History of Muskingum County, Ohio

Muskingum Township

This section is taken from the book "History of Muskingum County, Ohio" by J. F. Everhart and published 1892 in Columbus, Ohio.



    This is the second township north of the city of Zanesville, west of the Muskingum river, being bounded on the east by that stream, north by Cass township, west by Licking township. and south by Falls township.
    The first to explore its wilds, and make a home there, were: David Devore, James Beach, and James Black, in 1797. The former built his cabin on the east side of the township, near the river, but subsequently abandoned this site and located on the south half of section six, township two, range eight, near a small stream that has since been known ,is "Devore's run." James Black settled on the farm now owned by John Stitt. The only homestead chosen by James Black. According to tradition, was under his hat. These were followed, in 1798, by John Bland, (whose son, Silas, was born while they were yet in camp, the same year), Elijah Stradley. and Ebenezer Ryan. The former settled on a part of section thirteen; Mr. Stradley, on lot thirty-six, (as now surveyed), and Ryan continued to roam. David Devore built the first hewed log house in the township, in 1798. There, reaper, Death, came into the young settlement and took Timothy Prior, in 1799, the record of whose coming was, doubtless, buried with him, as it is not known. Jesse Dowell and James Devore passed over the river about the year 1800. They were buried on the Gardner farm, which spot became the first cemetery of the township. William Bland joined his brother John in 1803. In 1808, Levi Cooper, George Welsh, Samuel McCann, and Joseph Spencer were added to the community. McCann settled on section seven, Cooper on section thirteen, Welsh on the south half of section twenty-two, and Spencer on section five.
    It will be seen by referring to the date of the acquisition of title to the lands from the Indians, that it had not been fully consummated; that this region was a part of the domain of the Aborigines, and, as subsequent history shows, they were reluctant to quit this country for parts unknown to them. And with the displeasure at parting with their happy hunting grounds, came the pang of separating from the graves of their fathers. That the inducements to remain where valuable game for meat and skins was abundant, with the facility of carrying these commodities, by boat, to the traders' headquarters, at Marietta, or even beyond. was sufficient, in a commercial point of view, will be apparent to anyone at a11 acquainted with the geography and early history of the country. And when the great confederation of Indian tribes is taken into account, we can but wonder that the red men submitted to the greatly inferior force of the white man. They did not make haste to depart. but lingered, thinking, and rightly; that the whites were getting so much the best of the bargain, that they were willing to ignore the stipulations of the treaty, and occasionally found pleasure in running off stock, and, upon slight provocation, killing men, and even women. They killed a young woman who was affianced to one Hughes. This very naturally, exasperated him, and he induced his friend Ratliff to join him in an oath of revenge. This was quickly put to the test by another overt act upon the part of the Indians, who stole horses from Hughes and Ratliff, one night in the month of April, 1800. Revenge on the Indians-any Indians - was the literal meaning of their vow. The injured parties easily enlisted another man - John Bland - in their cause, which now included the recovery of their horses. Fortunately for any unofiending Indians that might have been in the neighborhood, sufficient snow had fallen to enable them to track the marauders, and they followed them into Knox county, thirty miles away, when, seeing there were only two, they cast lots to determine who should be the avengers of the outrage. The lot fell upon Hughes and Bland. The party crept stealthily nearer, to make assurance doubly sure. Hughes brought the first Indian to the dust, while Bland's gun failed, and this gave the remaining Indian a chance to plead for his life, which he did, saying:" Ugh! Me bad Indian; me do so no more!" With this confession and promise on his lips. Ratliff absolved him from further earthly trouble by sending a bullet through his heart. The trio then secured their horses and returned home: and such was the effect of this mode of dealing out justice that the red man began to forsake this region, and the pioneer pursued the ways of peaceful industry with but little molestation.
    The first orchards were set out by Daniel Devore and William Bland, in the year 1800, and soon after, George Welsh planted an apple and peach orchard. These being the first orchards in this section, the fruit was in great demand by old and young, the latter sometimes appropriating a supply without consulting the owners thereof.
    The first barn was built on the farm now owned by George Walsh, about the year 1810. Richard Owens did the carpenter work, and was probably the first carpenter in the township. Dutton Lane had a frame barn built on the farm now owned by Milo Miller - one Crowel was the carpenter. "This was in the early day.
    Samuel Gest, John Dorsey, and Rev. Joseph Thrapp came in 1810. Dorsey settled upon the west part of section four; Thrapp in the southwest corner of the township, upon the farm now owned by his son, J. E, Thrapp. In 1812, Henry J. Butler and Samuel Baxter arrived. The former settled on the west border of the township, just north of Thrapp, and the latter did not make a home of his own. John M. Lane, a blacksmith, from Baltimore county, Maryland, came in 1815; he opened a farm on section nineteen. Norman Gorsuch, from the same place, came soon after, with his family and household goods. They made the trip of three hundred and seventy-five miles in twenty-two days. He died at the age of seventy-three, His son, Joshua, now in his eighty-third year, lives on the farm opened by his father. The wife of Joshua was the daughter. of Rev. Joseph Thrapp, (of the Methodist Episcopal church, who moved from Virginia to Licking county, and in 1810 settled upon the farm now owned by J. E. Thrapp.)
    A Methodist camp meeting was held upon the farm of Rev. Joseph Thrapp, in 1815, and among the ministers present were - McKendree and Francis Asbury, afterwards so well known as Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. J. E. Thrapp thinks McKendree was then a Bishop. Many are said to have been converted at the meeting, among them was Samuel Hamilton, of Hopewell township, who became a minister, and continued to labor for the cause of Christ until disabled by age, and he died triumphantly in the faith he had preached.
    The triumphs of these brave pioneers have not been sung, nor the tales of the hardships they endured been preserved, by faithful chronicler, but memory relumes with a hallowed fire as traditional accounts are told o'er and o'er at the fireside of their happy descendants; and the incense of gratitude goes up from many a heart for the beauty and quiet of homes now the heritage of the dwellers in "old Muskingum," ever enhanced by the fruitful fields, the orchards of luscious fruits, and vine-clad hills, happy children, schools and churches, and we hear their song:

