Township was organized February 25, 1828, from territory
taken from Meigs Township, and at teh time of its
organization included what is now Bratton Township.
It takes its name from America's wisest patriot,
Surface and Soil.
portion of this township is comparatively level, except
bordering the narrow streams which have cut deep furrows
in the surface. This section is drained into the
East Fork of Ohio Brush Creek. The eastern portion
of the township is hilly and in places mountainous, and
the soil is poor and unproductive except along the
narrow valleys of the streams. This section is
drained to the southeastward by the tributaries of the
North Fork of Scioto Brush Creek. A large scope of
territory in the vicinity of Locust Grove and to the
northward of it, at one time in the geological past sunk
so as to put shale and Waverly sandstone in the
geological plane of the cliff limestone. Hence
shale and sandstone outcrops in the channels of the
tributaries of Crooked Creek, while a short distance to
the eastward these strata occupy a plane form one
hundred and fifty to two hundred feet higher.
Platter, Peter Wickerham, James Horn, James Boyd, Aaron
Freeman, Robert Earl, William Pemberton, William Ogle,
George Heller, Jesse Wetherington, John Evans,
and John Chapman were among the
pioneers of this region. Platter
and Wickerham came in 1797 or 98 and
the following years Wickerham opened a
tavern at what is now known as Palestine then on the
line of Zane's Trace. Afterwards James
Horn, who lived a mile north of
Wickerham's on the Trace, opened a tavern where
a public houses was kept for many years.
Wickerham built the first brick house in
this region in 1805. It is now used as a dwelling
by one of his descendants.
Villages and Postoffices.
GROVE is the
only village in the township. Curtis Cannon in
1805 kept a tavern on the site of the residence of the
late Jesse Kendall. He also
carried on a tannery, the first in this region.
Afterwards in 1830, his son Urban W. Cannon
built a hotel and planted a grove of locusts opposite
the hotel recently conducted by D. S. Eylar,
where he had a flourishing trade in the days of the old
state coach line form Maysville to Chillicothe. In
1835 he laid out a town about the site of his hotel,
which he named Locust Grove, and a postoffice was
established bearing the same name.
church organized in this township was the old Covenanter
at Palestine, a history of which we give below from the
pen of Rev. W. M. Glasgow, of Beaver
Falls, Pa. The old log house stood on the old
Wickerham farm now belonging to the
heirs of Stephen Reynolds. It was
afterwards removed to Palestine and used for a
blacksmith shop. This congregation was known as
Brush Creek church, and originally worshiped on West
Fork near the bridge over that stream on the
Tranquillity pike and opposite the residence of
W. O. McCreight.
Brush Creek Reformed Presbyterian
The Reformed Presbyterian, or Scotch Covenanter Church,
is the lineal descendant and true representative of the
Presbyterian Church of Scotland in her purest days.
This church has never been guilty of schism, but holds
tenaciously to all the attainments of that historic
body. Because the Covenanters held to the Word of
God, and to the belief that it taught the "moral
personality and accountability of nations to God,
thousands of these pious Christians were martyred in
Scotland in the seventeenth century under the bloody
house of the Stewarts. Many were
banished to the Colonies, and others found in welcome
asylum on these American shores. The first society was
formed near Harrisburg, Pa., in 1720. In 1743, led
by the Rev. Alexander Craighead, they
renewed their ancient covenants; and, with uplifted
swords, declared their civil and ecclesiastical
independence of Great Britain. In 1774, they
received an organization as a district body of
Christians in this country, and have come down to the
present day as the sole church of the Scottish
Scriptural principles to the Constitution of the United
States, in 1789, and not finding in this creed of the
nation any reference to the supreme authority of God in
civil government, or to Jesus Christ as the King of
Kings and the Governor among the nations or to the word
of God as the higher and supreme law for nations as well
as men, Covenanters have uniformly dissented from the
civil establishments, and for the honor of their
Savior-King forego the privileges and emoluments of
office-holding in this land. But they are not
traitor or revolutionists. They dissent and
separate from that which is wrong in civil
government, and encouragement by way of reformation all
that tends to bring our national life to Jesus Christ
and his law as fundamentally necessary to a rightly
constituted government. The are peaceable
citizens, pay their taxes cheerfully as a moral
obligation, and bear arms heroically in every
early as 1801, a few families of these Covenanters had
come from Scotland and Ireland, and some from Kentucky,
and settled along Brush Creek. Among these was
James Reid, the grandfather of
Hon. Whitelaw Reid, who came from Kentucky in
1804. Others settled further north on Paint Creek,
and in Highland and Ross Counties, even as far as
Chillicothe. They at once established the
"Society," which was a meeting for prayer and
conference. Between the years of 1809 and 1814
they were frequently visited by the Rev. John
Kell, and other itinerate missionaries.
