Richland Co., Ohio


Historical Records

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Submitted by Amy


Source SHELBY INDEPENDENT NEWS:  05 August 1869, Vol. 1, No. 39 having been furnished to the paper by Mr. Wiggins.

The first settlers of Sharon Township, were Mathew and Joseph Curran, who settled therein, in about the year 1815.  The next settler was Robert Henry, after him came Giles and Adam Swan.  Then came Joseph Rockwell and his family, one of whose grandsons, Mr. Samuel M. Rockwell is now a resident of Shelby.  After the Rockwell's came Henry Taylor and John B. Taylor who were followed by Isaac Marvin, Eli Wilson, Henry Whitney and Stephen Marvin;  these three last were the first settlers in the present limits of Sharon Township.  Previous to the organization of Sharon Township the territory belonged to Blooming Grove Township.  The organization of the township took place in the year 1823.  All the residents of the Township, met at the house of Mrs. Rockwell, which stood on the farm now in Jackson Township whereon M. Barberr resides;  there were only 14 voters present, and after the petition to the County Commissioners had been signed, Mr. Henry Taylor was appointed to take the petition up to Mansfield, which he did and the commissioners determined to call the township Sharon, after some town of that name in Conn.  

At the first selection in Sharon township there were 14 voters*  Giles Swan, John B. Taylor, and James Rockwell were elected Trustees, Alman Hayes, Clerk, John B. Taylor, Justice of the Peace.  At the first organization of the Township it was included in the township of Jackson, in this county, and also Vernon Township, in Crawford county, which were afterwards struck off.  At the first election there were two Democratic and twelve Whig voters.  The first cabins erected in that part of Sharon Township, now called Jackson, was on the farm near the Spring mill, owned by Robert Carns.  The first two cabins erected within the present limits of Sharon Township, were built by Stephen Marvin and Eli Wilson, both being erected on the same day.  Of the persons present at that raising, only one person is known to be living;  that is Henry Taylor.

*The names of the 14 voter's were found in notes gathered by the newspaper from some of the early settlers ... they were:   Giles H. Swan, John B. Taylor, Joseph Curran, Eli Wilson, Almon Hayes, Harvey Camp, Henry Whitney, Matthew Curran, James Smith, Adam Swan, James Kerr, James Rockwell, Levi Bargaheiser and DeLawzon Rockwell.  The notes also contained the date of the election, which was April 7, 1823.

Source SHELBY INDEPENDENT NEWS:  12 August 1869, Vol. 1, No. 40

Eli Wilson's cabin was erected on the lot in Shelby whereon John Saviers resides at present, being the second lot south of Kerr & Marvin's brick building.  Stephen Marvin erected a cabin near his late residence.  The first school in the township was organized and started in about the year 1820;  and the first school house was erected on the farm now owned by Mr. Cutler, one mile and a half east of Shelby, on the corner of the cross-roads.  The first school house erected within the present limits of Sharon Township, stood on the lot occupied by J.F. Saiger & Co.'s dry goods store.  

The town of Shelby was laid out in the year 1834 by John Gamble, and the original plat has been lately donated by him to the village.  The lots laid out by him wee all south of Main street.  T. Mickey's building occupying the original lot number one (1).  Afterwards Henry Whitney laid out that part of the town north of Main street, and south of Mill street and west of the Black Fork.  The first Post Office established in Sharon Twp. was in the year 1827 or 1828, and John Gamble was the first Post Master, and the office was called Gamble's Mill's P.O.  

The town of Shelby was so called in honor of Governor Shelby of Kentucky, and the name was suggested to Mr. Gamble by one Charles C. Post, who then resided in the limits of the present village.  The first building erected on a lot of the village after it was laid out was built on the present site of T. Mickey's brick store on lot No. one (1) by one Dr. Byers, and was a hewed log cabin about 16x24 and was occupied by him as an office.  The next building was erected on the present site of J.F. Saiger's store, and was erected on the site of the old school house, which had been burned down.  The next building erected was built on the North East corner of Main and Gamble Streets, and is still standing, and was built for a tavern, and was owned by John A. Duncan.  Of course it is understood, that these three buildings were not the first buildings erected within the present limits of the village.  Eli Wilson's cabin and Stephen Marvin's cabin being first in the town, as well as Township.

