Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Muskingum County, Ohio

Chapter XXIII - Adams Township

This section is taken from the book "Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Muskingum County, Ohio" by Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1892, Columbus, Ohio. It is a wonderful source for Muskingum history and seems to be a source that Ione Bradford Supplee found much informastion in. I have found some errors and contradictions but that is to be expected especially since the author seemed to have gotten much of his information from the residents of the county as well as documented records.

    As near as can be ascertained the first settler within the bounds of what is now Adams township was James Wilcox, who was of English descent and came from a seafaring family who were early settlers of the state of Maine. James Wilcox first went to Marietta and then came to what is now Muskingum county, and settled on Wakatomaka creek, near Dresden, and in 1808-10 settled on Wills creek in what is now Adams township. The township being an entire wilderness, he built a hut of brush and bark in which he lived until he could build a log cabin in which to shelter his family. Bear, wolves and panther abounded, and his hogs had to be kept in a close pen to keep them from being devoured. One night he heard them squealing in terror and, seizing his ax, an implement which the old pioneer kept handy, not only for use but for defense, he sprang out and would have attacked bruin single handed, when his faithful wife, who was Rebecca Campbell, from Virginia, seized him by his hunting shirt and held him back. The bear sprang through the side of the pen and escaped, and the hogs following, were scattered through the woods in all directions. Mr. Wilcox cleared up his farm and reared a large family of children, and some of his descendants are citizens of this county and township.

    Among the next earliest pioneers were David Brelsford and Jacob Hashmar, and Hugh Ballentine, who settled on the bend of Wills creek. About 1814, Abraham Wisecarver settled on Section 18. Caleb Bidwell, Samuel Monroe, Robt. Osborn and Wm. Barton were early settlers. In 1817 Valentine Shirer from Pennsylvania settled on Section 16. In 1812 James Sprague and Sons of Monroe township, cut out the first road, which ran through Adams township. It was from the settlement on Symmes creek to Otsego, in Monroe township.

    Before there were any settlers in this township, there was a trail from Cambridge to the salt works, at the mouth of Wills creek, which was originally a deer trail, and at a long time previous to the settlement of Wilcox, the Indian scout and intrepid hunter and trapper passed over this trail. Probably about 1818 it was open for teams. Another road through the township was from Mechanicsville to Marquand's Mills, which was first laid out by Jonathan and Stephen Starkey, in 1821. The former picked it out, and the latter measured the distance by following at the supposed rate of three miles an hour.

    In 1814, Benjamin "Stuffle" Whitabury, with his step-sons, John and Wm. Campbell, and his step-sons-in-law, Jock Lewis and John Rife, came from Vermont. Whitabury settled on the Hanks farm. Wm. Campbell settled on the Foutch tract. Jock Lewis settled near the mouth of Symmes Creek. John Campbell "squatted" on the south part of the old Gordon farm, afterwards owned by Nixon Stewart and John Rife, and only a little distance from Whitabury, who expected to own a fine strip of land to the east and southwest of him. It seems that John Campbell was a squatter for five years and then bought his land, which he owned eight years, and sold out in 1828 and went West.

