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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





     Jackson lies east of Muhlenburg and Monroe, and extends to the Scioto river.  Scioto township adjoins it on the north, and Wayne and Deer Creek on the south.  Its surface is generally quite level; having the Scioto for its eastern boundary to southeast, through its center, it contains a large proportion of first and second bottom land, and is among the most productive townships in the county.



     For several years after the first settlement of the township, small bands of Indians lingered about the region.  Among the last who came to Jackson was a friendly Indian, who went by the name of Captain Johnny.  With a number of other Indians, he had a camp on Darby creek, and the place is still pointed out as Captain Johnny’s camp.  He and another Indian, named Cherokee Tom, fall out, and finally fought a duel, with knives for their weapons.  After the quarrel which led to the duel, Tom went off for a long time, when, thinking that Johnny had forgotten the difficulty, he returned to the camp on Darby creek.  The next morning, Captain Johnny went to Tom’s wigwam, and arousing him from his sleep informed him that he must fight.  Tom yielded a reluctant assent, for Johnny was a powerful man, much the superior of Tom.  The contest was short and bloody, terminating in Tom’s death.  Johnny went over to Mr. Renick’s, borrowed a shovel, and buried him on the place now occupied by G. A. Florence.  They undoubtedly had a burying-ground there for when the cellar of the present house was dug, the remains of several Indians were found.


     While the army of Lord Dunmore lay at Camp Charlotte, waiting the conclusion of the treaty with the Indians, John Joliff, a private soldier, discovered the fine tract of

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     HENRY SLYH, sr., a native of Pennsylvania, emigrated to Ohio, from Jefferson county, Virginia, in the fall of 1802.  His family consisted of his wife and six children.  The journey was made with a five-horse team and wagon.  He first located on Darby creek, on land belonging to Anthony Hall, and resided there eleven years, when he bought one hundred and fifty acres where his son Henry now lives;  he died here, Nov. 30, 1849, aged nearly eighty-two; his wife, Elizabeth, died in 1838, at the age of sixty-six.  Their children were Mary, John, Frederick, Catharine, Henry and Elizabeth.  Only the last two are now living.  Henry, who occupies the homestead in Jackson was born in Virginia, July 9, 1801; Elizabeth, now Mrs. James Hurst, resides in Missouri.
     GEORGE GLAZE, from Hampshire county, Virginia, came into the territory now constituting Pickaway county, at a very early date.  He purchased five hundred acres of military land, lying mostly between the Scioto River and Darby creek, and near their junction.  In the fall of 1807 he came out, on horseback, with two daughters – Eva and Mary – who remained here while the father returned for the remainder of the family, with the exception of Richard, John and Adam, who had come out some time before and commenced the improvement of the land their father had purchased, and George, who was an apprentice in Winchester, Virginia.  When Glaze came into the country he brought five hundred dollars, which was a large sum for a pioneer immigrant to possess.  He finally became a large owner of land.  He died, in 1825, at the age of seventy-seven.  The only surviving member of the family is Mary¸ widow of John Henry Knight, residing with her son-in-law, Barnabas Brinker, in Walnut.  She was born Dec. 13, 1789.  When in her twenty-fourth year she married Mr. McKnight, and lived for ten years on Dry run, in section thirty-four.  They then removed to Green Springs, Seneca county, and remained three years, when they returned to Walnut, and located where Mr. Brinker now lives.  He died here in 1834.  She is the mother of seven children, all now dead but a son, who lives near Tiffin, and Mrs. Brinker, in Walnut.
     JAMES R. HULSE came to Pickaway county in 1811, from Orange county, New York.  After his arrival here he married Rebecca Van Metre, and located first on property now owned by Henry B. Swearingen, taking a lease of the then owner, Henry Bedinger, of Virginia.  He afterwards purchased six hundred acres of the Cable survey, and subsequently added six hundred acres more of the same.  Mr. Hulse, at the time of his death, in 1862, was among the largest land owners of the county.  His wife died in 1839.  Subsequently, he married Mrs. Bales.  He had, by his first wife, nine children, four of whom died young.  Three are now living, viz.:  Hepzibah, Aristeus and James R., all residing in Jackson.  By his second marriage there were two children – Jonas, who resides in Circleville, and Effie Jane, who died in January, 1877.  Mrs. Hulse, second survived her husband about a year and a half.
     MELKIRE STALEY and family moved into Jackson at an early date, and located on the river; remained a number of years, and then removed to the north part of the State.  Peter, a brother of Melkire, came a few years later, and settled east of Mr. Bells.  He finally moved to Allen county.
     ROBERT MARTIN came into the settlement in 1808 or’9; remained several years, when he removed to Marion county.  John Baer came in with Martin and made his location in the southeast part of the township, where he resided until his death.
     JOHN FISHER and family, and his son, Absalom, and his family, came from Pendleton county, Virginia, in 1815, John Fisher settled on the farm now owned by William Bell, his cabin being situated on the hill just below Mr. Bell’s house.  Absalom located a short distance southeast of his father.  He erected his cabin in 1816, and it is still standing, and occupied.  The father died in Jackson in 1847, and the mother in 1844.  Both are buried on the hill, where they lived.  Absalom Fisher removed to Illinois, in 1856 where he and his wife both died in 1861.  The only one of their twelve children now living in Pickaway county is John G. Fisher, who resides in Scioto township.
     A family of the name of Suddeth, and another of the name of Barnes, were early settlers in Jackson.  Suddeth lived on land now owned by the heirs of Jacob Van Metre.  One of the daughters became the wife of Jonathan Renick, and another the wife of William Miller, of Harrison.
     JAMES HEMPHILL and SAMUEL HUNTER joined the settlement at a comparatively early date.  Also Joseph and Ebenezer Petty, who lived below the Darby bridge, on what is called the Franklin place.  Joseph afterwards moved to Missouri, and Ebenezer to Urbana, Ohio.
     ANDREW WHITESIDE and family emigrated from Ireland, in 1818.  They soon after settled near Chillicothe, where they continued to reside until 1828, when they removed to Jackson, and settled where a daughter, Mrs. Lutitia Walker, now lives.  The father died here in 1839, and the mother in 1863, at the advanced age of eighty-three years.  Three of the children are still living.
     JONATHAN W. HUSTON emigrated to Ohio, from Pennsylvania, with his parents, James and Ann Huston, in 1818.  The family settled in Colerain township, Ross county.  In 1828, Jonathan W., came to Pickaway county,, and in the spring of 1834, located in Jackson, where he has sine lived.  In 1833, he married Sarah Reber, of Fairfield county, who died in 1852.  In 1854, he married Luvanne Pitkin, with whom he is now living.
     ROBERT CAMPBELL came from Pennsylvania to Ohio in 1808.  He first located below Chillicothe, and four years afterwards, came to Pickaway County, locating in Wayne township, where he resided until his death, in 1848.  He was twice married, and his second wife survived him, dying in Missouri.  Joseph, his son took the old homestead, and occupied it ten years, when he moved to Westfall, in Wayne township.  In the spring of 1864, he came to Jackson, where he has sine lived.  An elder brother, Samuel, resides in Circleville, and Robert, a younger brother in Deer Creek.  A sister, Isabella, wife of William Campbell, resides in Wayne.
     HORACE KEYS came from Virginia, in 1833, and afterwards located on Darby Creek, where he resided some twenty-three years.  In 1860, he purchased and settled where he now lives.


