A Part of Genealogy Express

History & Genealogy

A History of Ross County, Ohio,
from the Earliest Days, with Special Chapters on
the Bench and Bar, Medical Profession,
Educational Development, Industry and Agriculture
and Biographical Sketches
Henry Holcomb Bennett, Editor
Madison, Wis.
Selwyn A. Brant


pp. 295 - 306

Natural features - The pioneers and their work- Soldiers of 1812
 - First births and marriages - Church sketches - Mills - The Edwards murder
 - Captain Molly - Village of Bourneville

[pg. 295]


    WITH an honorable record of more than a century's existence behind her, Chillicothe well sustains her long established reputation for solidity and wealth.  The men who established the little hamlet in the wilderness in 1796, founded that reputation, and their descendants and successors have well maintained it.






     With the advent of the first white settlers, the woods abounded in game of all kinds known in the country.  Deer and wild turkey game of all kinds known in the country.  Deer and wild turkeys, exceedingly plentiful, afforded the principal meat supply of the early settlers.  Every man and boy, and some of the female population, were expert hunters, and many are the tales told of hair-breadth
[pg. 296]
escapes from, and single-handed contests with, bruin, the arch enemy of the young domestic animals about the settlers' cabins.  Wolves, panthers and wildcats also made night hideous, and nocturnal travel precarious, with their prowling, stealthy and deceptive methods of attack.
     The first settlement of Twin township antedates its organization by several years.  The township organization was effected on the twentieth of February, 1805, from territory previously embraced within the townships of Union, Concord and Paxton.  The house of J. Elliott was designated as the voting place, and was so continued for a number of years.

     Lewis Igo is entitled to the honor of first settler, he having emigrated to the Paint creek valley in the autumn of 1797.  He was born near Baltimore, Md., in 1767, emigrating from there to Kentucky, thence to Ross county.  Mr. Igo purchased land from General McArthur, on Lower Twin, and there built his cabin and established a home on the farm later owned by his son William.  In the spring of 1798 he returned to Kentucky and brought his family, and was accompanied on his return trip by his brother-in-law, Philip Hare.  When within eight sight of his cabin, Igo discovered smoke issuing from the chimney; and, believing that the Indians were in possession, the party prepared for a battle with the redskins.  Advancing cautiously, they were both surprised and pleased to find that the cabin was occupied by a white family who were occupying Mr. Igo's home temporarily during his absence, and pending the erection of their own.  This "squatter," whose name was Jeffers, settled on a farm adjoining the Igos and became their nearest neighbor.  Families were "near neighbors" in those days, however, if only separated by the distance of a few miles.  For some time after Mr. Igo located in the wilderness on Lower Twin, he brought all his family supplies from Kentucky, himself making the trips with a pack horse.  He was a cooper by trade, and willingly exchanged his mechanical skill with the settlers for rail-splitting, thus supplying the neighborhood with wooden ware.  He raised a family of eight children, only one of whom remained in the township, and only three survived the period of middle life.  Descendants of William Igo still live in Twin.  Lewis Igo died in 1844.

     Philip Hare opened up a small farm to which he brought his family from Kentucky, but he ended his days in the west.  The families of George V. and Jacob Haller settled on Paint creek in 1798, and there established a home on what was locally known as Haller's bottom, George Haller owning most of the land in the vicinity.  Their first winter in the new country was spent in a shanty made of puncheons, the walls of which were lined with bear-skins, the result of Mr. Haller's success on the chase.  One entire end of the cabin was left open, and a huge fire of burning logs served the double purpose
[pg. 297]
of warming the room and protecting the family from the howling wolves who often showed their lank forms, hungry eyes and cruel teeth across the fiery barrier.  George V. Haller was a local preacher, a man of strong religious convictions and an excellent citizen.  He was among the first to bring sheep in to the country.  His first home being subject to overflow during freshets, he re-located on higher ground, but subsequently removed to Adams county, though his death occurred in Chillicothe Sept. 8, 1839.  He was born in Berkeley county, Va., Dec. 16, 1770.  The last survivor of  his twelve children died in Bourneville.  Jacob Haller, before mentioned, settled on Upper Twin where he died in 1823, at the age of fifty-seven.