    In March, 1818, Anthony Slater, Esq., cut his way through the woods and settled on the homestead where he so long resided. He was from near Leesburg, Loudon Co., Va., and emigrated to Ohio in 1816 and settled in Washington Township this county. He built a log cabin and afterwards, in 1828, a hewed log house. He assisted in building the New Hope Lutheran church of hewed logs, in Salem township, and also the Bainter school house in Monroe township, which was one of the earliest school houses in this part of the county. He was one of the early justices of the peace of Monroe township before Adams township was formed, and himself and Sq. Caleb Jordan were the first justices of the peace of Adams township. Mr. Slater was justice of the peace for twenty-one years in succession. The first couple he married were Alpha Buker and his first wife. Mr. Slater went to mill and for mail to Zanesville, eighteen miles away. Letters from his parents in Pennsylvania cost l8¾, cents postage. The last bear known to have been killed in this township, was on Mr. Slater's farm, and met his death there at the hands of the famous hunters, H. and D. Bainter, in 1816. Anthony Slater was the ancestor of George W. and Harrison V. Slater, of this township. In 1818, Jacob Sturtz, a pioneer settler of Washington township, settled on land owned by George W. Bell. He understood the use of all kinds of tools. He was a fair blacksmith, gunsmith and carpenter, and made gunpowder which was sold. His descendants rank among our most honorable citizens. Charles Sturtz, son of Jacob Sturtz, came with his father to Adams township when he was six years of age and grew up with the pioneers. When young, he was a great hunter, and became a substantial farmer and business man. He is now a venerable man in his eightieth year and has many reminiscences of pioneer days. In 1818-19, Charles Marquand Sr., and Stephen Starkey, petitioned congress to reduce the price of land from $4.00 to $2.25 per acre, and to sell it in smaller lots than 160 acres, which previous to this was the smallest amount which could be purchased. This opened the way for a rapid settlement of the township and men from New England, Virginians, Pennsylvanians, Germans and Irish came in bringing their families. In 1820, John Barrett came here from Salt creek and was followed by John Bell, of Perry township, who was a soldier in the war of 1812, and reared a large and respectable family of children. He settled in Perry township in 1811.

    In 1830 Basil Ridgway came from Belmont county. He was secretary of the board of trustees of Edwards, now Fairview church, in 1836-1838. In the spring of 1821 (some authorities say as early as 1818-1819,) Mordecai Edwards came from Salt creek and put up a little log cabin on the farm where his son William now lives. "Father Edwards," as he was known to the pioneers, was the stanch friend of the Christian religion and of education, and his influence as one of the founders of the Edwards school and Fairview church, has been far-reaching, extending not only to this generation and this township, but to many generations to come and throughout the country. He entered the land on which he built his humble cabin, and cleared up his farm from the heavy timber. His wife was Phoebe Barrett. They attended the old Methodist church at Wheelens, of which Mrs. Edwards was a member, and both were members of the original class formed by the Rev. Jesse Roe, called Bethesda, and also of the first Fairview society, the history of which could not be written without giving an account of his connection with it. Afterwards came the Millers, Swigers, Shanafelts, Davises, Yearians, Fillers, Crumbakers, and many others.

    In 1826, on account of the inconvenience in working the roads, Adams township was formed from Monroe and Madison. It was named Adams, at the Suggestion of Caleb Jordan, Esq., and in honor of John Q. Adams, then a candidate for president. Soon after this Solomon Wenna came with his family. In 1826 James Stewart came from Jefferson county.

    In 1827 John Wagoner moved here. David Ross came the same year. John Ross was a local director about twenty years and at his death was justice of the peace. Jacob Gaumer, Jr., came to Ohio in 1808 with his father, Jacob Gaumer, who was a Revolutionary soldier and settled first in Washington township and then in Salem township, giving two acres of his land for the Lutheran church. Jacob Gaumer, Jr., after marriage, in 1814, moved with his family through the woods and settled in Adams township, on the land now occupied by Geo. W. Bell. He was a noted hunter and selected this land on one of his hunting excursions. He built the first brick house in Adams township. The brick were made and burned on his farm in 1840 and the building was erected in 1841, and is still in good condition. Mr. Gaumer assisted to build the log Lutheran church and also the barn structure which took its place. He was a soldier in the war of 1812.