     About the year 1807, the first school-house was erected just below John Renick’s, near what was called “Strawberry prairie.”  Peter Mickel taught the first term of school.  An early school was kept by James Warren, on the south side of the creek.   David Culberson, a local Methodist preacher, of Washington township, was among the pioneer school teachers of Jackson.  He kept school in a log cabin, near Mr. Caldwell’s.


     The first Presbyterian preacher in Jackson was Rev. Mr. Hoge, of Columbus.  The meetings were first held at John Renick’s, William Florence’s, and at William Seymour’s, who lived above Darbyville.  The church was erected in 1841 or ’42, the ground for which was donated by Judge Jonathan Renick.  The deed of conveyance was given in trust for the benefit of the Central Presbyterian Church, of Circleville, of which the society in Jackson was a branch.  The church formed an independent organization in December, 1877, with the following members: Mrs. Mary Scott, Mrs. Kate McMasters, Mrs. Helen Van Metre, Miss Nannie Stone, William Bell, and wife (all by letter), and Mrs. Renick, on profession of faith.  William Bell was chosen elder.  The society was organized by Rev. Dr. Moore, of the Second Presbyterian church, of Columbus.  The following members have joined since:  Mrs. Mary Jennings, Mrs. Samuel Sines, Miss Mary and Miss Sarah Williams.  Rev. Mr. Thompson, of Commercial Point, is the officiating minister.


     The earliest meetings of the Methodists were held at the cabin of John Rush, on Darby creek.  The first circuit preacher was Joseph Hayes, of Deer Creek.  Meetings were also held at an early date at the house of William Littleton, on Lick run, and subsequently in the brick school-house, which stood on the corner of Mr. Slyh’s farm, near the present frame school-house.  In 1864, the society erected the frame church, near Mr. Neff’s which cost about six hundred dollars.  The church now numbers about a dozen members, with Jacob Slyh leader of the class.


