Search billions of records on

History of Kirkwood Township

Kirkwood formed one of the first four original civil townships and extended from the Ohio river to now Guernsey, in which part of said county was included. It was erected November 25, 1801, and named in honor of Robert Kirkwood, the pioneer. On February 24, 1802, and August 15, 1804, Richland, Pease and Union were erected from the eastern portion. In January, 1810, part of its western territory was included in the establishment of Guernsey county. March 14, 1817, sixteen sections were taken off the northern end of the township in connection with twelve from Union township to create Flushing, since which time it has remained unchanged, with a square of thirty-six sections.

First Settlement

The first settlement in Kirkwood township was made on section eight, in 1800, by three brothers, Joseph, William and Barnet Groves, who migrated from Pennsylvania with their families, located and made improvements on this section. In 1802, a man by the name of McBride located and made some improvements on section eleven. In 1802 or 1803, John Israel settled on section two. John Bradshaw settled on section thirty-two in 1803 or 1804. In 1804, Hugh Gilliland and family settled on section twenty-five, and Hugh Ford on same section and John Heaney on section one during the same year. In 1804 or 1805, John Burton settled in the township; John McClain settled on section twenty-five; Anomias Randall on section thirty-two. In 1805, Thomas Perkins and family settled on section seventeen. In 1805 or 1806, James McKinney settled in the township. In 1806, Ralph Cowgill settled on section thirty- one. William Spencer settled in the township in 1805 or 1806. In 1808, Robert Griffin settled in the township about the same time. In 1807 or 1808, John Honnold, Josiah McColloch, John Jarvis, John Marsh, Francis Hall and Hugh McMahon, made settlements in the township. Thomas Barret settled on section thirty-two in 1807 or 1808. In 1808, Robert Waddell made his first improvements in the township. In 1808 or 1809, James Sheppard settled on section twenty-three. Daniel Conner and Basil Ridgeway made settlements in the township during the same years. Mathias Graves settled on land one-half mile east of where Hendrysburg now stands on section twenty-nine. Isaac Midkiff settled in the township in 1810 or 1811. Philip Ward settled on section 17 in 1811. John Ball on section sixteen the same year. Charles Harvey, Nicholas Gazaway and the Moores were among the early settlers. Jacob Barnett settled in the township in 1813. William Bratton in 1814. Abner Moore in 1814. John McFadden, in 1815. Alexander H. McCormick, in 1815; Alexander McKeever, in 1816; Rev. John McPherson, in 1816; Lewis Jones, in 1816; Henry Acton, in 1817; Eli Taylor in 1817; Patrick Hamilton, in 1819; Samuel Boden, in 1821; Joseph Reynolds, in 1824; Charles Smith, in 1826; Samuel Smith, in 1824; Robert Armstrong, in 1823. And there are many others who were here in an early day and endured the hardships of a pioneer life, labored hard to clear away the dense forests, make improvements and prepare the soil for cultivation. Some of them are mentioned in the history of Sewellsville.


In about 1798 a party of hunters were camping at a spring near where Jonathan Perkins' dwelling now stands. One evening when they returned to camp one of their party, by the name of Robinson, was missing. Diligent search was made for him, but he could not be found. They supposed him to be carried off a captive by the Indians, as there were some in the neighborhood at that time. In 1807 there was a gun barrel and some human bones found on the Perkins' farm, section 17, which were thought to be the remains of Robinson. In honor of this unfortunate man one branch of Stillwater creek bears his name, and is known as Robinson's branch.

In 1818 or 1819, near the centre of the township, John Clark was killed by a tree falling on him.

In 1820 a man by the name of Gilbert was found dead in the dam. His shoes were lying on the bank, and the remainder of his clothing was on his body. It was supposed that he had drowned himself.

Henry Roberts was found dead in the dam one morning. His horse was standing near the water's edge and the man's body in the water.

In 1827 or 1828 there was a man killed while raising a tobacco house by a log rolling on him. His name was not known.

In 1830 Samuel Douglass, while holding a log on a hillside, the log rolled, struck him on the head, and killed him instantly.

In 1830 or 1832 James Gould was killed on the road leading from Henrysburg. He was on his way home from town with his oxen and cart. The cart was upset, and a plow that was in the cart fell on him. The shear striking his side killed him.

In 1844 or 1845 William Jarvis was killed, while raising a house by a log falling on him.

In 1849 William Johnston was found dead on the hillside above Henrysburg, supposed to have been killed by the horses and wagon running over him.

In 1851 there was a destructive fire in Henrysburg, burning a steam flouring mill, storeroom, and dwelling house; also a stable with one horse was consumed by the flames.

In 1852 Philip Spear, a carpenter by trade, was killed while tearing down an old frame house, by one side of the building falling on him.

In 1856 or 1857 George Lewis and his son, Samuel, were killed in the coal bank at the old woolen mills by the bank falling on them.

In 1869 Louisa C. Fox was murdered b Thomas Carr on the farm now owned by Daniel Mummy. An account of this is found elsewhere.