    Among the first settlers was David Henry, a squatter on the Crumbaker farm. "Pensioner Davis," a Revolutionary soldier, lived on the Knisely lot, and afterwards moved into a rail pen just below D. Sarbaugh. Joe Williams, a blacksmith on the D. Ross farm. He moved away in 1819. In 1823 S. J. Hanks settled on Section 25. In 1831 Jacob Wagoner settled on Section 24. From 1825-1835 many families came and went. Campbells, Stoners, Crusemans, Sturges, Starkeys, Shanafelts, Yearians, and others had left. But Joys, Melchers, Powelsons, Ramseys, Sandels, Mitchells, Shaws, Sarbaughs, Jordans, Tomlinsons, Rollings, Rollers, Cooneys, Shoemakers, Millers, Browns, Priors, came into the township. Among others the Vinsels have figured much to the credit of the township. The Swarts family have been publicly known, and have a wide influence.

    The Shaws became public business men and have wielded much power. The Laffles have been helpers for good in the community, and loyal to their country in war. George Wertz, Esq., reared a family who are ornaments of society and of strict integrity. Among the original pioneers large families were the rule, and it is worthy of note that Asa Prown, a settler on the old Stewart farm, had a family of eighteen children. In 1833 the first saw-mill was built by David Swigert on Section 23. In 1835 David Brelsford built a saw-mill on the river bearing his name. A saw-mill was also built by William Willis on Symmes creek; date is unknown.

    The first marriage of which there is any record in the township was solemnized between David Shirer and Lydia Gaumer in 1822. The first blacksmith was David Brelsford in 18l0; settled on Section 1. Phineas Tomlinson was also one of the first blacksmiths in the township. The first frame house was built by William Barton. Anthony Slater introduced the first threshing machine and the first mower into this township.

    A petition was presented by Caleb Jordan, Esq., signed by a number of citizens of Madison and Monroe townships, setting forth that they labor under many difficulties and disadvantages in consequence of the distance they have to travel to elections, and praying that a township may be set off of part of Monroe and Madison townships, and the commissioners believing the prayer of the petitioners necessary for the convenience of the inhabitants and township officers, do hereby order a new township to be set off according to the following boundaries, to-wit: Beginning at the northeast corner of Salem township line and running thence west along said line to the northwest corner of said line; thence north to Coshocton county line; thence east to the northwest corner of the original survey of township No. 3, range 5; thence south to the place of beginning, comprising the original surveyed township No. 3 in the 6th range of military land, which shall constitute a new township to be called Adams township. Also ordered by the commissioners, that an election be held at the house of Caleb Jordan, Esq., on the 1st day of January next, being January 1, 1827, to elect township officers for the township. December 5, 1826."

    An election was held at the house of Caleb Jordan, Esq., and a full set of officers, except justices of the peace, were elected viva voce. Caleb Jordan was a resident of Madison township in section 14, and justice of the peace, and Anthony Slater was a resident of Monroe township and a justice of the peace, and both were included in the new township. As "viva voce" was not a legal method of voting, this election was declared null, and a new election ordered. The place was near the present town house on section 18, at the residence of John Campbell, and it took place April 2, 1827. Caleb Jordan was appointed clerk; James Wilcox, Anthony Slater and Jesse Roe were appointed judges of the election, which resulted as follows: Town clerk, Caleb Jordan; trustees, Anthony Slater, James Wilcox and Benjamin Whitebury; overseers of the poor, Abraham Wisecarver and David Ross; fence viewers, Jacob Sturtz and Powell Chrisman; treasurer, John Campbell; constables, John Shanafelt and John Mullen; supervisors, David Swiger, Thomas Green, Francis Tittis and Robert Brown. The first grand juror was Jesse Roe; the first petit juror was Mathew Humphrey. In 1829 the election was at the house of Adam Miller, and afterward alternated between private-houses and schoolhouses. In 1876 a town house was erected on land belonging to Mary Stewart in section 18.

    The Bethesda M. E. church is the oldest religious organization within the bounds of Adams township. Its origin can be traced to "Wheelens" in Madison township, which was the place of worship for the original pioneers for many miles around. It is now forsaken and the humble church residence is in ruins. On the authority of Rev. Hugh W. Stewart, who was born and reared in Adams township and took a great interest in its history, we make the statement that the first sermon in Adams township was preached in the neighborhood of Bethesda in 1821 by Rev. Jesse Roe, who was a very zealous local preacher of the Weslyan stamp, and was the real founder of both the Bethesda and Fairview societies.