     Samuel Teter and family were among the earliest settlers, coming from Washington county, Pa., in 1799.  They settled on Lower Twin, where Mr. Teter owned a large tract of land.  This he divided among his sons, Samuel, George, John and Daniel, and removed to  Union county, where he died.  George and John occupied their parental inheritance and ended their days as residents of Twin township, where some of their descendants still live.  Daniel died on his farm in Huntington township.  The latest survivor of this family in Twin township was Mrs. John C. McDonald.  John married Mary Edmiston whose father was one of the earliest settlers in Paint township.

     William and Edward Keran came from the south branch of the Potomoc during the last days of the eighteenth century.  William lived about five years on Haller's bottom, afterward re-locating on Plug run where he resided some sixty-years, and died there.  Edward Keran lived in the township until 1842 when he removed to Hardin county and died there.  Hugh Cochran emigrated with his family from Kentucky in 1796.  His first location was at Station Prairie below Chillicothe; but he soon after purchased a large tract of land in the vicinity of Bourneville, which he divided among his children.  Hugh Cochran, sr. died in 1829, at the age of eight-four years.  His son, Hugh, was among the earliest pioneers of Twin township, and spent his life on the farm his father had given him.  He married Jane Myers daughter of another early pioneer of Twin.  His sister Miss Elizabeth Cochran, became the wife of George Kilgore, who came to the valley with General Massie in the spring of 1796.  They were married in Chillicothe Apr. 17, 1798, and this said to be the first ceremony of the kind in the Scioto valley.  Several brothers of Hugh Cochran settled in Twin township, but James, David and Andrew removed to the west, while Allen remained.  The last named served several years to the west, while Allen remained.  The last named served several years as a justice of the peace in Twin. His death occurred in his sixty-third year as the result of an accident.,

     The family of John Core was another of those established prior to the township organization.  He located on Lower Twin, in 1800,
[pg. 298]
and there erected the first mills in the township, first a grist mill, and soon afterward a saw mill.  These he operated successfully until 1819, when they were burned.  He afterward established a mill operated by horse power, and this proved a very good substitute for the popular old plant which had proved so valuable to the community.  Three sons of this pioneer, John, Henry and Chrisley, were soldiers in the war of 1812.  His youngest son, whose name was David, married Miss Mary, daughter of the well known pioneer and historian, Col. Houn McDonald.

     The family of Peter Storm came from near Martinsburg, Va., in the family the fall of 1802.  They arrived in October, and located on Haller's bottom where Mr. Storm raised one crop, after which he purchased one hundred and fifty acres from General McArthur.  There the family home was established in 1803.  He of the twelve children accompanied the parents from the old Virginia home, and two sons George and John, then were lads drove two cows through with the caravan, walking all the way.  Mr. Storm was a blacksmith by trade, opened a shop on his farm, and was on of the earliest which mechanics in that line.  John Storm in the war of 1812, was a member of the first company of rangers, in which he served over a year.  Descendants of this family are still residents of the township.

     Abijah Flora was one of the earliest settlers on Haller's bottom.  He was a Virginian, and served from that state as a lieutenant in the Revolutionary war.  He died in Twin township at the age of seventy years.  (*See Note)

     Daniel Hare came from Kentucky in the fall of 1797 and located on Paint creek about a mile above the present town of Bainbridge, in Paxton township.  There he built a cabin, and devoted the winter of hunting.  The victims of his rifle he salted in a large trough, which he dug out from a sycamore log, covering this with another one of similar dimensions.  This food supply  he concealed from the Indians by covering the troughs carefully with brush in a secluded place in the forest.  In the spring of 1798 he returned to Kentucky and brought his family to the new home in the wilderness, where he found his stores as he had left them.  He worked at clearing land for  General Massie until he earned one hundred acres for himself, this being located on Lower Twin.  After his contract with Massie was completed, he continued to work for others in Paxton until he had accumulated sufficient funds to purchase another hundred acre tract adjoining the first, and this he occupied in 1801 as a permanent home.  Mr. Hare was twice married, and had three children by his first union.  His eldest daughter, Elizabeth, became the wife of John McKenzie who represented a well known pioneer family.

