Bethel Township was organized on March 5, 1832, containing 20 square miles. It is located in the Southwestern corner of Monroe County. The Northeastern part of Bethel Township is watered by the Clear Fork of Little Muskingum. The middle part and the Western part are watered by Indian Creek. The Southern part is watered by Witten Creek and the branches of Clear Fork.
The Cumberland seam of coal was found in Bethel Township. It is readily traceable from Elk Township, Noble County, Ohio. Part of this seam of coal has been extensively mined.
Among the first settlers in Bethel Township were Frederick Crow; Michael Crow; Martin Crow; Jacob Miller; Robert Martin; Adams Davis; Jacob Lindemood; Thomas Masters; Jonathan Conners; Stephen Conner; Seth Adams; Henry Hall; Thomas Hall; Thomas Martin, Jr.; and others. Among the first settlers along the Clear Fork Bottoms in Bethel Township were the Lindemood family, the Dearth family, the Hupp family, the McVay family, the Martin family, the Miller family, the Conner family, and the Davis family -- all of which were large families.
Jacob Milller built the first cabin in Bethel Township in 1817. His son, John, was the first child born in Bethel Township. Jacob Miller was married to Rebecca Martin.
The first election was held at the home of Woodman Okey. The following officers were elected for Bethel Township: Robert Martin, Trustee; Jacob Miller, Trustee; Woodman Okey, Trustee; Jonathan Hendershot, Clerk; Robert Martin, Treasurer; Thomas Martin, Justice of the Peace; and A. Mackey, Constable.
The first grist-mill was built by Henry Winland in 1830. It was 20 feet by 30 feet in size, had one run of stone and a "corn crackers", and the bolt was run by hand, Mr. Winland added a sawmill to this grist-mill at a later date.
The first school was taught on the farm of Woodman Okey by Samuel Casey. The first postoffice was located at Lebanon around 1845-1846. The postoffice was called Masterton. It was named after Thomas Masters, the proprietor of the town. Mr. Masters organized Lebanon around 1842 and, in 1880, it had around 100 inhabitants. It is situated on the County line in the Southwestern part of Bethel Township. Another postoffice, called Marr, is located at the mouth of Indian Creek. A third postoffice, called Sycamore Valley, was located on Clear Fork in the Northern part of Bethel Township. Another postoffice, called Quarry, was established in Bethel Township in 1880. It was located in the Southeastern corner of Bethel Township.
The Methodist Episcopal Society was organized near Lebanon by Reverend Mordecia Bishop in 1839. Reverend Bishop preached the first sermon there. Among the first members were John Hannah, Elizabeth Hannah, Paren Pierce, C. Masters, Phebe Masters, Thomas Merridith, and Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Masters. Thomas Merridith was the first class leader. There was a membership of about 50 people in 1880.
The Christian Church was located in the Northwestern Part of Bethel Township. There was also a Free Methodist Church in Bethel Township but its location is unknown.
The population of Bethel Township, in 1880, was 1,165. M. Warwock and W.J. Allen were serving the Township as Justices of the Peace at that time.
Statistics for the school year ending on August 31, 1881, were as follows: Total amount of money received within the school year -- $1,844.80; Total amount of money paid to teachers within the school year -- $1,240.00; Total amount of money paid for fuel and other utilities within the school year -- $281.38; Balance on hand -- $323.42; Number of schools -- 7; Number of school rooms -- 8; Value of school property -- $2,100.00; Number of teachers -- 8; Average wages paid to teachers within the school year -- $27.00 per month; and the total number of pupils enrolled within the school year -- 308.