Richland Co., Ohio


Historical Information

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Monroe Twp.

source:  Mansfield News, March 28, 1903


Submitted by Jean and Faye


History of Richland County

By A J. Baughman.


Monroe Township 

Monroe township is six miles square and was organized Feb. 11, 1817.  The surface is broken, but the land is generally fertile, productive of crops upon upland and valleys.  The township has abundant water supply, both of running streams and flowing springs  The Clearfork of the Mohican flows across the southeast corner; the Blackfork across the northeast part; the Rockyfork through the northern part , and Switzer’s run diagonally through the southwest part of the township.  Of the gushing springs, Schrack’s on the northeast quarter of section 34, and the Sheehy spring on the southeast quarter of section 23, have the greatest outputs.  A few of those of less flow are:  Switzer’s, on the southeast quarter of section 34; Douglass’, at Green Gables, and the Kinment’s on the southwest quarter of section 22.

The first settler was David Hill, who built the first cabin in the township.  The site of this cabin is on the southwest quarter of section 9, where Silas Rummel now lives.

The following is a partial list of the early settlers:  David Hill, section 9; Frederick Bonenberg, section 10, John G. Peterson, section 1; John Lambright, section 2; Mordecai Williams, section 35; Abraham Baughman, section 25; Adam Wolfe, section 19; Frederick Switzer, section 13, Robert and William Stewart, William Ray, William McLaughlin, Thomas Rigdon, William Ferguson and Thomas McBride on section 8; Jeremiah Smart, section 4; Thomas Pope and Daniel Balliett, section 9; Andrew Richey, Michael Huffman and Ebenezer Smith, section 6; John Iler, Melzer Coulter, Section 19;  David and Charles Schrack, section 34; David Ellis, section 17; Frederick Cromer and David Crawford, section 26; Christian good, section 3; John Douglass, section 28; Solomon Gladden section 23; William McDanel, section 26.

Adam Wolfe settled in Monroe township in 1816.  He had been a soldier in the War of the American Revolution.  He died April 24, 1845, aged 85 years.  Adam Wolfe was the grandfather of Judge N. M. Wolfe, of Mansfield.

Solomon Gladden came in 1816, but did not settle permanently until 1817.  He had served in the war of 1812; was a justice of the peace and a member of the legislature.  ‘Squire Gladden was the grandfather of the Hon. W. s. Kerr, Mansfield’s ex-congressman.

Samuel Douglass came to Richland county in 1829, and settled in Monroe township in 1831.  He was the grandfather of the Hon. A. A. Douglass and Judge S. M. Douglass, of Mansfield  The Douglass farm contains over 200 acres, and has been in the possession of the family over seventy years.

Abraham Baughman had been the first settler in the vicinity of Greentown, but during the war of 1812, removed to Monroe township and entered the southwest quarter of section 25, where he located and resided until his death in January, 1821.  Abraham Baughman and wife and three of their sons - Abraham, Jacob and George - are buried at Perrysville

Among the early school teachers are Capt. James Cunningham, John Clark, John Tucker, William Wigton and Joseph Wolfe.

The first election in the township was held in 1817, and resulted in the election of J. G Peterson, William McLaughlin and David Ellis as trustees and Andrew Richey as lister.  Ten votes were cast.

The first grist-mill was erected in 1820 by Peter Zerby.  This was the Octorora mills, and was situated near where the Pennsylvania railroad crosses the Rockyfork.

Another grist-mill was erected on the Rockyfork, between the Zerby mill and Lucas, in 1820, by Reinhart Oldfield.  This mill is still being operated.  The LaRue mill, west of Lucas, was also built in 1830, is not now running.  Another early grist-mill was that of Charles Schrack’s, on Switzer’s run, known some years since as the  --se mills.  A number of saw-mills were erected on the Rockyfork and on Switzer’s run.  A woolen factory was built in about 1846 on the Rockyfork, a mile and a half below Lucas, and was operated for several years.