After 1814 they were supplied by the Rev. Robert
Wallace. They were organized into a
congregation called "Chillicothe" (because that was the
nearest postoffice), October 11, 1815. The first
bench of ruling elders consisted of John French,
Hugh Hardy and John Wickerham.
For six years after their organization Mr.
Wallace continued to supply them occasionally
Charles Brown McKee became their first pastor,
being ordained and installed on August 7, 1821. He
resigned the pastorate on Sept. 10, 1822, to accept a
call to Cincinnati. For five years the
congregation was vacant, although frequently supplied
and increased in numbers and influence. In 1822,
William Milligan; and, in 1825,
Joseph Thompson were inducted into the office
of the ruling elder.
James Blackwood was installed as a second pastor, April
12, 1827, but he only remained two years. In 1828,
Andrew Burns and William Glasgow were ordained elders.
On July 7, 1829, the name of the congregation was
changed to "Brush Creek," as most of the people now
resided along this stream and in Adams County.
This name it ever afterward continued to bear.
Rev. David Steele was ordained and
installed as a third pastor, June 24, 1831. He had
several places of preaching, one being at Mill Creek, in
Kentucky. During his pastorate (in 1833) the whole
church passed through a division on the question of
their civil relations, but Brush Creek congregation was
little affected by this trouble.
In 1840, Mr. Steele regarded his church
as unfaithful to her covenanted engagements, and he,
with elders William McKinley
and Thomas Ralston and some of
the members, withdrew to constitute a new organization
called the "Reformed Presbytery." The elders still
remaining in the original congregation were
Andrew Burns, William Glasgow, Joseph
Thompson, John Wickerham and Samuel
29, 1842, Rev. Robert Hutcheson was
installed as the fourth pastor of Brush Creek
congregation. In 1845, Francis Gailey,
a suspended licentiate of the church, led away some of
the people into an organization of his own called the
"Safety League." Among these latter defectionists
were elders Joseph Thompson and
John Wickerham. As the session had been
strengthened in 1842 by the addition of Stephen
Bayles, Henry George, John McIntire and
J. Thompson Montgomery, the congregation did
not lose its organization and but few of its members.
By emigration and death the congregation became so
weakened in resources that Mr. Hutcheson
resigned the pastorate May 21, 1856, and the
congregation was declared disorganized Oct. 11, 1857.
For twenty-five years it continued in this condition,
although a few Covenanters continued to reside in that
vicinity, and to hold occasional society meetings.
The Brush Creek congregation was reorganized under an
act of the Lakes Presbytery of the Reformed Presbyterian
Church, Nov. 16, 1881. There were thirty-three
members enrolled, and Thomas Davis and
Daniel Sharp were chosen elders. In 1883,
William C. Ralston was added to the
session. They never possessed a settled pastor,
but enjoyed the stated labors of Revs. R. J.
Sharpe, William McKinney, R. C. Allen, T. C. Sproull,
and others. The membership is now about
twenty-five; Daniel Sharp and
W. C. Ralston are the elders; and this faithful
remnant hold fast to the principles and usages of their
Among the most prominent
families which have composed the Brush Creek
congregation of Covenanters might be perpetuated the
names of Reid, Burns, Glasgow, Milligan,
Stevenson, Hemphill, Montgomery, Wright, Thompson,
Wickerham, McKinley, Torrence, Foster, Mitchell,
Copeland, Bayles, George, Ralston, Rulton, McIntire
and many other worthies.
following is a register of the pastors and
office-bearers of this historic congregation of
Register of the Session.
Robert Wallace (S.S.)......
||July 10, 1814........
||May 10, 1821.