                "How cheerful, among the gay mead,
                The daisies and cowslips appear;
                The flocks. as they carelessly feed,
                Rejoice in the spring of the year-
                The herbage that springs from the sod,
                The myrtle that shades the gay bowers,
                Trees, plants, cooling fruits and sweet flowers,
                All raise to the praise of our God"

    The surface that constituted the theatre of their actions, is undulating, until you approach the eastern part, where it rises into headlands, near the river, sometimes rather abruptly. There are no large streams, yet the township is considered well watered. "Devore's run" rises in Cass township, and flows in a southeastern direction, through the western part of the township. There
are, besides, a number of smaller streams and never-failing springs.
    The soil is principally sandy loam, except in the most undulating portions, where clay subsoil predominates. The cereals, as well as vegetables, do well in this township.
    Forest trees of the white and black oak, hickory, ash, walnut, beech, elm and chestnut varieties, are found in many parts of the township.
    Coal of good quality abounds in the eastern part of the township. Some iron ore has been found, but not demonstrated to be in paying quality or quantity.
    Limestone and sandstone of good quality, for building purposes, is abundant.
    The first road surveyed was the State Road, from Zanesville to Coshocton, about 1830. It passed through the eastern portion of the township; and from Zanesville to Newark - about the same time. The latter passes through the southwestern portion of the township.

    The territory embraced in this township was formerly joined with that of Falls, and was organized March 8th, 1808, and then included West Zanesville, under a new, organization, June 7th. 1816. Muskingum township, as now bounded, was organized the 3d of September, 1817, and was a part of what had been West Zanesville and Falls township. West Zanesville being divided between Falls and Muskingum townships.
    The first election of township officers is said to have been held at the house of Captain James Taylor, on the last Saturday of September, 1817. The first Justice of the Peace, elected at the same time, was Henry Butler. The names of
the township officers do not appear on record, nor does tradition furnish them.

    The first church (Methodist Episcopal) was organized by Rev. Joseph Thrapp and family, at his house, in the southwest corner of the township,in 1810. The society, at its inception, was composed of Rev. Joseph Thrapp and family, John Thrapp and family, Mr. Hickison and family, and Mr. Hall and family. Their first preacher was Rev. James Quinn. The society has continued through every adversity and flourished. They now worship at Sherrard Chapel, which is included in the circuit embracing Irville, Nashport, Hooper's Chapel, and Rich Valley. Each
of these places is supplied by. Rev. -- Leemaster, who preaches to each congregation every two weeks.

    Archibald McCann was very devoted to the welfare of the young people of his neighborhood, and on Sabbath gave his whole time to teaching; opening school in the morning, and continuing all day - in studying the Bible. Mr. McCann was drowned in the canal at Zanesville, on the night of March 29th. 1839. The drawbridge had been left open, and, the night being dark, he did not discover it, and, walking off, fell into the water.