In 1819 the following names appear on the tax duplicate of Monroe township:  James and George Archer, Abrahm Baughman, Stephen Brady, Jacob Baughman, George Baughman, Frederick Boneberger, James Church, Frederick Cramer, John Douglass, David Ellis, William Furgeson, Benjamin Forbey, Benjamin Gatton, Christian Good, Solomn Gladden, Henry Hoffman, Rebecca Hensel, James Irvin, John Iler, Peter Kenney, Lawrence King, John Lambright, William McLaughlin, Amerine Marshall, Thomas and Alexander McBride, Jr., Jacob Oler, John C. Peterson, William Bay, Andrew Richey, Jacob Sweitzer, Frederick Sweitzer, William Slater, Thomas Summerman, Samuel Stewart, David Shrack, Ebenezer Smith, M. Shinnebarger, Jeremiah Smart, Jacob and Mordecai Williams, William Wilson, Adam Wininger, Samuel White, Adam and Robert Wolfe and Peter Zerby.

One of the first religious societies organized in Monroe was of the Swedenborgian faith, under the teachings of “Johnny Appleseed,” and of its members were John Tucker, David Crawford, Joseph Applegate, et al., men who led blameless lives, and the respect of the community in which they lived.

The Lutheran is the prevailing religious denomination in Monroe.  The Baptist, the Reformed and the United Presbyterian denominations each had a church and an organization.  All are now numbered with the things that were but are not.  There are now seven churches in Monroe - five Lutheran, one Congregational and one Disciple.

St. John’s Lutheran church is situated at the north side of the Darling valley, about half way between Newville and Perrysville.  The congregation was organized in 1838  “Saint John’s” is used as a synecdochical term, meaning the church, the locality or both. In the ’50s’ the late Rev. W. A. G. Emerson preached at St. John’s.  He was one of the most talented ministers of his day, with a perfect command of the English language, never hesitating for a term to felicitously express his thoughts.  He threw such persuasive power and convincing force into his sermons that he swayed his audience at his will  He dwelt more upon the love of the Father than upon the terrors of the law, and his word-pictures were beautifully drawn.  Mrs. J. M. Condon, of Sherman avenue, Mansfield, is a niece of the Rev. Mr. Emerson.

Mohawk Hill, near the center of the township, is an elevation of natural as well as historical interest.  Its northwest side, being too steep and rocky for cultivation, is still covered with its native forest.  The road winds around to lessen the grade, and at the top of the hill there is a rolling surface of tableland, with a dip to the east, overlooking the Rockyfork valley.  The hill takes its name from the fact that Mohawk Indians were buried there during the occupancy of Helltown, which was evacuated in 1783.

Pipe’s Cliffs, near Green Gables in Pleasant valley, is also a place of both geological and historical interest.  Historically, it s named for captain Pipe, a chief of the Monsey branch of the Delaware tribe.  Round Head, an Indian warrior (who married Captain Pipe’s sister), with his wife and child, and other Indians, were fleeing in 1781 from the punishment which justly awaited them in the Muskingum valley, had encamped upon the summit of these cliffs, and seeing a squad of pursuing soldiers coming up the valley, the Indians opened fire upon them.  The soldiers returned the fire, aiming at the part of the cliff from which the smoke came through the thick foliage of the densely forest-covered hill, and Onalaska - Round Head’s wife - who was standing near to the edge of one of the rocks with her child in her arms, was struck by a bullet, fell to the base of the cliff, where their bodies were buried.  Two Indian warriors were also wounded or killed by the soldiers.  Sentimentality must be farspun out to censure the troops for returning fire of their ambushed foes. 

The late Rev. Richard Gailey founded “Monroe Seminary,” in the southwestern part of Monroe township, in May, 1851, and after successfully conducting the same for about ten years, removed to Lexington, where he continued in the same pursuit until his death, in 1875.  Capt. I. N. Thompson and wife now own and occupy the Gailey residence of the Monroe academy days.

