History of Jackson Twp. by A.J. Baughman

Richland Co., Ohio


Historical Information

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Jackson Township

source:  Mansfield News, 31 January 1903


Submitted by Jean and Faye


History of Richland County

By A J. Baughman.


Jackson Township.


Jackson township was organized March 2, 1847.  Its early history is connected with that of Sharon township, of which it had prior to its organization been a part.  The late Robert Cairns suggested the name of Jackson in honor of “Old Hickory.”

The township is six miles long from north to south and four miles wide from east to west.  The surface is generally level or gently rolling, and was once covered with a heavy forest.  Before the township was settled there were a number of swamps, but since it has been cleared and drained, the land is excellent for agricultural purposes  It is well watered, but does not contain any large streams.  A branch of the Blackfork runs across its southwest corner, and Bear’s, Leatherwood’s, Richland and Lick Runs have their source near the central part of the township and flow northward, being tributaries of the Blackfork.

The first cabin in Jackson township was erected by Mathew Curran, in the spring of 1816, on the southwest quarter of section thirty-six, and a shocking incident is connected therewith.  Pioneers came from the several settlements of that part of the county to assist at the “raising.”  The Curran family had encamped near to the cabin-site.  Upon the occasion of the “cabin-raising,” a fire had been built against the large log for cooking purposes, and one of Mr Curran’s children - a little boy - in attempting to walk along this “fire back log,” made a misstep and fell into a large kettle of boiling coffee, scalding the child so severely that it died the next day.  This was the first death of a white person in what is now Jackson township.

The first election in Jackson was held April 3, 1847, at which Anthony Hershiser, Robert Leach and John Leppo were elected trustees.  Abraham Bushy, treasurer, Alexander Barr, assessor, Samuel Rockwell, clerk, and Delanson Rockwell and David McKinney, constables.  Abraham Bushey and John Ackerman were the first justices of the peace

The township was settled in the north and south parts about the same time.  Those entering from the north were principally from New England, and those from the south were mostly from the Keystone state.  The first road in the township was “McCluer’s,” from Mansfield, and a road was cut into the northern part from “Beall’s Trail.”

The question as to the priority of the settlement is sometimes mooted, some claiming that a settlement in the northern part antedated that of the southern.  Others state that these settlements were made the same year, with not more than a month between them  However, history give the Curran a the first settlement.

Mathew and Joseph Curran were pioneers in the southern part of the township, and John B. Taylor and Robert Henry in the northern part.  Following these were Adam and Giles Swan, Joseph Rockwell, Henry Taylor, Isaac Marvin, Wilson Rockwell, James Smith, Charles Taylor, Walter Taylor, Simon Hayes, John Drake, Calvin Clark, Thomas McLaughlin, George, Hugh, and Robert Fulton, Adam and Peter Miller, Carson Craig, David Funk, John Craiglow and John Rice.  The latter was with Commodore Perry in “Perry’s Victory,” on Lake Erie, Sept. 10, 1812.  The Swans were graduates of Yale college.  The “deestrict _ule” burlesquers may not know that many of those “deestrict” teachers were graduates of eastern colleges.

Although these is no village in the township, there are a number of buildings, including a township house at “Taylor’s Corners,” where Henry Taylor’s house was a noted place for meeting in pioneer days, and the “Corners” was a favorite place for militia musters and political gatherings

John Kerr erected a grist mill on Richland run, in the northern part of the township, in 1830, which was operated until 1853.

Schools were organized in about 1820, and a Miss Amelia Graves was one of the first teachers  Many children then had to go several miles along blazed paths through the forest to attend school.  Now school houses are here and there at convenient places along well-traveled roads.