    The first mill was built by David Devore, on "Devore's run," in 1812. This was a crude affair; after the wheat was ground, it was carried in sacks, upon men's shoulders, to the upper story of the mill, and there bolted by hand.
    The first sawmill was built by Rev. Joseph Thrapp, on his place, in the southwest corner of the township, in 1812. Elias Green had a sawmill, in 1825, on the same site where David Devore's mill stood in 1812.

    One was built bv Dutton Lane, on the Dresden road, in the eastern part of the township, in 1812, and another in 1817, by Firman Spencer, near the village of Spencer.

    The Baptist Church, also called "the Baxter Church," was organized, and the house built, in 1813. The house is located on the farm now owned by John Welsh, which is the southwest quarter of section twenty-two, township two, range eight.
    The first members were: Samuel Baxter and wife, John Dorsey and wife, Samuel Gest and wife, Mrs. Eastenhauer, Mrs. Lane. and Mrs. Henry Butler.
    The first pastor was Rev. Amos Mix. The term "Predestinarian Baptist" was sometimes applied to this congregation.
    The cemetery grounds comprise three acres, and were used soon after the organization of the church. Three or four by the name of Lane, and five or six of the neighborhood, who died previous to this time, were buried on the farm now owned by Joshua Butler (northwest quarter of section twenty-two. township two, range eight), and their graves remain there to this day.
    The Presbyterian Church, known also as the "Pierson Church," (situated about the center of the township, north and south, and about two and a half miles from the west line) was organized in 1814, and was first ministered to by Rev. James Culbertson, of Zanesville.
    The site for this church and cemetery, containing about one acre, was donated by David Pierson and George Welsh, jointly. The first members were David Pierson and family. Joseph McDonald and family, and some named Welsh, but no record has been found and we have to content ourselves with this tradition. A Sabbath School was organized here in 1849; the school has continued to this day and now has about forty scholars in attendance. The present Superintendent is Rev. -- Tenny, assisted by B. McDonald.

    The first school was taught by one Shutliff, in "the Pierson School House," about the year of 1815. John Elliott, Sanford Raimy, Archibaid McCann, and a Mr. Phelps, were among the teachers whose names are remembered, but dates and localities are wanting. Like many of their profession, they did not deem it necessary to leave any record of their doings, so that it is possible tradition may fail to do them justice by not weaving a chaplet for their brows.
    The school house of "ye olden time" was not intended to be more comfortable than the dwelling, and it is altogether likely the scholars seldom came to any other conclusion. The furnishing had little to inspire the uncultured mind. What was obtained in this temple, was by the hardest, in its most literal sense.

                Puncheon the Solon walked upon,
                Puncheon the scholar sat upon,
                Puncheon the scholar wrote upon;
                 Puncheon here, Puncheon there,
                 Puncheon, puncheon everywhere.
                Tommy Punchin' Silas Scruggins,
                Billy Punchin' Sally Gonder,
                Teacher yelling mildly, "You, Muggins,
                Punchin' never made a scholar."

    Some distinguished men have begun their career in the humble schools of this township. Hon. C. S. Hamilton, Representative in Congress in 1867-68, from the district embracing Union county, went from this township. His career was suddenly terminated by an insane son striking him on the head with a board, when he was on a visit home; the son after killing his father attempted to kill other members of the family.
   Dr, John Hamilton, a well known physician of Columbus, was once a pupil in the school house here described.
   Rev. Israel and Joel Thrapp. well known ministers of the M. E. Church, were raised in this township and received their early training amid the puncheons above alluded to. Hon. Elias Ellis was a pupil in the Pierson School House; his father came to this township in 1800, and at the time of his death, in August, 1833, lived in the town of Irville, Licking township. Elias Ellis, senior, came from Belmont county, Ohio, with his family and household goods on pack horses, Elias, junior. was born in Belmont county, Ohio. July 11th, 1805, and was less than a year old when the family arrived here. He has been elected to the Legislature four times; first in 1869, member of the Lower House, and reelected in 1871. In 1873 he was elected to the Upper House, and was one of the leading members of the Senate; the district comprised the counties of Muskingum and Perry; he was reelected in 1875.

    John Lane worked at the forge, prior to 1815, "Beal" Owens opened his shop in 1815, and Otho Miller started his fire soon after. But where, deponent saith not.

    The first distillery was built by Col. George Jackson, in 1818, near the Muskingum river; we are not told whether this was illicit or not, but its location is not known. In 1824 another of those obscure institutions was said to exist, and Michael Hahn was credited with its management. David Pierson and James Welsh were said to be in the business in 1818, or 1820.