     Aaron Foster, a native of Pennsylvania, emigrated to the township in the early days of settlement.  He served as adjutant in Colonel McDonald's regiment during the war of 1812.  He was
[pg. 299]
twenty-one years a justice of the peace in Twin township, and was also a member of the board of county commissioners.  David Elliott, another very early settler, was captain of a company from Ross county during the war of 1812.  Jacob Myers was an officer ranking as major in the same war, and was distinguished for bravery.  He was also among the pioneers of Twin.

     Col. John McDonald, one of the most popular and worthy citizens who ever lived in Ross county, was among the early pioneers of Twin township, where he established his home in 1800.  Though most of his active years were spent in official life, he nevertheless always considered "poplar Ridge" as his permanent abiding place, and never transferred his home to any other locality, except temporarily.  He was identified with almost every phase of human existence on the Ohio until the close of his eventful career in 1853.  He has been characterized as "backwoodsman, scout, surveyor, pioneer and patriarch, soldier, legislator and patriot, adequate in every avocation in which he engaged, and admirable in every relation of life."

     Gideon Coover **came from Pennsylvania in 1800 and located in Twin township where he lived until about 1820, when he took a flat boat laden with flour, pork, and other farm products, and, in company with others, went to New Orleans, where he died of yellow fever, or rather was put ashore at Baton Rouge, where he died.  He left a wife and nine children who spent their lives in Twin township.

     Philip Gossard and his son-in-law, Casper Plyley, with their families, came from Pennsylvania about 1801.  They first settled at the mouth of Deer creek in Union Township, but soon afterward abandoned the bottom land as unhealthful and re-located on what has since been known as Plyley's ridge in Twin township.  Mr. Plyley kept a tavern for a number of years.  He was a soldier in the war of the Revolution and participated in a number of engagements under General Greene.  Financial reverses, due to the fluctuating values of the Continental scrip, induced him, though a minor, to enter the army, and subsequently to seek his fortune in the west.  Mr. Plyley lived to advanced old age.  He reared a large family, and numerous descendants still live in Ross county.  The posterity of his sons, Philip G. and William, still occupy Plyley's ridge.  The former was born at Pittsburg, on the trip to the west.  Philip Gossard was a native of Switzerland and received an excellent education in his native country, being also an accomplished musician.  He settled on a farm immediately west of the Plyley homestead and there spent his remaining years.  His son, John, spent his life on the same farm, and this descended to his posterity, some of whom still occupy it.

     William Campbell, a native of Scotland, and a cousin of General McArthur, emigrated to the United States in 1800, and soon afterward found his way to Chillicothe.  Here he entered the employ
[pg. 300]
of General McArthur, and so continued until his marriage in 1816.  He located in Twin township two years later and continued a resident until his death in 1852.  He was the father of sixteen children, some of whom remained in the township during their lives, and left a numerous posterity to inherit their possessions.

     Isaac McCrackin emigrated from Hampshire county, Va., and first located on Haller's bottom, subsequently removing to another farm where he did in 1849.  He was a well known and prominent citizen, one of the earliest justices, served two terms in the State legislature (1831-2), and was one of the associate judges of the county for seven years.  He located his family in the township in 1808, where his three children were born.  The wife of Judge McCrackin was Catherine Parker also a native of Virginia, where they were married.

     James Sommerville and family were also early settlers of Twin.  Mr. Somerville was a native of Scotland and came to this county in 1808, bringing a family consisting of wife and three children, Helen, James and John.  James  went to Kentucky as a school teacher, having among his students members of the Breckenridge and Clay families.  He joined the army and was killed at the battle of Tippecanoe.  John married Elizabeth Smith, and became the father of twelve children, most of whom he survived.  He was quarter-master in Colonel McDonald's command during the campaign of 1814, and died in 1879, at the advanced age of nearly ninety-two.

     Job and John Harness, brothers, settled in Twin township prior to 1812, making the journey up the Scioto and Paint creek in a keel boat.  They erected one of the early grist mills of the township, but finally sold out and moved to Indiana.

