History Of Worthington Twp.

Richland Co., Ohio


Historical Information

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History Of Worthington Twp.

source:  Mansfield News, Saturday, February 7, 1903


Submitted by Jean and Faye


**The copy from which this was transcribed was not easily readable, so italics were used to fill in letters that were obvious, underlines where a word could not be deciphered.

History of Richland County

By A J. Baughman



Worthington Township was erected June 6, 1815, out of the west half of Green.  As originated, it was twelve miles long from north to south, and six miles wide.  Feb. 11, 1817, Monroe township was created out of the north half of Worthington, making each six miles square.  Worthington is in the southeast corner of Richland county.  It was named for Thomas Worthington, who was governor of Ohio at the time it was organized

The surface of the township is broken, and in the southern part is hilly. It is well watered by the Clearfork and its tributaries, and numerous springs abound.  Slater’s run enters the township at its northwest corner and empties into the Clearfork at Newville.  Andrew’s run comes in from the western part, passes through Butler and then enters the Clearfork.  The Shields’ run, or Gold run, has its source in the southern part, courses north and enters the Clearfork a short distance below Butler.  On the latter stream the Shields and Wilson sawmills were operated in former years.

Hemlock Falls, the old-time picnic resort, is situate a mile and a half south of Newville, and about the locality are woven legendary tales and romantic incidents which could be spun out and elaborated upon to make a book of sufficient size to sell either by measurement or by weight - as bulk and heft are the desiderata of some people in the purchase of books.  The falls is about a half-mile from the Clearfork at Watt’s bend, and the water of the falls is a run from a spring on the highland back of the ridge.  The water pours over a slanting rock for fifty feet, then makes a leap over the edge to a basin thirty feet below.

The first public meeting in the interest of the collection and preservation of the early history of Richland county was held at Hemlock Falls, on the first Saturday of September, 1856.  William B. Carpenter, now a resident of Mansfield, was the chairman of the meeting, and General R. Brinkerhoff and the late Rev. James F. McGraw were the speakers.  A number of meetings upon historical lines followed at regular intervals, resulting finally in a Richland County Historical society of today, which is auxiliary to the Ohio Archælogical and Historical society of Columbus.

Between Winchester and Watts’ Bend a narrow road winds between the river and the environing hills whose huge rocks seem to frown ominously upon the passersby.

The first grist-mill in the township, which was the third erected in the county, was built at Newville in 1815, ____ John Frederick Herring, and was operated about thirty-five years.  The second grist-mill was built by Jacob ----ers in 1820, and was known for many years as the Kanaga mills.  It is --uate on the Clearfork between Butler and Bellville, and is now called  ____ mills.  In 1840 David Herring, whose widow resides at 15 North Walnut street, Mansfield, built a large three-story grist-mill on the Clearfork between Butler and Newville.  It was changed to a woolen factory, and now stands idle  The Watts’ mills, on Slater’s run near Newville, was operated for many years.  The Rummel mills on the Clearfork, below Butler, was built by D. H. Rummel in about 1853.  Jacob Armentrout built a sawmill upon this site in the forties.  He sold to Mr. Rummel in about 1850. On Slater’s run, at the south end of Newville, a woolen factory was operated for many years, and farther up the run were saw-mills owned several-years by Tarras, Losh and Clever.

Commendable interest has always been manifested in religious matters, and a number of denominations have organizations and church buildings here.  The Rigdons preached at Newville, the in the early “thirties.”  The Disciples, the Methodists, the United Presbyterians, the United Brethren, ___ Lutherans, the Albrights, the Church of God, the Presbyterians and the German Reformed are represented.  The schools of the township are in keeping with the times, and are equal to those elsewhere.

William Grosvenor, of Park avenue --st, Mansfield, witnessed a flood incident on the Clearfork when he was a lad that is worth relating.  The upper end of the long head-race of the David spring mills widens into a reservoir, between which and the creek there is an island of about five acres.  Upon the island stood a dwelling house occupied by a family.  The Clearfork had overflown its banks and the waters of Simmons run, which emptied into the reservoir overflowed its banks and the outlet at the “spill” formed a current but little less swift than the river itself  The dwelling house was inundated and stood unsteady upon its foundation  The peril of the situation was apparent and men gathered upon the shore and discussed ways and means to rescue the family.  A canoe was obtained and a man volunteered to make the several trips necessary to bring the inmates to the shore.  A hero always rises equal to the occasion, and this brave pioneer paddled the canoe forth and back until each member of the family was landed safely upon the bluff.  The last person taken over was a Miss Duncan, who was stopping with the family.  She declined to take a seat in the canoe, but stood with a foot upon either side of the boat and from a bottle drank to the health of the rescuer, amid the cheers of the crowd.