Page 361


In 1809 or 1810, there was a log cabin school house erected on the Cowgill farm in section 31 near the southwest corner of the township. John Stewart kept the first school in this house, and continued teaching there for several years. David Long and James Round also taught several terms in this cabin.


The village of Henrysburg is located on the National pike in the south central part of Kirkwood township, section fourteen. The pike was built through this part of the country in 1825-6. Charles Hendry purchased the land that is now occupied by the town shortly after the pike was completed. He first engaged in the mercantile business, meeting with success. In 1826 or 1827 he erected a stream flouring mill which brought people to the place and gave rise to the laying out of a town. In 1828, Mr. Hendry employed Mr. Briggs, a surveyor, to lay out and make a plat of a town which he called Henrysburg in honor of his own name. The lots extended on both sides of the pike, across a quarter section, except a short distance on the north side of the pike at the east end of the village, being 52 feet on the street or pike. A number of lots were at once sold and small log dwelling houses erected thereon, that have since been torn away and frame buildings erected in their stead. The first building of any connection, in which he engaged in the mercantile business for several years. Since 1867 it has been used for hotel purposes by Mrs. Conner. In 1843 there was a woolen mill built by a joint stock company on the present site of the distillery, which was operated with success for a number of years, manufacturing all kinds of woolen goods until in 1860 it was abandoned. The stream flouring mill built by Charles Hendry, in 1826 or 1827, was owned and operated by different men until in 1851, it was destroyed by fire. Another mill of the same ground, operated about one year and was also consumed by fire.

In 1849-50, the flouring mill known as the National Flouring Mill, was erected a little northwest of where the old woolen mill stood, by Christopher Shaffer. It contains three run of burs, two for flour and one for chopping feed. The capacity of the mill is one hundred barrels of flour per day. It has been owned and operated by several parties since its erection. Since 1871 it has been operated by Job Dillon. In 1862 the old woolen mill building was purchased by Christopher Shaffer, converted into a distillery, and has been used as such since that time. At present it is operated by William Henderson, and owned by the Shaffer heirs.

In 1837-8, the M.E. Church society erected a brick church building, which was used for church purposes by the society until 1869; they then tore away the old building, and erected the present frame structure for church uses, in which they worship. The Christian church society erected a church edifice in the village in 1869, which they hold their meetings in at present.

In 1854 Messrs. E. Combs and McCartney built the Hendrysburg flouring and saw mill at the east end of the village. At present it is owned and operated by Trimmer & Hill.

At present the village contains about eighty-five dwelling houses, with a population of about 375.

Page 362

It contains three dry goods stores, two grocery stores, one drug store, postoffice, with David McCoy postmaster, two physicians, one dentist, two wagon shops, four blacksmith shops, one distillery, two saloons, two stream flouring mills, one with saw mill in connection, one livery and sale stable, two hotels, one school building containing four rooms, two churches, I.O.O.F. Lodge, Reading club, temperance organization, & c., and one Grand Lodge.

Page 363

Salem M.E. Church

This society was organized in about 1810 or 1812, with eighteen or twenty members. They held their meetings in private residences until 1813 or 1814, they erected a hewed log church building near the western line of section ten, in Kirkwood township. Their benches in the house were small logs split in halves, the flat side shaved smooth, holes bored, and sticks put in for legs, which they used for seats for several years, then made seats of boards. Their fire place was a box set in the middle of the house with dirt in, on which they made a fire place, and built a stone chimney in the center of the house. This house they used as a place to worship, until 1840; then they erected the present frame structure, situated near where the old log building stood, in which they hold their services. The society has been very prosperous. The membership at present is eighty. In 1846, on account of their number being great it was divided into two classes, and continues so at present.

Early Members

Mr. Honnold and wife, John Clark and wife, Mrs. Thos. Major, Mrs. Waddell, George Waddell, John McFadden and wife, Henrietta Murphy, Sarah Moore, Eleanor Waddell, John Fox, and many others.


Revs. Knox, Thorn, Archibald, Springer, Wolfe, C. Waddell, Geo. Waddell, Worthington, McIllyar, Huston, Vertican, Feitt, Coil, Shaw, Rhodes, Slutz, and many others have been ministers in the circuit. Rev. Strahl is the present pastor.

Class Leaders

The first class leader was John Fox; 2d, Isaac Midkiff, who acted in that capacity for about twenty-five years; 3d, Alex. Carr Skadden, for ten years; 4th, Samuel Douglass for six years; 5th Earl Douglass for three years; 6th Jonathan Perkins fifteen years. William G. Major has been leader of class No. 2 for ten years, and is still filling the position. John T. Grove is leader of class No. 1 at present.

Burying Ground

Near the church is the burying ground. In 1815, there was but one grave, and that was the grave of a man by the name of Dallas. But since that time many of the first settlers, or those that suffered at the hands of a pioneer life, have been laid in their long resting place in this cemetery. In passing by the ground it is plain to be seen that the monster death has been doing its work in that vicinity. In this burying ground can be seen a monument, erected by the citizens of the neighborhood in memory of Louisa C. Fox, who was murdered by Thomas Carr in 1869.