     Christian Baum emigrated from Westmoreland county, Pa., about 1815; first located in Pickaway county, but soon afterward bought two hundred acres in Twin township.  He married Sarah Shook in 1818, and they raised a family of seven children:  Joseph, George, John, Mary, Lewis, Laura and Jacob, most of whom married and located in the county.  When Mr. Baum came to Ohio, he walked over the mountains and carried his rifle with all of his worldly possessions; but by industry and economy, he accumulated a fine property.  He died in 1862 at the age of seventy.

     Peter Platter was a native of Germany, who, at the age of five years, accompanied his parents to Pennsylvania, in 1764.  He joined the Patriot army and participated in the battles of Bunker Hill and Brandywine.  About 1793 he emigrated to Kentucky, having then a wife and one child.  He removed to Ohio about six years later and located in Adams county, where he purchased three hundred acres of land.  In 1811 he exchanged this farm for a like number of acres on Haller's bottom in Twin township, where he died Jan. 2, 1832, and his wife died on the 22d of February of the same year.  Their names were Barbara, Susanna, Joseph, Henry, Christine, Sarah, Elizabeth, George, Peter, Catherine, Christian, John and Andrew.  Several of these attained a ripe old age and left a numerous posterity, both in Ross county, where the name is prominently identified with the pioneer history, and in Adams county, where some of the sons located after marriage.  Peter Platter, Jr., was an extensive land holder on Paint creek, where his first wife died, leaving seven children.  Her maiden name was Mary Ann Clark, also a representative of an early established family.  He married Sarah A. Nesbit for his second wife, and she became the mother of four children.  Mr. Platter was successful in life, and died possessed of more than a thousand acres of land.  The family, including the ancestral line, were members of the Presbyterian church, sustaining relations with this society in Chillicothe.

     John W. Pool left for Ohio from Maryland on the day of Perry's great naval victory on Lake Erie.  He was a blacksmith by trade, and died in 1823, at the age of fifty.  His son Henry perpetuated the family name in Twin township, where he attained old age and social prominence.  He married a daughter of George V. Haller.

     John Howard emigrated from Rockingham county, Va., about 1817, accompanying his two uncles, Philip and John Howard, who were bachelors.  They spent the first year at Frankfort, after which they located on Hallers bottom, but related, some afterward, on the farm where John Howard spent his life, he having inherited the farm on the death of his uncles.  He married Ursula L., daughter of Judge McCracklin.

     John Hanawalt was the first mail carrier between Steubenville and Gallipolis, making his trips through the woods on horseback.  He was a native of Mifflin county, Pa., and came to Steubenville in 1818.  Two years later he moved to Frankfort, where he married Mary J. Hill, and in 1828 he located in Bourneville, where he was busied as a tailor until his death in 1872.  His son, James S., was a merchant in Bourneville for a number of years.


     Twin township was well represented in the war of 1812, though it is probably that not all on the following list were residents there at the time of enlistment, but he came soon after the war.  A large majority, however, were actual residents of the township for several years prior to enlistment.  The following is an incomplete list of soldiers who responded to their country's call in 1812:  W. A. Shoults, Hugh Cochran, Joseph Browning, Henry and Joseph March, John C. Conner, Joseph Conner (died in service), William Campbell, Thomas McDonald, David Somers, (Shredrich Wroten was a Revolutionary soldier who served nearly six years).  John Freshour was also in the Revolutionary war and his son Daniel served in the war of 1812, Simon Johnson in the Revolution, Barney Minney, Job and John Harness, Thomas De Hart, Richard Acton, Archibald
[pg. 302]
McNeal, Abijah Flora, Revolutionary soldier; Michael Dolohan, Thomas Hanks, in the war of the Revolution, and his sons, Joseph and John, were in the war of 1812; John Ward, Peter Shanor (his father, also Peter Shanor was in the Revolution); John Gossard, Philip Gossard, Jacob Gossard.   James Nichols, Henry Sharp, Dilard Rowe, Abbott Rowe, David Rowe, Charles Craig, John Craig, Colonel John McDonald, Alexander Given, Aaron Foster, Samuel, George, John and Daniel Teter, brothers; John, Henry and Chrisley Core, also brothers; Captain Daniel Hare; Captain David Elliott; Major Jacob Myers; John Mahan; Lieutenant John Sommerville; James Sommerville; Archy McDonald came as a soldier in the British army, but deserted and joined the American forces; his two sons, John and William were also arrayed against their mother country; James P. Brown; James Demoss, a native of Ireland, crossed the ocean to fight against England, and died in service; Captain McKenzie.

