Perry Township was organized on December 30, 1823, containing land in Sections 33, 34, and 35 in Township 2 of Range 4 and containing land in sections of Township 3, Range 5. It is bounded on the North by Wayne Township, Center Township, and Green Township. It is bounded on the East by Green Township and Jackson Township. It is bounded on the South by Jackson Township and Benton Township and it is bounded on the West by Washington Township and Wayne Township. Perry Township relies completely upon the waters of the Little Muskingum. The Crane's Nest Fork drains the Southwestern and Southern parts of the township. Witten's Fork and its branches drains the Northern and Eastern parts of the township.
Considerable limestone is found in many of the hills and the soil is good. Coal has been found in several spots and on Crane's Nest in Section 21, the seam of coal is unusually thick (about four feet) for this area.
Jesse Fleming built the first cabin in 1800 but it was not until 1812 that permanent settlements were made. In that year, Daniel Dye, Sr. and his sons, Daniel, Vincent, David, Reuben, Enoch, and John R., settled about one and one-half miles Southeast of Antioch. It was known as "Dye's Settlement" for many years.
Other early settlers were Jesse Brown, Thomas Mitchell, Sr., Thomas Mitchell, Jr., a man by the name of Mr. Vandevanter, Jacob Huffman, Abraham Huffman, Michael Stine, Samuel Bottenfield, Darlan Long, John Miller, Ephraim Headlee, Thomas Rhinehart, Samuel Swartwood, and Jacob Drum, Sr. -- all of whom settled around 1820-1827.
It is believed that the first child to be born in Perry Township was either born to a man by the name of Mr. Fleming or to a man by the name of Mr. Vandevanter. Israel Lentz settled on a farm which had been formerly owned by his son, David Lentz, in 1880. Joseph Morris settled in Perry Township in 1829. John R. Dye and Daniel Dye, Jr. were the first persons to be married in Perry Township but the names of their wives is unknown.
The first election was held on a farm owned by George Foraker, located on the Creek, in the spring of 1824. The first officers of Perry Township were as follows: Peter Hought, Trustee; Samuel Kincaid, Trustee; James Okey, Clerk; Tobias Haught, Constable; and Jacob Drum, Sr., Justice of the Peace.
Thomas Mitchell, Sr. built the first water mill on Witten Fork in 1826. It was a two-story frame building about 30 feet by 40 feet in size and it had two runs of stone. Mr. Mitchell also built the first saw mill at the same site in 1824. James Alexander owned the property at a later date.
The first school house was built in Dye's Settlement at an early date but it is not known who the first teacher was. It is known, however, that Henry Johnson taught school there in 1824. There were nine schools in Perry Township in 1880 -- all of them being good, plain, and comfortable buildings.
The first sermon was preached at the home of Daniel Dye, a Baptist minister. The Baptists built the first church, known as the Unity Baptist Church. The second church was organized in Antioch and was named the Christian Church. Ministers of the Christian Church preached for many years before any church buildings were erected. There is a church of this denomination on the East side of Perry Township, near Eddy's Mill. The Christian Church at Antioch is a frame building about 30 feet by 40 feet in size with a membership of 200 people. There were two M.E. churches in Perry Township in 1880. In 1881, Reverend J.A. Wright was the pastor for the M.E. Church with a membership of 116 persons.
The first Sabbath school in Perry Township was organized in 1827 by Daniel Dye, Jr. at his own home near the Unity Church. There were approximately 20 schools in Perry Township. In 1880, Robert Haythorn was the Superintendent of the Pleasant Grove Sabbath School; Simeon Skill was the Superintendent of the Green Brier Sabbath School; T.L. Twinem was the Superintendent of the Antioch M.E. Sabbath School; and E.L Lynch was the Superintendent of the Christian Church Sabbath School.
Henry Johnson, who had the adventure with the Indians in early Monroe County history, died in Antioch.
William Jarvis organized Antioch in 1837. In 1881, Antioch was a place of considerable business having three stores of general merchandise, two blacksmith shops, two hotels, two physicians, one wagon-maker's shop, one steam grist and woolen mill, millinery shops, and other places of business. There was a population in 1881 of 210 people. At this time, Antioch and Green Brier were the only two post offices in Perry Township. A town by the name of Mechanicsburg was organized at the coal banks on the Creek in 1882. At that time, the population was 1,124 people.Continue...