There are only two churches in the township, as many of the people attend services at Shelby  The London church - so called from Its proximity to the little village of London, in Cass township - and Mt. Bethel, commonly known as the Sheriff church, from the fact that a Mr. Sheriff donated the land upon which the building stands.  In 1858, Uriah Matson was awarded an ax for having been the champion wood chopper of the county,  He made the following statement of his work:  “I cam to Richland county Aug. 4, 1815, and from that time to October 1822, I followed chopping exclusively, during which time I chopped the timber off about a hundred and ninety acres of land, and did a large amount of other chopping, such as making rails, sawing timber for frames, getting bark for tanners, etc.  Since 1822, I have chopped and cleared upward of eighty acres on the farm I now occupy.  I think I have done more chopping, assisted in raising more cabins and rolling more logs than any other man in the county.”  Mr. Matson was of Scotch-Irish descent.  He was born in 1793 and died in 1873.  He resided in Jackson township many years.  John S. B. Matson, a son of pioneer Uriah Matson, is the father of Mrs. Skiles, wife of Congressman W. W. Skiles, of Shelby.

In those early days when mills were distant, the pioneers often pounded corn in a hominy block.  When sifted, the finest meal made bread, the next mush and the third grade was grits, or hominy.  These, with butter and milk, constituted a large part of the daily food.  The mush made by the women was remembered by the pioneer boys long after they became men as the best they had ever eaten, and it was a compliment to their wives if they said made as good mush as their mothers had.  It was a woman of a later period of whom a story was told that when making mush from a pot in the presence of company, she discovered that her little girl’s shoes had been stirred in with the meal.

One of the greatest privations that the pioneers encountered was the scarcity of salt.  Corn bread, mush and hominy without salt was insipid to the taste.  Salt was so scarce that it was dealt out by the teacupful or even spoonful.  Women used to borrow a “mite” of salt.  Salt had to be packed on horseback over cut-out roads from Zanesville, which was the nearest point at which it could be obtained 

A pioneer always shared liberally with his neighbors.  If he killed a bear, a calf or a pig a “mess” was sent to those within reach of him.

Jackson, like other townships, has its complement of Indian and hunting stories.  And for prosperity and peace, rates second to none.

Jackson township was the home for many years of John Rice, who participated in that memorable battle on Lake Erie, where “many a Briton took his last sleep.  Soldier Rice saw Commodore Perry take off his coat and stuff it into the hole made by a British ball in his vessel, and looked on with tearful admiration as he saw him row in an open boat, under the fire of the enemy, to the war ship “Niagara,” where, taking personal command, he turned the tide of the battle that has immortalized the name of Perry.  After this victory, Rice was transferred to the land force under Gen. William Henry Harrison, and was assigned to Col. Richard M. Johnson’s regiment.  He fought in the battle of the Thames and saw Tecumseh fall.  Veteran Rice lived to have the distinction of being the last survivor of Perry’s victory - a victory that keeps heralding down from generation to generation in the triumphant words of that never-to-be-forgotten dispatch - “We have met the enemy and they are ours.”  At a ripe old age the veteran Rice was transferred to the Army Triumphant.  His funeral was attended by the Shelby Light Guards, a squad of artillery, ex-soldiers and bands of music, and a large concourse of citizens.  Col. John Dempsey was in charge of the procession.  A funeral sermon was preached from the text “thou shalt rise up before the hoary head and honor the face of the old man.”  Interment in Oakland cemetery  During the funeral flags were at half-mast at Columbus, Cleveland, Sandusky, Shelby and other places. 

M. M. Barber was born in Pennsylvania in 1824.  Came to Ohio in 1846, and was a justice of the peace in Jackson township for thirty years.

Patrick Barnes came from Pennsylvania in 1844, and followed carpentering and building in Jackson and adjoining townships for many years.

Isaac Bricker, also from Pennsylvania, settled in this township in 1831; was a prosperous and much-respected citizen.  He died in 1855.

John Briner, another Pennsylvanian, came to Ohio and settled in Jackson in 1832.

John E. Sellers, Samuel Roush, Calvin Clark, Jeremiah Shade, Jesse Roberts, J. W. Picking, Isaac H. Miller, C. C. Laser, John M. Landis, Jacob Kuhn, Isaac Coover, William Kerr, Benjamin Hornberger, George Holtz, Josiah Gump, Daniel Hoffman, John Drake, J. W Hoffman, George Hartman and George Finicle came from the Keystone state, making quite a colony of Pennsylvanians in the township.

But, whether from Pennsylvania or from Connecticut, all became Buckeyes in a local way, but, in a higher and broader sense.  Americans - citizens of a common country, under one government and one flag.

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