     The record of the first elections in Twin township has been lost or was not properly kept.  The earliest record procurable begins five years after the organization of the township, and contains the following names of civil officers at that time: 
Henry Porter,
township clerk; John McDonald, William Reed and Job Harness, trustees; George V. Haller, and Moses Dimmel, overseers of the poor; Andrew Gursham, lister; Jacob V. Haller, house appraiser; Daniel Hare, treasurer; George Yoakum and Abijah Flora, fence viewers; Robert McMahan, Peter Clover and James Irwin, constables; John Harness, Philip Hare, Samuel Teter, and John Walker, supervisors; John McDonald and Henry Porter were elected justices of the peace in the spring of 1811.  Henry Porter performed the double service of clerk and justice of the peace.  Colonel McDonald resigned his office, in 1812, to enter the army, and Judge Isaac McCrackin was elected to fill the vacancy.  The early elections were held at the house of J. Elliott for a number of years.


     The first white child born in the township was Paul, son of Lewis Igo, in February, 1799.  The first marriage in the county was a social event of considerable importance, and was attended by Thomas Worthington and Dr. Tiffin with their families.  The contracting parties were George and Elizabeth Cochran, and the marriage was solemnized on the 17th of April, 1798.  Howe's History of Ohio mentions this as the "first marriage in the Scioto Valley."  Mary Igo and Mary Keran, both born in 1800, were among the first female children born in the township.  They both married, removed from the county, and died in old age.  The first schoolhouse erected in the township was located on the farm of John Teter, and the first teacher was David Reed; and William Reed is said to have been one of the first justices, if not the first.  He served fifteen years in that office.  Adam Gilfillan was also one of the first school teachers in the township.  The first sermon delivered in the Paint creek valley
[pg. 303]
is accredited to Rev. William Keran, a local preacher, though another authority, perhaps equally reliable, gives his honor to Revs. William and Edward Carnes.  It is possible that the disagreement of authorities is due to the similarity in sound of the names, since William Keran is shown to have had a brother Edward who was also a preacher, and both settled in Haller's bottom prior to 1800.


     The Methodists were the leaders in religious effort in Twin township, the first meetings being held in the settlers' cabins, and were conducted, principally, by Rev. William Keran.  The first members of this class were William and Edward Keran and their wives, George Vinson Haller and wife, John Mick and wife, John and George Teter and their wives, John Mahan and wife, Archibald Browning and wife, Abijah Flora, Benjamin Grimes, Mrs. Mary Porter and Mrs. Matson.  After continuing the services in the homes of the members for several years, a log meeting house was built in 1809, on the farm of John Teter.  This gave way five or six years later, to a double hewed log house on the graveyard lot just north of the present village of Bourneville.  This building served the people for over thirty years, and was the parent church of Methodism in the township.  It was destroyed by fire at the close of a "watch meeting," the last night of the year 1841.  On the ruins of the old church, a brick meeting-house was erected in 1842, and under the pastorate of Rev. Alexander Maharry a very successful revival followed the opening of the new church, and resulted in one hundred and eighty accessions to the society during the the  year.  In 1875 the old church was taken down, and a substantial brick was established on the site, at a cost of some seven thousand dollars.
     The church now known as Morris Chapel was organized about 1813, and meetings were held for a number of years at the house of John Riley, who was a zealous christian and active worker until his death, in 1838.  Mr. Riley was the class leader from the date of organization until failing health compelled his retirement.  The services were finally transferred from Riley's house to the log school house on the farm of David Moore.   Morris' Chapel, named in honor of Presley Morris, one of the prominent members, and a generous contributor to the building fund, was commenced in 1847, and completed in 1850.  March 20th, 1848, the church was incorporated under the laws of the State, and a board of trustees elected, consisting of Solomon V. Dorman Jesse Wiley and Jacob Miller, Henry Snyder being elected secretary.  This chapel is located about a mile east of Slate Mills.  It has been one of the land marks pointing the way to a higher christian civilization, and was the second Methodist organization in the township.  It still maintains its existence, with a considerable membership.
     A society was formed in 1842 under the ministerial labors of Rev. J. Hill, with a membership of nineteen, and meetings were held at the home of David Core until the completion of "Core's Chapel" in
[pg. 304]