Biographical Sketches

Ralph Cowgill was born in Berks county, Pa 1775. He went to Virginia when a young man and there learned the blacksmith trade. He married Mary Carter, of Virginia, and in 1806, he, with his wife and six children, moved to Belmont county, and located in Kirkwood township, on section thirty-one. His first improvement was a round log cabin, in which he lived for a few weeks, then he erected a hewed log house with shingle roof, (it being the first shingle roofed house in the township) in which he lived during the remainder of his life. There is a hewed log barn still remaining on the farm in a good state of preservation, 26 x 63 feet, that was built by him in 1808. He owned one section of land (No. 31) and followed farming during his sojourn in Belmont county. He reared a family of nine children, viz: Margaret, Isaac, William, Aquilla J., Tamer, Jesse, Sarah, Eliza and Ralph. All are deceased except three, Isaac, Aquilla J. and Eliza. He died in 1840; his wife survived him until 1851.

Aquilla J. Cowgill, a son of the above named Ralph Cowgill, was born in Loudon county, Virginia, September 28, 1801. He came to Belmont county with his parents in 1806, as previously stated, and located on the farm where he is now living. His education was acquired in a log cabin school house that stood on his father's farm. He was reared a farmer and has followed farming during his life. He married Margaret Clark in 1842, and settled on the farm where he is now living. Their union resulted in two children, (sons). His wife died in 1856, and in 1857, he married Sarah Milner. They are spending their old days in peace, surrounded by all the comforts of life, and esteemed all who know them.

Page 364

Samuel Kirk, a son of William Kirk, was born in Chester county, Pennsylvania, June 6, 1792. When in his fifth year his father moved to Fayette county, Pennsylvania, and in 1813, with his family, migrated to Belmont county, Ohio; settled on a farm one-half mile northwest of Flushing, and remained there until his death, which occurred August 27, 1841. Our subject married Rachel Jones in 1815, built a cabin in the woods on a tract of land which he had purchased, located two miles west of Flushing, near where the village of Rock Hill now stands, and lived there until his death, October 8, 1877. His wife died April 11, 1872. They reared a family of five children: Levi, Sarah A., Edith, Wm. B. and Lydia H.. Levi, the eldest child, was born July 11, 1817, he married Hannah Russell, and died in North Lewisburg, Champaign county, Ohio, October 21, 1871, leaving no children. Sarah Ann is still living; has been married twice; first to John Clark, second to John Riggott; she survived them both, and is living one mile south of Rock Hill, in Flushing township. Edith married Westley Russell, by whom she had eleven children: Simeon, Rachel A., Levi R., Mary M., Luther, Adaline, Jemima, William, Arthur, Everet and Nora; herself and husband are deceased.

William B. Kirk married Ann Jenkins, November 27, 1845, by whom he has four children: Cyrus H., now merchandising in St. Clairsville; John J., now merchandising in Henrysburg; R. Willis, clerking in his father's store in Morristown, and Elwilla, now in her eighteenth year. Wm. B. Kirk was mustered into Co. B, 126th O.V.I., as captain, on the 7th of August, 1862. He served until June 25, 1863, and was discharged on account of ill health. At present he is keeping a store in Morristown.

Lydia H. Kirk, the youngest child of Samuel Kirk, married H.L. Raymond, by whom she had four children: Flora Ida, Frank R., Etheline and Frederick.

Page 376

Elihu Hollingsworth was the son of Levi Hollingsworth, and first saw the light in a small log house one and a half miles west of Flushing January 12, 1813. At the age of 18 Elihu went to learn the trade of hatter with his brother. Remained three years. July 11, 1839, he married Lydia Ann Fischer, and set up business on his own account in the town of Belmont. Children born: Mary L., March 20, 1842; David A., November 21, 1844; Lovina A., March 2, 1849; Benjamin F. born April 21, 1840, and died June 1, 1963. He removed to Flushing May 1, 1847, where he followed his business three years, and then engaged in general merchandising. In 1867 he retired from business, and now lives on his income, having during his active life by industry and energy, accumulated a competence. Mr. Hollingsworth, with commendable zeal and public spirit, has kept a meteorological record from April, 1857, up to the present time.

Page 380

Joseph H. Douglass, son of George and Eleanor Douglass, was born in Warren township, Belmont county, December 14, 1844. His occupation from boyhood has been farming. On the 10th of February, 1872, he married Annie M. Stewart, who was born April 8, 1848. They have two children, viz: Charles D., who was born November 30, 1872, and Jennie E., born April 20, 1876. After his marriage he removed to where he now resides, one and a half miles northeast of Barnesville.

George Douglass, Jr., son of George and Eleanor Douglass, was born in Warren township, Belmont county, on the farm where his father yet resides. He married Martha E. Stamp March 10, 1863,and is the parent of four children: Richard G., James C., Joseph E. and Eleanor S.. After his marriage he removed to Morgan county, Ohio, where he remained three years, and then to where he now resides on the old Jones farm. His farm is underlaid with excellent coal. His principal business has been the growing of tobacco.

Page 357

Submitted and transcribed by: Diane

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

Return to Townships Page | Return to Belmont Co Home Page