    The first salt works were probably erected by Col, George Jackson, somewhere in the eastern part of the township, close to the Muskingum river, about 1820. Salt brought from three to four dollars per bushel, in those days.
    The first hotel, tavern, or place of entertainment, for these terms were used interchangeably, was by David Devore, about 1810-11. This was also his home - constructed of hewed logs, small, but comfortable. Dutton Lane opened a tavern on the road leading from Zanesville to Coshocton, in 1820; his accommodations were also limited to one small room.
    The first brick house was built by Firman Spencer in 1815, near the present village of Shannon, which was laid out on land owned by Mr. Spencer, in 1830.
    The first store in the village of Shannon (the only one in the township) was kept by Robert Welsh, in 1844. The medium exchange was silver coin and scrip. When change was scarce, the larger pieces of coin were cut to suit the demand.
    Coffee sold at 50 to 62-1/2 cents per pound; tea at $2.00; calico at 37-1/2 to 50 cents per yard; while wheat sold as low as twenty cents per bushel, and was a drug on the market at that, and the price was generally paid in trade.

    This church had its inception in 1834, at the house of William Mattingly, the occasion being solemnized by the ceremony of "the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass," which was celebrated pretty regularly, month1y, thereafter, by the Dominican
Fathers of Zanesville, up to the year 1855. In 1856, the present beautiful brick edifice, 70x35, was built, on the northwest corner of John Mattingly's farm, being lot fourteen, Mr. Mattingly having donated one acre of ground for the church and cemetery. Francis Mattingly generously furnished the church. The congregation was then ministered to by Rev. F. Breeder, from Newark, Ohio, until i869, and since that time by Rev. J. M. Jacuett, of Coshocton.
    William Mattingly died April 7th, 1857, aged 74 years, and was the first person buried in the cemetery attached to this church.

    Agricultural implements, in an early day, were of the most primitive kind. The plows had wooden mould boards, with shear and coulter, made by "the village blacksmith," and the plowman had to carry a paddle to clean the plow, as it did not scour. And although this was a great improvement on the Egyptian plow - which was not a plow, but a sort of prong of iron, adjusted to an imitation of the stock of the present plow - but much rougher and heavier, and propelled by a woman and an ox, yoked together, with a man (?) at the handle, yet, when the patent plow, with cast iron mould board, was introduced, in 1825, and the inevitable paddle was thrown away, man and beast made light of that which had been drudgery, and Mother Earth seemed delighted to roll over. And when the tree top and wooden toothed harrow were superseded by the iron tooth harrow, "the soil pulverized at the very touch," as it were. And when iron prongs were substituted for wooden hay forks, "the song of the hay-maker" was heard in the land. Then, too, the brawny blacksmith, with sturdy stroke, made his anvil ring
merry music as he pounded the hoe and mattock into shape, and the bewildered bystanders shouted as this son of Vucan made the fire fly.
    The household implements were not such a relief to the drudgery of the inmates, however, spinning wheel and loom, with their whirring and clicking, were the nearest approach to musical instruments tha1t the fair dames possessed.
    Tailoring, or the making of male apparel, was of necessity, done at home.
    Tanning - not only of the hides of irrepressible urchins - with birch bark, with the stick in it, but the hides suitable for leather, was an indispensable practice, that almost assumed the dignity of an art.
    Shoemaking was practiced, with due regard to the comfort, at least, of both sexes.
    Milling, or converting maize and other grain suitable for bread into flour, was an occupation which any member of the family large enough to wield the pounder, was liable to perform. The pestle, or pounder, when designed for a large grist, was poised by the sweep, permitting a heavy weight to be used in the performance, and then the mill was located out of doors. The bolting, or sifting. was generally done by the maids, sometimes by the boys.

    James Still introduced the first Short Horned, or Durham, cattle, in 1839. He took great pains with his stock, and has been well repaid for his outlay and trouble. He was followed, very shortly after, in the same pursuit, by James McCammon, whose Durham's have attracted special attention.
    The improved horses were brought from Maryland and Virginia, at an early day. They were valued for their fitness for all work.
    In 1830, Isaac Dillon, then a resident of Falls township, introduced what is described as "a very fine and profitable breed of sheep." The next step in this direction was by a gentleman from Pennsylvania, who introduced some French
Merinos; and the next sheep introduced were the Spanish Merinos, by an unknown gentleman. Among the early purchasers and successful growers of sheep, were Joshua Gorsuch, John M. Lane. Colonel E. Ellis, several of the Welsh family, Bland's, and John McDonald.
    The first imported hogs were introduced in 1829, by Joshua Gorsuch. This breed was known as the Bedford. The next variety was the China, then the Poland, the Suflolk, the Chester White, and lastly the Berkshire. Varied degrees of success have attended the growers, but result in the aggregate has been very satisfactory, and as many others have engaged in this business, it is safe to consider it profitable in this township.