[pg. 305]



     Bourneville was the scene of a noted tragedy in 1844, the murder of Frederick Edwards.  He was reputed to have considerable money on his person or concealed about the store of Douglas Smith, in which Edwards slept.  Two men, named Thomas and Maxon, conceived a plan to possess this money; and, forcing an entrance to the store,  aroused Edwards, who was sleeping in a room adjoining.  Without thinking of consequences, he seized the nearest burglar, and in the melee which followed, received seventeen knife stabs, any one of which, it was thought, would have proved fatal.  Thomas was supposed to have been a real murderer, though Maxon was arrested an accessory, but made his escape from the county jail, and was never recaptured.  Thomas was captured in Pennsylvania and brought to Chillicothe, where he was tried, convicted of murder, and hanged in 1846
[pg. 306]

     The first tavern in Bournevile was opened by William Rowe, in 1832, and the same building served the public for more than fifty years.  The first resident physicians were Dr. Thompson and Morton, who located in the town about the same time.  These were succeeded by many others during the seventy years of the town's existence.


     Mrs. Mary Edmiston was an early resident, who devoted herself to a special feature of medical practice, and whose eccentric habits left an impress upon those who knew her, and the name of Captain Molly" has been transmitted by family tradition, to the present-day inhabitants.  She came from Kentucky, a widow, with several small children, and located near the present site of Bourneville.  She dressed in a mixed garb of male and female attire, and rode a horse as a man rides.  Her hair was always closely cropped, and she wore a straw hat of her own manufacture, at all seasons of the year, and in all conditions of weather.  This hat was very unlike any attempt at female adornment.  "Captain Molly" was shrewd and quick-witted, always ready at repartee, and seldom came out second best in a war of words.  Though possessing a rough unseemly exterior, she had a good true heart within, and was generous, even to her own disadvantage.  The fees she collected of the wealthy families were liberally distributed among the poor, and the latter she cheerfully served without pay.  She died of cancer in 1836.


     Bourneville was incorporated and assumed the position accorded by that legal proceeding by the election of Elijah Bridwell, mayor, and establishing a municipal government.  But the Citizens were indifferent to the honors thus conferred and abandoned the charter two years aft4er it was granted.  The location is beautiful, and the spot historical.  There are many relics of the prehistoric race in Twin township.  These have been generally described in another chapter.
     The Independent Order of Odd Fellows is the only secret society now represented in the town.  This is designated as Lodge No. 808.  It has been prosperous form its organization to the present and numbers among its members many of the best men in the town and adjacent country.  It is a busy trading point, sustained by a large scope of good farming country, and its support is assured in the character and reputation of the business men.  Some of the stores would do credit to a much larger place.  Some small manufacturing is also done.  An excellent graded school in the village affords ample opportunities to the children in the acquirement of a good practical education.



* Abijah Flora is buried in Twin Township Cemetery - b. 1757  d. 1840 - Stone is at www.findagrave.com Memorial #46257895 - has picture of his grave stone and other information
** 1866 Nov. 20 - Gideon S. Coover md. Mary J. McKinzie at Ross Co., OH
1880  Census - Gideon S. Coover, aged 37 yrs. and children Myrtle O., Allice N., Jessie R., Samuel A., Ada M., Nannie H. and Mary J. Coover.
** 1900 at same place, Gideon, aged 57 yrs. and children:  Myrtle O. Coover, and son, Mckenzie C. aged 14 yrs., living with them
** In 1910 at same place, Gideon, aged 66 yrs. and daughter, Myrtle O. Coover, aged 42 yrs.
** In 1950 Jul. 17 - Adah M. Sonner, died age 80 yrs. b. Baumeville, Ross Co., OH - d/o Gideon & Mary M. McKenzie Coover.



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