Samuel Lewis was the first permanent white settler in Worthington township.  He located on the northwest quarter of section one in 1809.  In 1812 he erected a block house on his farm for the protection of the settlers.

Henry Nail, William Slater, Peter Zimmerman and James Wilson came in 1811.  Simmons, Herring, Broad, Darling, Pearce, Davis and others came a few years later.

Capt James Cunningham was one of the early settlers of the county, but did not locate in Worthington until about 1820.  He harvested the first crop of wheat in the county  Captain Cunningham was of Irish parentage, and was reared and educated in Baltimore  He came west - this “new purchase” - to teach school, but later became a farmer.  He was a soldier in the war of 1812, as his father had been in the revolutionary war.  He died in 1870, aged nearly 90 years.

Martin Spohn was born in Pennsylvania in 1804.  Came to Ohio in 1832 and located in Tuscarawas county, and later came to Worthington township, this county.  The Spohns were the founders of the town of Butler.  They were Dunkards and industrious, exemplary people.  Mrs. Sarah Bevington, of West Fourth street, Mansfield, is the daughter of Martin Spohn.  She has two sons; one is the manager of the Aultman-Taylor office in Chicago, and the other is an officer in the United States navy.

David Taylor was born in Pennsylvania in 1813.  Came to Ohio with his parents in 1821, and located in Worthington.  He was county commissioner six years.

Jonathan Plank was born in Pennsylvania in 1816.  Came to Richland county in 1856.  He was a miller, and his son, E. A. Plank, succeeded him.

Joseph Snavely came to Ohio from Pennsylvania in 1833.  He was a farmer, a respected citizen and the father of eleven children.

Thomas Simmons came from Maryland to Ohio in 1818 and settled in Worthington.  He was a soldier in the war of 1812, and two of his sons served in the Mexican war.

Edward Sheehy came from County cork in Ireland in 1809.  He resided for many years in Monroe township, but later moved to Worthington, where he died.  One of his sons, John Sheehy, resides on South Adams street, Mansfield.

Hiram H. Sharp came from Pennsylvania and settled in Newville in 1842, and learned the carpenter trade with Isaac Pulver.

Lewis Rummel was born in Maryland in 1804.  He came to Ohio in the twenties.  Was a miller by trade.  He united with the Disciple church in 1840, and was one of the leading members of that denomination until his death.  He was the father of Silas Rummel, of Lucas.

David Secrist was born in Pennsylvania in 1815.  He was a shoemaker, and by industry accumulated considerable wealth, and owned some valuable farms.

Samuel Easterly and Peter Lehman resided near the Easterly church.   The were farmers and highly respected citizens.

William Norris was one of the largest landowners in this township at the time of his death

James W. Pearce’s father, Lewis Pearce, was one of the earliest settlers in the township.

Daniel Mowry was born in Pennsylvania in 1823, and came with his parents to Richland county Ohio, in 1828.  He lived near Newville and is now deceased.  He was the father of Mrs. John W. Baughman, of Jefferson township.

Dr. Robert McLaughlin was a leading physician of Butler for many years and was the father of Dr. J. M. McLaughlin, of his city.

The McCurdys are of Irish descent and have been prominent citizens of this township since 1834.

The McClelands came from Pennsylvania to Ohio in 1824.  They were prominent people in the township and one of the descendants, G. L. McClelan, is county-clerk elect.

John Hughes was a prominent citizen and a tailor at Newville for many years.

Daniel Spade is a successful farmer and was a soldier in the civil war.

The late Dr. J. P. Henderson was one of the pioneer doctors of Richland county, and was a member of the constitutional convention which framed the present constitution of Ohio.

R. W Hazlett, a prominent citizen of the township, has been successfully engaged in various pursuits, but is now leading a retired life.

Alexander Greer came to Ohio in 1820, and is the father of  Henry Greer, of Butler.

The Darlings came to the county at an early day, and their descendants own some of the most valuable land in the township.

James Carlisle, a soldier of the war of 1812, settled near Newville in 1822.  He was the father of the late Freeman Carlisle.