     In 1826 a class was first organized at the residence of John E. Honnold and consisted of the following persons: Jesse Roe, James Stewart, Mordecai Edwards, John E. Honnold and their wives. This class sometimes met at a school house, at others at the house of Rev. Roe.

    In 1827 a class was organized by Joseph Casper and Cornelius Springer at Jesse Roe's school house. It was composed of Jesse Roe, Margaret his wife, and their son Thomas, James Stewart, Margaret his wife, and their son John; Mordecai Edwards and wife; William Barton, Jane his wife, their son Alexander and daughter Sarah; Caleb Bidwell and wife. James Stewart was the class leader. Rev. Jesse Roe was largely instrumental in introducing Methodism into Adams township. He lived the life of a devout Christian and died strong in the faith he had preached to others.

    A log church was built in 1835, and dedicated by Rev. H. S. Fernandes - the text being Genesis xxviii: 16, 17. A white frame church was dedicated by W. F. Lauck in 1856, and marks the old site. At this date, June, 1892, a movement is on foot for the erection of a new and more elegant structure. The orginal members of Roe's or Bethesda church, in 1831, we give in full. The records from which this is taken are still preserved but very much worn, and contain nothing further of interest. The list shows who constituted the class from which Fairview church sprang. It was led by James Stewart, Sr. James Stewart, class leader; Margaret Stewart, John Stewart, James Stewart, Jr., Jane Stewart, Ann Stewart, Samuel Steadman, Martha Steadman, Mordecai Edwards, Phoebe Edwards, Margaret Roe, Mary Noble, Nancy Barclay, Robert Shields, Susanna Shields, James Armstrong, Rachel Armstrong, Mary Hill, Mary Steers, Wm. Hilling, Pleasant Hilling, Mary Winner, Aaron Winner, Elizabeth Miller, Jeremiah Hanks, Catherine Hanks, Helen Hanks, Martha Lucas, Mary Ridgway, Wm. Collins, Elizabeth Collins, Margaret Burnside, Jane Burnside, John F. Honnold, Mary Honnold, Catherine Jackson, Jane Needler, Elizabeth Titus, Mary Titus, 1st; Mary Titus, 2nd; Harriet Armstrong, Jacob Linder, Alice Linder, Adam Miller, Mary Stump, George Needler, Benjamin Stump, William Davis, Rebecca Davis, Jane Yearing, Jacob Yearing, Catherine Davis, Nixon Stewart, Elizabeth Snoots, Elizabeth Wilcox, Elizabeth Walls, Charlotte Larnum, Mary Seaborn, Elizabeth Hanks, Mary J. Steers, Mary Winner, Eliza Atchison, Francisaum Roe, Lavinia Hill, Sarah Hecathorn, Robert Roe, Christian Hecathorn, Mary A. Davis, Elizabeth Guyer, Amelia Steers, Rhoda Atchison, Sarah Florence, Lydia James, Anice Atchison, George Parsmore, Margaret Humphries, Elizabeth Stewart, Jane Gregg, Samuel Titus. John Titus, Alvira Linder.

    Rev. Jesse Roe was a zealous Methodist preacher of the pioneer type. He was the real founder of both Bethesda and Fairview church. He was largely instrumental in the spread of Methodism in this part of the county, and the marks of his efforts are very plain to the historian. He died in 1828 in the faith he had preached to others, and was buried in the Wheelens graveyard. Before the church was built, the land adjoining the church site was bought by Robt. Shields and Robt. Halsty for burial purposes. The first burial therein was Jonathan Rudd's child. In 1882, the number of church members was 90. The leaders were Nathan Ross, John Foster and Samuel W. Sutton, Jr. The Bethesda church is now in a flourishing condition and one of the most zealous Methodist Churches in the county.