     The first burials were probably made in the Hall burying-ground, on the bank of the creek, a short distance above the McLane Mills.  The oldest inscription now decipherable is that of Sally Hall, who died in Oct., 1807, in her first year.  The next is that of another child, of the name of Hall, who died Oct., 1817, aged one year.  Anthony Hall, the pioneer, was buried here in 1825, and his wife, Rachel, in 1823, and Joseph, their son, in 1826.  William, son of James and Katharine Anderson; John Cochran, and Thomas McCollister, were all buried in this burying-ground, in 1826.  On the farm of John Fleming, a short distance southeast of his residence, is another old burying-ground, the oldest inscription in which is that on the tombstone of John Renick, the pioneer, who was buried there in 1814.  There may have been earlier interments there than this, as many graves contain no marks whatever, while the inscriptions on the headstones of some others are so nearly effaced as to be illegible.
     The most sickly season in the early history of the township was the year 1826.  That year a malignant disease, called by the inhabitants “The old plague,” prevailed, and was oftener fatal than otherwise.  The first death was that of John Cochran, Jan. 6, 1826.  A week after, William Anderson, an intimate friend of Cochran, died, and then quickly followed the deaths of Abraham Ward, Mr. Bailey, Joseph and James Hall, Thomas McCollister, Mrs. Slagle and daughter, Maria.  Three members of the Cheney family died within a week of each other.


    Soon after his arrival, William Marquis built a small log grist-mill on Darby creek, about a quarter of a mile above the site of the present grist-mill of Mr. McLane.  This was one of the first mills in the country.  The structure has long sine been demolished, but a part of the wheel and some of the foundation blocks can yet be seen.  Marquis had also a saw-mill, which he erected about the same time.  The mills were subsequently, as before stated, bought by Anthony Hall, and they are generally referred to as Hall’s mills.
     Asahel Renick had a saw-mill on Darby Creek at an early day.  It caused an overflow of his land to such an extent that he finally tore it down.
     The grist-mill of Washington McLane was erected by James Thompson in 1833, and the saw-mill a short time before.  Thompson carried on the business for about six years, when he sold to John E. Van Metre.  About 1852 or 1853 Van Metre sold the property to Joseph Deeds, who improved the grist-mill considerably, building an addition of twenty feet, increasing the height one story, and putting in new machinery.  He, however, made an assignment soon after, and, in the spring of 1856, the property was purchased by Mr. McLane.


     A mail route was established in 1805 from Franklinton to Chillicothe, through this township.  A weekly mail left Franklinton each Friday, stopped over night at Marquis’ mill, on Darby creek; next day reached Chillicothe, but, during the first winter following, there was one established at Westfall, and, a short time afterward, one at Marquis’ mill, about this time changed to Hall’s mill.  Colonel Andrew McElvain, for many years a prominent citizen of Franklin county, then a boy thirteen years old, was the first carrier of the mail.  There were but four cabins on his route between the two terminal points, and, one winter or spring, he was compelled to swim Darby and Deer creeks twice, carrying the small mail-bag on his shoulders.
     The early elections of Jackson township were held in the log house of Anthony Hall, near the mills.  The first justice of the peace was William Florence.  Esquire Williams and Jonathan Health filled the same office at an early date.  The early township records are not now in existence, and we are, therefore, unable to give the names of the first officers elected.  The present township officers are F. M. Slyh, clerk; Horace Keyes, Joseph Hall and M. V. B. Lindsey, trustees; E. F. Coffland, treasurer; S. H. Ridgway, assessor; J. R. Florence and B. N. Walker, justices of the peace.  The present township house located near McLane’s mills, was built in 1873.
     The first physician that practiced in the township was Doctor Daniel Turney, of Jefferson; after him, Dr. Webb and Dr. Luckey, of Chillicothe.  The only resident physician in the township was Dr. John H. Grant, who came from Kentucky, and resided on a part of the farm now owned by Mr. H. B. Swearingen.  He practiced a number of years.


      The old State road, running from Chillicothe to Franklinton, was the first road opened in the township.  It was originally called “Laugham’s trace,” three brothers of that name having laid it out.
     The only store ever kept in Jackson was the grocery store of Thornton Van Metre, which he opened at the cross roads, just north of McLane’s mills, about the year 1840.

was organized April, 1874, with the following officers:  Felix Renick, master; Robert Galbraith, overseer; H. B. Swearingen, lecturer; J. P. Taylor, steward; J. R. Florence, assistant steward; W. T. Bell, treasurer; J. P. Wright, chaplain; G. A. Florence, secretary; A. J. Williams, gate-keeper; Mrs. Felix Renick, ceres; Mrs. H. B. Swearingen, Pomona; Mrs. J. R. Florence, flora; Miss Mary E. Williams, lady assistant steward.  The meetings are held in the Presbyterian church.



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