NEWTON'S TOWNSHIP HISTORY
Newton Township was organized about 1825. It lies west of the Scioto River, one of the valley townships with good farmland in the bottoms and hilly to the west. The main part of Sunfish Creek passes through, as well as No Name Creek. The highest elevation is Panther Knob just below Jasper, elevation 663 feet. this hill supposedly got its name because the last panther found in the area was killed near the top. Other high hills are Jasper Knob and Yankee Hill.
Jasper Village was laid out by Gov. Robert Lucas in 1833, named for a Sergeant Jasper who was a Revolutionary War hero. Jasper was a thriving canal town during the busy era of the Ohio - Erie Canal. Farmers brought their produce into the village, along with hand-cut ties and lumber, to be shipped north and south by barges, which were pulled along the towpath by mules and other beasts of burden. Residents of Pike County still call Rt 104 between Waverly and Portsmouth "The Towpath".
The first Post Office was established in Jasper in 1837, with John G. Alexander as Postmaster. Since one of the first businesses was Phelps and Alexander, the post office was probably located in their store. (?)
Township Trustees in 1838 were Nathan Hitman, John Alexander and Joshua Adams. J. G. Alexander was Clerk.
A small hamlet was laid out in 1860 by the Rev. Hampton and given the biblical name of Bethel.
Pleasant Valley Methodist Church was organized in 1831 and meetings were held in the log cabins of different members until a church was built in 1858 with Jonathan Flood as the first official minister.
The Jasper Methodist Episcopal Church was established in 1845. The members met in homes or the log school until 1857. Some of the ministers were: John Booten, Joseph McDougal, Thomas Shropshire and C. B. Smith.
Jasper lay along the line of Gen. John Morgan's march during the Civil War and was looted of most of its "portable" goods. One man by the name of McDougal was killed.
During Jasper's busiest days, there were several stores, a saloon, and a blacksmith shop. Early stores were Phelps and Alexander, Butler and Curry, and Truesdell and Jones.
When the early settlers came into Pike County, they settled along the waterways. With roads scarce or non-existent, the creeks and rivers were needed as means of transportation, along with supplying water needed for daily use. First the Scioto River frontage was settled, then larger creeks, such as Sunfish, then the smaller branches. Sickness drove many from the lowland areas to were Peter Skill and John Merritt.
COPYRIGHT © 1990 by
Pike County Genealogical Society
a Chapter of O. G. S.
P O Box 224, Waverly, Ohio 45690