    No history of Adams township would be complete with (sic) a full account of the founding and progress of the famous Fairview church, which from the times of the pioneers, has been the most noted church in Adams township and for miles around. Its converts are numbered by the hundreds, and many of the Methodists of this county and in far distant places became connected with their church in this township. It is the second oldest church organization in what is now Adams township, although the original pioneer settlers of Adams township first attended the Methodist church at "Wheelens," probably as early as 1810-15, which is situated in the King neighborhood in Madison township. From Wheelens originated the society called Roe's, now Bethesda, and here our fathers and mothers attended divine services, until the neighborhood some four or five miles southeast became settled with Methodists and their friends. A branch from the old society was soon formed in this neighborhood, called by some Edwards, and some Wesley, and afterwards known as Fairview society. Many of the early members of Fairview church, when it was organized in 1831 and the few succeeding years, were received from Roe's, or Bethesda church. In fact, Mordecai Edwards and his wife were both members of Roe's church, as were also Wm. Hilling and wife and John Stewart, Wm. Davis and other prominent members. These two pure fountains of Christian life, one flowing from Wheelens and the other from Roe's societies, unite with the Edwards' neighborhood, to form Fairview church.

    The services continued to be held at the house of "Father Edwards," as he was called, until 1828, when a log school house having been erected on his farm, it was found more convenient to meet there. In this building a few would meet for prayer and class, and at times for preaching under Rev. Roe, and other times listening to exhortations by Bro. Granville Moody, then a licensed exhorter and afterwards an eminent Methodist minister. In the fall Of 1831 a class was formed by Rev. John W. Guilbert, then pastor in charge of Cambridge circuit, appointing Thos. Roe as leader. The first recorded meeting of the class was May 4, 1813. There were doubtless others unrecorded. At this date, an opportunity to unite with the church on probation was given, when Joseph and Eleanor Green, and Catherine Filler gave their names. The original class numbered twelve persons, as follows: Mordecai Edwards, Wm. Hilling, Basil Ridgway, Wm. Davis, and their wives; John Stewart, Catherine Shaw, Mary A. Davis, and Thos. Roe. We are indebted to the manuscript of the late Rev. Hugh W. Stewart, for mnany of the interesting reminiscences which follow. Of the twelve original members of Fairview Church, all have passed to a Christian's reward. Wm. and Pleasant Hilling removed to the west, and are deceased. Mordecai Edwards and wife are also dead. Of Bazil Ridgway, the following anecdote of his connection with his class, is preserved. When Rev. Guilbert enquired of him if he desired a society here, he responded "Yes, Sir." What is your first name? "Bazil." Upon which his name was enrolled with the others. He finally settled in Coshocton Co. He was very benevolent and gave largely in support of the church, and died July 18, 1857, a professing Christian. Sister Mary Ridgway was a member of Roe's Church from which she was transferred. She died Nov. 9, 1855. The names of William, Rebecca and Mary A. Davis, were laid aside on account of their removal to a distance. Catherine Shaw emigrated from Virginia and died March 22, 1854. Thos. Roe was a temporary leader from Rev. Jesse Roe's society, and never attended to his duty, living too distant. He afterwards became a local preacher, but finally lost his religion and died in Sept. 1861. Catherine Filler died in the Christian faith. Joseph Green was accidentally killed on a canal boat. His wife is also dead. John Stewart, known as "Father Stewart" was class leader for more than thirty years. Himself and wife are both deceased. Thus originated a society of Christians, whose work is a lasting monument. It is further quaintly remarked by Rev. Hugh Stewart, that "the external appearance of the school house in which they worshiped was somewhat of the backwoods style. The interior, by the labor of the sisters, was always neat and tidy. From the exterior and perhaps from the appearance of the people. Bro. Guilbert could never constrain his colleague, Bro. Lybrand, to preach in this place." He further naively remarks, "one thing strange in connection with the formation of this class is that both its founder and temporary leader fell from grace and left a dim evidence of their future glorification. That there should be any premonition in this, we deny, but simply remark its singularity."