Of the three attempts at town-building in Monroe township, only one - Lucas - succeeded.  Octorora was started with fine prospects, but was outrivaled by Lucas, and many people of Monroe today scarcely know it ever existed.  Six Corners - commonly called “Pinhook” - still contains a few buildings.  Pinhook is situated at the intersection of the Newville-Mifflin and the Lucas-Perrysville roads, with the section line road running east and west through the center of the township.  Pinhook was at the height of its prosperity in 1852, and at that time contained several business buildings, a number of dwellings, a school house and a Masonic hall.  William B. Miller was the postmaster and merchant of the place.  Mrs. Williams, a daughter of W. B. Miller, is visiting her nephew, Chester M. Miller, of West Fourth street, Mansfield.

The village of Lucas must wait for a write-up later.

In a charming little valley which is traversed by a small stream that empties into the Clearfork in the vicinity of St. John’s, there is a phenomenon that was much observed and commented upon in other years.  It is a cloud of vapor or smoke which hangs over a woodland on the east side and near to the head of the valley.  The theory has been advanced that there is a subterranean hot spring, from which, through invisible crevices or porous earth a vapor mist rises.  Invisible to the eye until it reaches the open air about the trees, over whose tops it hovers day after day, and year after year.

Another theory is that there are ore deposits, but no investigation has ever been made.  Over the meadows, Jack-o-lanterns are wont to flicker and play hide-and-go-seek, always moving across the valley towards the woodland.  Such lights are sometimes called will-o-the-wisp, and consist of glow without flame, and are due to phosphorescence. Many fruitless chases boys have had after these lights, for they always distanced them, or hid away to reappear at some other place.

Michael Hogan was born in Ireland.  Received a classical education.  Also graduated in medicine and surgery.  Then took a military course.  Came to America and located in New York.  Was given a commission as major in the regular army, where he served five years.  Came to Ohio in 1818, and engaged in the mercantile business at Newville.  In 1827 he bought the northwest quarter of section 35, in Monroe township, upon which he removed and resided until his death, Jan. 17, 1875.  Buried in the Catholic cemetery Mansfield.  Major Hogan was one of the best classical scholars in Ohio.  He could read the history of several countries of  Europe in the language of each.  The old homestead is still in the possession of the family.

James Stout, a New jersey man by birth and a Hollander by descent, entered the west half of the southwest quarter of section 22, upon which he located in 1829, and upon which he lived until his death, Aug. 30, 1864.  There were but few settlers in that part of the township at that time.  There were heavy forests, and wildcats, deer and wild turkeys were numerous, and bears were frequently seen.  Mr. Stout was fond of hunting, and his wife could shoot squirrels and other small game equally well with her husband.  The Stouts were industrious people and good neighbors.  Hiram Stout, the survivor of the family, lives at the old home.  He is 84 years old, and a bachelor.

Michael Swigart, who was a drum-major in the war of 1812, settled in Monroe township in 1832.  One of his sons, Leonard Swigart, was a commissioner of Richland county, 1860-’66.  “Aunt Betsey” Chew, of Monroe township, and Jesse L. Swigart, of Lucas, are children of the late Michael Swigart.

John Swigart, the father of Luther M. Swigart, of Mansfield, was a Monroe township pioneer.  He also served in the war of 1812.  He settled in Monroe in 1821.

William Darling, another soldier of the war of 1812, settled in Monroe in 1817.  He acquired by purchase 1,185 acres of land in one body, and also owned a number of other farms not connected with that tract.  This land lies along the Clearfork, below Newville and is very fertile.  This valley is often called the Darling settlement or the Darling valley.  The following is a copy of an appendix to William Darling’s will:

          “Having been one of the pioneers of this part of Ohio, the maker of this will, having emigrated from Hardy county, Va., in the year 1806, in company with his father and family to Muskingum county, Ohio, and endured all the hardships, trials and privations incident to the settling and improving of a new country, I do give and bequeath my love, respect and good will to all my old associates, and hope that, by the intelligence, energy and untiring industry of growing posterity, the prosperity of my beloved country may continue to increase as surely and rapidly as though we pioneers were still here to look after our country’s welfare; for, next to my love for my God and my family, is my love for my country - these blessed United States.  May prosperity and peace be the lot of our happy, happy land.”

There were and are so many prominent and worthy families in Monroe township that it would be unfair to mention some of them and omit others.  But it is impossible to write of all in one chapter.  In the future, chapter will succeed chapter until all have been mentioned.

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