We have, perhaps devoted sufficient space to localities, and will therefore proceed to give a general description of the appearance of the country at the time the township was first settled.  All parties agree that the forest was very dense;  timber was much larger than at the present time.  There was a dense growth of underbrush, and in spring time it is said, the flowers were so thick that it appeared like one immense flower garden.  There were no settlements west of Sharon Township at the time Mr. Rockwell came, which was in 1817.  Mr. Henry Taylor came in the same year, in the fall, and they agree on that point.  They say that the country west was occupied by several tribes of Indians.  The Wyandot Indians were the most numerous.  There were also some Delaware Indians and some Senecas;  also a small remnant of the Mohican tribe which formerly lived in Connecticut.  

At the same time Mr. Rockwell and Mr. Taylor came, they say there was no road in Sharon Township but a "trail" ---- from and Indiantown on the lower Black Fork, called Pipe Town to Lower Sandusky.  (which means in the Indian language, Lower Cold-water) and smaller trails preceded them, to the Ganges road to Mansfield.  The country abounded in game of all kinds, especially deer and turkeys.  The Indians were passing and repassing constantly, and were very friendly.  Henry Taylor was a blacksmith by trade, and used to work for the Indians, taking in exchange Venison and Furs.  He says he used to run races with them, and could out-run them for a short distance but his wind would not hold out on a long distance, and the Indians would always beat him on a long run.  Another favorite trial of strength with the Indians, was to lock fingers and then pull, to see which could straighten the others finger.  Mr. Taylor says that white men were generally stronger in the fingers than the Indians.

Source SHELBY INDEPENDENT NEWS:  19 August 1869, Vol. 1, No. 41

I might relate a great many incidents illustrative of the life and habits of our pioneers, and their dusky neighbors;  but want of time will prevent me from mentioning more than one or two.  When Stephen Marvin, Henry Whitney and Eli Wilson first arrived, they had no cabins to live in, or in fact, any cleared ground whereon to build them, and it became necessary to find some place of shelter during the time it should be necessary to wait till they could clear off a little spot of ground to build on, for a garden and to plant a little crop.  They were therefore invited by Giles Swan, who had preceeded them, to occupy his cabin during the summer, till their clearings should be made.  They accepted the offer of his hospitality.  And this transaction leads me to remark before proceeding with the story, that there existed among our pioneer settlers, the kindest and most brotherly feeling.  They were bound together by ties as strong as the love of life, for they were obliged to help each other in every time of trouble or difficulty, or all would perish in their arduous struggle and the rude powers of nature.  

While the above mentioned families were all living together, one night, there came there a small band of Indians, numbering about ten or twelve, among whom were several well known Indians;  one called "Jacob" and another "Williams".  This latter Indian was said to be a very intelligent Indian, and spoke English quite fluently.  The Indians were well supplied with whiskey, as were also the settlers;  and after the greetings were exchanged, the bottle was passed around quite freely, both whites and Indians drinking out of the same bottle, and the very best feeling pervading both sides.  When both sides were pretty well warmed up, the settlers proposed that the Indians should exhibit their war dance.  At first the Indians objected, alleging their want of preparation and of the proper materials for paint, &c., and of the proper implements, such as a drum, &c.  But, they were finally persuaded to proceed with the dance, and the whites proceeded to kindle a fire in front of the cabin of Mr. Swan.  One old Indian took a seat on a log, and was furnished with a clap board, which he placed on his knees, and commenced a song in the Indian language, keeping time on the clap board with is knife and hatchet, while the others ranged themselves around the fire, and commenced the war dance, yelling like demons, gesticulating furiously, and leaping around in the most grotesque and violent manner.  The subject of the old Indian's song, as he informed the settlers, was the ancient exploits of his tribe in war, and their triumph over their enemies.  It was in fact an epic poem in the Indian vernacular, and although no doubt far below our standard, in point of merit, yet it is said this rude song had some striking and beautiful passages.  

After the Indians had concluded their dance, they then proposed that the whites should dance after their fashion, and they would join.  Accordingly, the whites formed on the floor, to dance the "French Four" and two Indians danced, one with Mrs. Moyer, mother of the late Stephen Marvin's wife, and the other with Mrs. Swan.  The Indians unexpectedly, proved to be very graceful dancers, gliding around in a very easy manner.  After each dance, the bottle passed around freely and the dance was kept up till about two in the morning.  The music was furnished by the white women, who sang the time.  It seems to the present generation, that there would not be much enjoyment in dancing after such music;  but they must remember that our pioneers were possessed of powerful frames, robust health, and exhuberant spirits, unknown to their descendants, of the present day.  

I have been informed that after working at logging all day, the men would frequently dance nearly all night, and feel as fresh and vigorous in the morning, as ever.  And sometimes after a very hard days work they would assemble at night, and engage in athletic sports, such as running, leaping, wrestling and pulling at square-toes.  Such was the physical  vigor of our ancestors.

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