Thomas B. Andrews was a justice of the peace of Worthington for many years, and served two terms as county commissioner.  His widow, whose maiden name was Marilla Pollard, is still living.

The Calhoons were prominent in the township, and Noble Calhoon was a justice of the peace for several years.

Robert Alexander located in Worthington township in 1826.

John Hayes, Sr., was a farmer in this township, and a number of his descendants are citizens of the county.

Abner Davis was a farmer who lived about two miles southeast of Newville.  He was once robbed of eleven hundred dollars in gold.  The money was recovered in a peculiar way.  The robbers, three in number, were from Mt. Vernon.  The night was severely cold, the mercury standing below zero.  Two of the number froze to death within a few miles of Mr. Davis’ house.  The third was so badly frozen that he was easily captured, and upon his trial was sentenced to the penitentiary.

John Ramsey was a farmer and school teacher.  He was a justice of the peace and a county commissioner.

A. C Kile was an auctioneer, a justice of the peace and served two terms in the legislature

James A. Price, publisher of the Bellville Messenger, was a Worthington boy.

George Hammon came from Virginia and located in Worthington.  His son, Thomas, now deceased, became one of the largest landowners in the township.

The Carpenter family located in Newville, and Daniel Carpenter was one of the first merchants and manufacturers there.  Daniel Carpenter was the father of William B Carpenter of this city and of the late George F. Carpenter.

Dr. Hubbs, an Olivesburg boy, learned the printer’s trade and followed typesetting for several years, and in company with his father-in-law, the late Joshua Ruth, published the Loudonville Advocate.  Later, Dr. Hubbs read medicine, and has been a successful practitioner at Butler for about twenty years.  The doctor always has a cordial greeting for his friends and deserves to have good things said of him.

John W. Wilson went to California in 1852, driving all the distance from Butler to the Pacific coast, except between Cincinnati and St. Louis, which was made by boat.  He served his country as a soldier in the war of the rebellion.  Mr. Wilson, like Henry Greer, was quite a dude in his younger days, and today has the appearance of a well-to-do business man.  He has a fine home adjoining the town.

William A. Traxler, a school teacher back in the ‘50’s, was a civil war soldier, has a comfortable home and has retired from business.

L. W Severns was a Butler boy, whose father was a leading merchant there for many years  Curt was in the cavalry service all through the civil war.

The Mix family was long identified with the history of Worthington township, and several of their number have been engaged in mercantile pursuits.

Of the McKibben, the White, the Snyder, the Crowner, the Traxler, the Wilson, the Flaharty, the Frehafer, the Piper, the Bemiller, Pritchard, Tooman, Berry, Shields, Grubaugh, Mishey, Kunkle, Cunning, Keller, Switzer, Dutton, Kramer, Halferty and other families sketches will be given later.

There was a generous friendship among the pioneers.  There were no aristocratic lines drawn between the “upper and lower” classes.  Their amusement - cabin raisings and log-rollings - were generally accompanied with a sewing or a quilting, and these brought together a whole neighborhood, both men and women, old and young, and after the labors of the day were ended the evenings were spent in amusements.  A wedding frequently called together all the young people for miles around.  The party assembled at the home of the bride, and after the nuptials, came the wedding dinner, of which there is none such now.  The second day was called the groom’s day, and the party would go to the home of his parents to enjoy the “infair.”  Then came the racing for the bottle, and fleet horses were in demand.  The successful racer would take the bottle and meet the company, treat the bride and groom and then the guests.

While Worthington township had no taverns outside of the villages a number of private houses entertained transient guests.  Among these were Shields, Davis and Hammons  At the latter place drovers often put up for the night.  At these pioneer homes many a weary traveler through the tall and lonely forests has been sheltered and refreshed beneath their humble roofs, and the savory odor of ham and eggs would have tempted more fastidious appetites.

Many manly lads and beautiful lasses have been reared within the walls of these cabin-forests homes.  Many courtships have been carried on during the long, winter evenings besides the dying embers in the old-fashioned fire-place.  Happy in present love, and anticipating future bliss and prosperity in a more commodious home.

Here and there yet can be seen some relic of pioneer life and the good, old-fashioned customs.  The present generation should be remindful of the privations and hardships of the men who cleared the forests and first tilled our soil, and compare their humble beginning with out present state of improvements and utilities.  It is to hose who marked the way in the early settlement that we are so deeply indebted for our present prosperity.

The towns and further personal mentions will be given in another article.

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