    Wm. Hilling, John Stewart, and Mordecai Edwards were all class leaders, the class remaining undivided until 1828. It being large, it was then divided into two-one under the leadership of Mr. Edwards and the other under the leadership of John Stewart. In 1835, the society began to feel the need of a more Suitable place of worship, the services having been conducted in the log school house until this date. It was decided to build a hewed log church, which was completed by July of this year, on land donated in 1834 for church purposes by Mordecai Edwards, and near the grave of the old pioneer and class leader, James Stewart, who was tile first person buried in Fairview church yard in 1826.

    It was known as the Edwards meeting house. The following were the building cornmittee: Basil Ridgway, John Joy, Mordecai Edwards, John Stewart, Wm. Hilling, Joseph Green and Jacob Yearing. Solomon Wenner was employed as builder and erected a good hewed log building. The dedicatory sermon was preached by Rev. H. S. Fernandes. The subject, "The Wedding Garment." The society prospered this year, the class numbering fifty. During the year 1837, the class enjoyed a gracious revival. In 1838 it numbered sixtyfive members. The class was consequently divided, 33 being dedicated to John Stewart, and about the same number to Mordecai Edwards, the division being made by Rev. James Armstrong. Under the labors of E. H. Taylor and D. Cross in Feburary, 1847, one of the most powerful revivals of religion came over the society, thirty-four members united with the church, and this year there were in all eighty members, which is probably tile greatest number the society ever contained of full members. In 1851, the "Harmony Excitement," as it was called, came up, and many of the Fairview members joined that class, and by 1853, the members had decreased to 43, which was partly caused by emigration. In 1847, the trustees were John Stewart, M. Edwards, B. Ridgway, I. Knisely, J. J. Bell and A. Ross.

    In 1854, they began to feel the need of a new church building. The old site being considered too low, a new one was chosen ten rods north of the old one, on a high eminence which overlooks the surrounding country for miles, and is justly called Fairview. In the fall of 1855 the new church, a large and beautiful frame structure, was completed. In June, 1859, the church experienced another powerful revival, during which over thirty joined on trial. In January, 1864, another revival was vouchsafed the church, resulting in twenty-five full members. Among the many noted revivals in this church, those of 1847, '59 and '64 were the most remarkable. "This church has certainly been a power for good in the Lord." From it have gone forth many ministers of the gospel, exhorters, class-leaders, and Sabbath-school superintendents. Among them the Revs. Wm. C. Filler, Benj. F. Heskitt, C. N. Edwards, H. B. Edwards, J. E. Starkey, Wm. B. Stewart, H. W. Stewart; also as members, Revs. Nixon Stewart, John Macennally, and Thos. Roe, eight traveling and two local ministers of the gospel. In 1882 the church membership was eightyfour, The class leaders were Wm. Edwards and W. H. Reese; the steward was Wm. Edwards; the local preacher was Nixon Stewart; the circuit preachers were H. M. Rader and J. R. Hoover.

    No class of men have contributed more to the spread of pure morality than the itinerant Methodist preachers, and none have suffered more from the silence of the historian. The davs of the rifle, the ax, and the saddle-bags have passed away, and the voices of those old timeworn pilgrims are silent in their graves, but "By their words ye shall know them," and from far-off Maine to distant Oregon, the prosperous Methodist churches of the present day are the result of their humble efforts. Before them was spread the trackless forests and the sky girted prairie. Here, guided by the blazed track of the settler, there by the Indian war path or hunter's trail, they made their way from one appointment to another, spreading the gospel, and everywhere raising the standard of the cross.

