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History of Flushing Township

Flushing township was erected from parts of Kirkwood and Union, and organized March 14, 1817. It is situated in the northwest corner of the country, and bounded as follows: on the north by Harrison county, on the west by Guernsey, on the south by Kirkwood and Union townships, and on the east by Wheeling township.

It is three miles wide and ten miles long, and contains thirty sections, eighteen of which were taken from Kirkwood township, range 6, township ten and twelve from Union township, range 5, township nine. It received its name from Flushing, the principal village in the new township.

The Topography

Of the township is somewhat varied, and depends upon its geological structure the soil being composed of the limestone and shales of the "upper productive" coal measures. The soil being of soluble nature, and the locality elevated, the streams cut for themselves deep beds with lateral ravines, making the surface of the country somewhat broken and hilly. An anticlinical axis or dividing ridge runs through the eastern portion of the township forming the dividing line between the waters of Wheeling creek running eastward and those of the Big Stillwater running westward into the Tuscarwas. Notwithstanding the unevenness of the surface the soil is of excellent quality, being strongly impregnated with lime, and bears good crops of wheat, corn and grass. The land is especially adapted to sheep raising and wool growing is the principal business of the farmers, the merino sheep being the breed best adapted to the locality. Coal is abundant and forms an excellent fuel, nut the consumption is confined to home use as there is as yet no outlet to market by rail. The "Cleveland, Tuscarwas Valley and Wheeling Railroad" traverse the township from northwest to southeast, but is not yet completed.

It is impossible at this date to state with certainty who was the first settler in Flushing township, the reader is referred to the biographies of early settlers for information.

Township Officers

The first election was held in the village of Flushing on the first Monday of April, 1817,when the following board of township officers were elected, viz:

Justices of the Peace Henry Long, James Crozier and James Judkins.
Trustees Isaac Branson, James Wright, Enos West.
Clerk Edward Bethel.
Treasurer Samuel Holloway.
Fence Viewers Abraham Brokaw, John Lewis.
Constables Josiah Wickersham, Levi Harseman.
House Appraisers Josiah Wickershaw, Samuel Pickering.
Overseers of the Poor William Kirk, John Howell.
Road Supervisors Jonas Pickering, Joseph Wright, Thomas Morrow, Henry Stotler, Jonathan M. Ellis.

About 1832 the township trustees moved the polls from Flushing to Rock Hill, and in April, 1877, the township was divided into two precincts the polling places being established at Flushing and Belmont Ridge.

Township Officers for 1878-9

Justices of the Peace John Moore, Jr., W.G. Cash, Levi Starkey.
Treasurer Elihu Hollingsworth.
Assessor W.J. Vance.
Board of Education Joshua Kirk, chairman, Levi Starkey, clerk, Albert Conrow, Wm. McDonough, John Moore, Jr., M.C. Dunn, Robert Todd, Henry Savage, John Nabb, M. Greenfield.
Trustees Samuel Fisher, Hirman Howell, J.L. Chandler.
Township Clerk Levi Starkey.
Constables John Henry, James E. Gardner.
Supervisors of Roads Elisha Ellis, William Kirk, James Randolph, T.C. Mills.


There are at present in the township, seven churches (a separate account of which will be found elsewhere); twelve schools, two stream flouring mills and one woolen factory.


The population of Flushing township in 1830, was 1,671, or 825 males and 846 females, (including the village of Flushing.) The population according to the census of 1870, is as follows:

Township (White) 1,352 Colored, 132; total 1,484
Village " 195 " 11; " 206
Total 1,690

Reminiscences Of Early Settlers

A man by the name of Elisha Ellis, familiarly known as "Big Elisha," in contradistinction to another gentleman of the same name, of less stature, says that he came to the township in 1804; crossed the Ohio at Wheeling, struck into the woods, followed a trail westward, and settled on section 33, R. 5, T.9. At that time there were no houses in the vicinity of Flushing, and the town site was a thicket of underbrush and grape vines. A man named John Winters kept a small store at St. Clairsville to exchange for powder, lead, and salt. Ginseng sold for 10 cents per pound, snake root for 25 cents, powder $1.50, and lead 50 cents per pound. Salt was an article greatly sought after, and commanded a high price. It was brought from Alexandria, Virginia, on horseback, two and a half bushels to a horse one man managing three horses and when transported to Ohio, sold for $8 per bushel. Later, when wheat was raised, the farmers traded one bushel for a pound of coffee. Eggs sold for three or four cents per dozen.

Hanna Ellis wife of Elisha (the lesser) says that when her father, Levi Hollingsworth, came to Flushing, in 1804 he occupied a shanty 12 x 14, with puncheon floor, door, ceiling, table and cradle, with greased paper as a substitute for window lights. Beds were made by setting a post at a proper distance from the wall, placing poles from that to the wall, and stretching deer skins thereon.

Elisha Ellis relates that his father, accompanied by his mother, had gone away, taking the gun with him, when the children, going out to swing, looked up to the bent oak from which the swing was suspended, and saw a large animal resembling a dog looking down at them. They ran into the house and barred the door, when the panther sprang to the ground, ran the dogs under the house, and then killed a deer in sight. When the parents returned in the dusk of the evening and called the cow, the panther answered. It was shot the next day.

A circumstance illustrative of the manner in which the early pioneers were obliged to manage to secure a living, is given by David Conrow, who, when a boy got up at midnight, shelled a grist of corn, placed it on the back of a faithful old ox, carried it to the mill, hitched the oxen into the mill and ground the grist by moonlight, and returned home in time for his mother to bake cakes for breakfast.

Submitted and transcribed by: Diane

Source: History of Belmont and Jefferson Counties, Ohio by J.A. Caldwell 1880

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