Charles Brown McKee....
||August 7, 1821
||September 10, 1822
||April 12, 1827
||April 9, 1829
||June 24, 1831
||September 18, 1841
||September 29, 1842
||May 21, 1856
Robert James Sharpe (S.S.)
||January 1, 1882
||Ocober 1, 1883
William McKinney (S.S.)
||November 1, 1883
||May 1, 1884
Robert Cameron Allen (S. S.)
||June 1, 1886
||November 1, 1886
Thomas Cargill Sproll (S. S.)
||October 1, 1888
||April 1, 1803
|Cause of disjunction.
||Removed to Sparta, Ill.
||Removed to Philadelphia, Pa.
||Withdrew to "Safety League."
||Removed to Morning Sun, Ohio.
||Withdrew to "Safety League."
||Died, January 13, 1853, aged 64.
||Withdrew to "Reformed Presbytery."
||Withdrew to "Reformed Presbytery."
||Died, May 23, 1841, aged 73
||Removed to Northwood, Ohio.
||Removed to Rushsylvania, Ohio.
||Removed to Linton, Iowa.
||J. Thom's'n M'tgomery
||Removed to Linton, Iowa.
||Died, January 30, 1888, aged 61.
||William C. Ralston
The following is the register of the dates of death and
ages of those elders whose decease is not noted already,
John Fulton died near Sparta,
Ill., in 1850.
Hugh Hardy died in
Philadelphia, in 1839.
died near Locust Grove, Ohio, April, 4, 1865, aged 76.
William Milligan died at Fair Haven,
Ohio, Dec. 4, 1839, aged 66.
died at Coulterville, Ill., July 2, 1852, aged 68.
Andrew Burns died near Locust Grove,
Ohio, Nov. 17, 1872, aged 90.
died near May Hill, Ohio, Jan. 11, 185, aged 47.
William McKinley died at Northwood,
Ohio, Aug. 14, 18658, aged 83.
died at Morning Sun, Iowa, March 2, 1879, aged 78.
Henry George died at Rushsylvania,
Ohio, Mar. 13, 1875, aged 74.
died at Morning Sun, Iowa, Dec. 21, 1890, aged 83.
J. Thompson Montgomery is still living
at Washington, Iowa, being about eighty-five years of
Thus the banner for
"Christ's Crown and Covenant" has been displayed, and
His royal prerogatives have been advocated for many a
century in Adams County.
Locust Grove M. E. Church.
This church was organized about
1825. The first class was composed of Jacob
Newland, Anna Newland, Peter Andrews, Margaret
Pemberton, Cornelius Kane, David Newman, William
Hamilton, Elizabeth Thomas, and Catharine Tener.
Meetings were held at the
house of Jacob Tener until
1828 when a log house was erected. In 1854 a frame
building was erected at "the Grove."
Locust Grove F. & A. M. was chartered by the Grand Lodge
of Ohio, at Toledo, Oct. 17, 1866. Charter
members: James A. Murphy, W. M.;
David Thomas, S. W.; D. S.
Eylar, J. W.; Jesse Kendall,
Treas.; Newton Richards, Sec.;
J. W. Tarlton, S. D.; Isaac Earl,
J. D.; T. S. F. Collins, Tiler;
J. R. Copeland and W. C. Elliott,
Stewards; Silas E. Parker, Geo. W.
Reddick, James T. Holliday.
The village school of
Locust Grove in which two instructors are employed has
the following enrollment: Males 31, females 34.
The sub-districts are as follows:
As late as
1820, bears, catamounts, wolves and wild cats were
plentiful in this region. One day tin the autumn
of 1817 the children of Peter Platter while playing
about their home discovered a large catamount closely
eyeing them from a branch of a tree in the dooryard.
The older ones gave the alarm and James Horn
was sent for who shot the ferocious animal, and upon
inspection pronounced it one of the largest of its kind.
There is yet standing in this township the old log cabin
in which Col. John A. Cockerill, the
"Drummer Boy of Shiloh," and afterwards managing editor
of the New York World, was born. And
almost within sight of the old Cockerill
home is that of the ancestors of Whitelaw Reid,
editor of the New York Tribune.
It was in this
township that General Nathaniel Massie
in 1802 built the health resort known as Massie's
Springs, at the sulphur spring which yet bears his name.
The place was expected to rival the celebrated resort in
his native state of Virginia, but his expectations were
never realized, and now all traces of the former
buildings are obliterated.
On the old Trace north of
Locust Grove in pioneer days stood a huge log building
known as Mershon's tavern. When
Dr. Cuming traveled over the Trace from
Limestone to Wheeling, in 1807, he stopped over night at
Mershon's and in his "notes" comments
on the "fiddling" talent of the landlord's sons, and
their entertainment of guests with music. He also
mentions the fact that at Cannon's
tavern "the stage coach sleeps on its way from Limestone