    The first Sunday school was organized in 1835, with Wm. C, Filler as superintendent, Some of the first teachers were Sarah Florence, H. Edwards, Harriet Edwards, John and Nixon Stewart, B. Ridgeway and others. They used the Testament, spelling book and church hymn book.

    Soon after our German settlers began to come into the township, they felt the need of attending religious services in the language of the Fatherland, and according to the doctrines of Martin Luther. Therefore, in 1839 the Zion Evangelical Lutheran was organized by the Rev. Fred Minner. The following are the founders and original members of this church: John Vollmer, Jacob Fiers and family, Martin Sauer and family, Michael Strohecker and family, Adam Shroyer, John Denny, Martin Zimmers, David Grass, Christian Lerwig, John Hahn, Henry Lapp, Jacob Roller, Philip Moser, Michael Grass, Henry Smith and Michael Thresh. The church trustees were John Vollmer and Adam Shroyer. The ground for the church was given by Valentine Sandel, and a log church was erected in 1841. The early pastors were Revs. Minnier, Gehbel Kaemmerer, Schnell and Schmidt. Rev. A. N. Bartholomew, was the first pastor who preached in the English language. This occasioned a division in the church, the older members, clinginq to the language of their fathers, held the church property and burying ground, and became incorporated as the Evangelical Lutheran and Reform Zion church.

    In 1872 a new frame Church was erected north of the old church, the land for this purpose being given by Jacob Sandel. The dedicatory services were held October 5, 1873, by the Revs. G. W. Mechling, W. P. Rutterauff and J. Weller. The Rev. J. W. Bartholomew was the first pastor of this new society. He was succeeded by the Rev. J. P. Hentz, Rev. John Webber, and others. This new organization attracted the majority of the members of the old church. Among the wardens of this church, we find the names of Valentine Thresh, Albert Klein, and others, and among the elders, Peter Houk, Geo. Rieger and David Grass. The society is now in a flourishing condition. The Adams Township Baptist church, was constituted March 3, A. D. 1855, by elders Wm. Sedgwick and E. W. Handle. Among the prominent founders of the Church were John and Jacob Darner. It never had a large membership, but was very harmonious and strong in the faith. Preaching was held here monthly for some years, afterwards semi-monthly. July 23, 1881, Rev. L. R. Mears, pastor, preached the last sermon of which there is any record. The society had been gradually growing less by means of death, letters of dismissal, removals, etc., and the church, by this time, had not enough members to support it. It was finally disbanded, and in 1891, the church building was sold. The names of the original members were John Darner, Rebecca Darner, Abigail Darner, Henry Darner, Elizabeth Darner, Judson M. Darner, Angeline Darner, Mary Matchett, Abigail Sturtz, Abraham Gray, Elizabeth Layton, Elizabeth Hawk, Rebecca McKinney, Mary Clossin and Elizabeth Clossin. The clerks were John Darner, afterwards Judson M. Darner. John Matchett was deacon. Among the pastors was Rev. Eli Frey, Rev. W. M. Marshall, Rev. J. C. Skeimer and Rev. Lyman Mears, who was the last pastor.

    The first school house in this township stood on land belonging to a man named Minnick, near the site occupied bv the town house of to-day. The first teacher was Wm. Jennison from New England. He taught school here in 1820. He was succeeded by Thos. Barclay. In 1828, Edwards, Barrett, Wagoner, Gaumer and others joined and put up a log school house, at the old forks of the road below Fairview, on the land of M. Edwards. The roof was the regular old time weigh-pole affair. The buiding was 18X20 feet with puncheon floor and loft, the cracks of the loft between the slabs were daubed with mud, the floor was very loose and could easily be taken up. The chimney was an odd affair built in the southwest corner and would contain a back log about six feet long. The benches were of loose slabs or split logs with two round pins for legs at each end and one in the middle. The writing desks were rough slabs resting on pins driven into the wall. James Hayworth taught the first few terms in this house. He was a friendly old miser, and had considerable property which, when he died, went to the state. Many a nocturnal search, after his death, was made on his farm for his hidden wealth. He wore wooden shoes and lived alone in a rude hill, his habits of life being very simple. Sometimes to keep up his fire he would drag in a dry sapling, brush and all, and burn one end in the fire place while the other end stuck out of the open door. He was a curious, clever fellow, a fine scholar and good teacher. In 1836, a school house was erected by the Stewarts, Bells, Saffles, Cowdens and others. The custom was, in those days, for any neighborhood who needed a school house, to build one. They were subscription schools at first. This school house stood on the land of J. J. Bell. Edward Menaugh, familiarly called "Old Minney," taught the first few years here.

