HURST, clerk; Dr. T. F. WHITE, treasurer; A. McGATH, assessor; Thomas SWEETMAN and James K. WALSTON, constables; and Jacob BAUGHMAN and Henry McGATH, justices of the peace.




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