    Revolutionary Soldiers. - The regiment and company unknown ; traditional authority. to-wit: Thomas Doeel, David Devore, William Blunt, William Bell and John Culling.
    The following were "known to have been out in the war of 1812:" Moses Welsh, Enos Devore, Wm. Bland (Captain), Thomas Bland, Jacob Lane, James Blunt, John Cullins, John Thrapp and Noah Matthews.
    Light Infantry. - A regiment was organized, under the State law, in 1833. The officers were as follows: William B. Cassady of Zanesville, Colonel; Elias Ellis, of this township, Lieutenant Colonel; Henry Harry Harris, Major; Thomas Maxfield of Norwich. -- Culbertson of Zanesville, David Harris of Wayne township, and W. D. German of Hopewell township, are known to have been Captains.
    Artillery. - An artillery company was formed in 1830. Elias Ellis was chosen Captain, and John M. Lane Lieutenant.
    Cavalry. - About 1830, a company of cavalry was formed, of which William Ellis was Captain. The other officers and members are not remembered by the gentlemen who furnished this statement: and it will be well enough to state here, that they - Francis Mattingly, Elias Ellis, James E. Thrapp and Charles Gorsuch - four of the oldest, best informed, and best preserved citizens of this township, were at great pains to furnish correct information for the history of this
township, and have certitied the data herein as the most complete and correct that can now be furnished. And while the absence of dates and specific location of some events is to be regretted, it is yet a matter of congratulation that
they have been able to do so well from memory, having nothing else to guide them. And thanks are due to Joshua Gorsuch and wife, and John M. Lane. for valuable information.
    During the early part of the war of the rebellion, fifty of the members of this cavalry company volunteered, and twenty were drafted. One of the former, Joseph T: Gorsuch, was a commissioned officer.
    The volunteers in the late rebellion, were as follows:
John Knapp, Robert Hunter, Dwight Ross, Levi Hunter, James Alexander, Chas. W. Butler, John A. Ryan, James McClary, John Butler, Chas. W. Flemming, James Flemming, Lemuel Gardner, Cornelius Murphy, William Mupulman, Henry L. Park, Cornelius Brown, Robert Smith, William Spencer, William McGee, John Fletcher, William Bailey, William James, Parish Gardner, Jacob Campbell, John McClarey, James Henderson, Cornelius Austin, George Perry, David McGee, Marshall Spencer, Samuel Harden, George B. Wright, Wm. H. James, Jesse B. Conn, Wm. H. Wadden, Wm. Bonner, W. H. Pansler, Curtis Campbell, Melvin Clark, George Fletcher, Aaron Riley, James Matthews, Robert Welsh, Henry Fletcher, James Sweney, James Quigley George Quigley; and of the drafted men, only two are remembered - James E. Thrapp and S. W. Reamy.
   The Military Rol1 of Honor for this township is as follows:
Curtis W. Campbell - Company G, Ninety-seventh O. V. I.
Spencer Fletcher - Company D, Sixteenth O. V. I.
Levi Frost - Company B, Fifteenth O. V. I.
Joshua G. Fletcher - Company G, Ninety-seventh O. V. I.
John Granger - Company F, One Hundred and Twenty-second O. V. I.
R. W. P. Hunter -Company G, Ninety-seventh O. V. I.
William James - Company I, One Hundred and Twenty-second O. V. I.
William H. Madden - Company G, Ninety-seventh O. V. I.
Henry Moore - Company K, One Hundred and Twenty-second O. V. I.
James McFarland - Company D, Sixteenth O. V. I.
John St. Clair - Company G, Ninety-seventh O. V. I.
Charles Tatham -Company D, Sixteenth O. V. I.
George B. Wright - Company F, Ninety-seventh O. V. I.

    Under the State law of Ohio, in 1863, militia were enrolled, and performed military duty. Archibald McDonald and William Tatham, of this township, were Captains in the Second Muskingum county regiment. Charles Gorsuch was First Sergeant in one of them.
    The last record of historic value for this township that is included is the data, gleaned and certified to be true, is

    The Cincinnati & Muskingum Valley railway, commonly called the C. & M. V. R. R., traversed part of the eastern and northeastern border of the township. Ellis Station, the only one in the township, was located in 1870. The Postoffice was opened at this station about the same time.

Last Updated on Oct 30, 2003.

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