    In 1841 the citizens contributed and built a house on the farm of Solomon Wenner. This building was an improvement, and was built of hewed logs about 22x24 with permanent desks. B. V. Webster taught the last term in the Edwards schoolhouse and the first term at Wenner's. J. 0. Sullivan followed and introduced the "McGuffey Readers." Before this they read in almost anything. In 1853, in consequence of a new constitution of the state, the township was redistricted, and instead of five parts, as before, it was made into four districts. This threw much of the Wenner and the Lowe districts together, and henceforth it was designated No. 3. Dr. J. W. Wortman taught the last term in the Lowe house. Jas. I. Honnold taught in the Wenner house in 1853-54. In those old school houses were taught Cobb's, United States, elementary, and McGuffey's spellers, the bible, United States history, McGuffey's readers, and almost any other book, Smith's Geography, Parke's arithmetic and Kirkham's grammar. Grammar was a luxury. If a boy Could read, write, and cipher, he was considered well enough educated. If a man had a little idea of a noun, and that the earth was not flat, "above all of which was the knack of using a gad on a boy's back," then he might "teech skule.". Some of the teachers, however, were well educated. The pay of the country teacher was not large. Edward Menaugh received $12 per month and "boarded round." Hiram Shaw taught a subscription school in the thirties, at $1.25 per scholar, making about $10 per month. In 1838, Clegget Ridgway taught and was considered a good teacher, In 1854, a farm house was erected on the Sandel farm, 24x25, costing $339-37½. It was a substantial building of modern improvements. In 1844, in District No. 3, there was a large number of scholars. H. D. McGaw taught an average of over 60 per day. N. B. Stewart, who taught a very long term, had a daily attendance of fifty-one. Besides the common branches there was taught philosophy, history, music and algebra.

    Among the old time school teachers, were James Stewart, Hiram Shaw, C. C. Ridgway, Jonathan Gaumer, Levi Stoner, Caleb and Rev. A. Jordan, A. G. Honnold, and others who were efficient teachers. Rev. J. C. Spencer was "barred out" of his school house at one time and John Wagoner assisted him to open it. F. M. Buker found foxes and rabbits so abundant, that he had trouble to keep his boys in when it was a good day for hunting. He introduced steel pens to escape the nuisance of making them out of quills.

    Rev. George Gaumer became an effective Lutheran preacher. S. J. Hanks had seventy scholars; of these four died in the army. Rev. Thos. R. Taylor, A. M., taught school in this township at seventeen years of age and had an average of thirty scholars. J. L. Honnold was a teacher who was very popular. Rev. J. E. Starkey was a faithful teacher. Ratie C. McBride was well remembered. Hon. H. D. McGaw is another of the old time pedagogues. C. N. Gaumer, another old teacher, afterwards married one of his scholars. John Wagoner, in his school had the first public exhibition in in district No. 3. Samuel W. Sutton has been an efficient and excellent teacher for twenty years in the township.

    At present there are four school districts in Adams township, and the schools may be said to have greatly progressed since the olden days, having a wider and more varied course of study.

This township is part of the Muskingum County Township Project, and is maintained by Denny Shirer

Last Revised: July 20, 2004

© 1997 - 2006 Denny Shirer for Adams Township, Muskingum County, OHGW