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Delaware County, Ohio

History & Genealogy

20th century history of Delaware County, Ohio
and representative citizens
Chicago, Ill. :: Biographical Pub. Co., 1908 by James R. Lytle
Transcribed by Sharon Wick

CHAPTER XVIII.
TOWNSHIPS AND TOWNS

Settlement and Organization of the Townships - Settlement and Founding of the Towns
Sketches of Ashley, Galena, Sunbury, Ostrander, Lewis Center, Powell, Radnor, and other towns.
Pg. 435

TOWNSHIPS:


 

BROWN TOWNSHIP.

     For the facts and for a large part of the language used in the following sketch of this township, we are indebted to an article prepared by Dr. S. W. Fowler, many years ago, whose permission we have to use it.  At the time he wrote, Dr. Fowler had access to sources of information no longer available, and it would be impossible, therefore, for us now to secure more data than he had, while he, representing as he does one of the oldest families in Delaware County, speaks with authority.
      The history attaching to this subdivision of Delaware County really begins about 1804 or 1805, with the discovery of salt in the vicinity, although the first permanent settlement within the present boundaries of the township extends no farther hack than 1817.  The lapse of sixty-three years ( 1817 to 1880), imperceptible in the estimate of an eternity, is a longtime in human life.  It removes two generations into darkness and dust, and places another in their seats who have nearly run their course.
     Brown Township originally occupied the central portion of the county, and, later, the north-central portion, lying in Range 18, and, by the United States Military Survey, is Township 5.  It is bounded on the north by Oxford, on the east by Kingston, on the south by Berlin, and on the west by Delaware and Troy.  The record book of the county commissioners containing the date when Brown Township was erected into a separate township is lost, but it was probably about 1826.
     The township has but one large stream of water - Alum Creek.  It passes through the eastern part, entering near the north-east corner, and flowing south, passes out near the south-east corner into Berlin Township.  There

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are several small streams that flow into Alum Creek.  Some of these are noted for having been the sites of Indian encampments, at atime when the Scioto Valley formed a part of the hunting-grounds of the Delawares and Mingoes.   Among these tributaries we may mention Leatherwood Run, which derived its name from a peculiar shrub found growing upon its banks, the wood and bark of which was highly valued by the early settlers for a variety of uses.  Big Run, Sugar Creek, Longwell's, Dutton's and Matthews's Runs are some of the principal streams.  Sugar Creek, which rises in the western part of Berlin and flows into the Olentangy at Delaware, was made use of by Mr. F. P. Vergon when he constructed Greenwood Lake. The land east of Alum Creek is particuarly adapted to grazing.  Near the creek it is broken and the soil is rather thin, while at a greater distance it is gently undulating, and not only good grazing land, but well adapted to farming, there being less clay and more rich black loam than nearer the creek.  Along the west side of the Alum, the land is also undulating, and was the first tobe brought under cultivation by the early settler.  The land farther west was low and wet, defying horseback or wagon travel through its swamps, and even barring roadways for years.  Owing to the tile and open drainage systems, however, this wet, swampy land once considered worthless, has become the most productive in the township.
     Among the attractions that brought the early settlers to this region was the "Salt Lick," as it was called. When the United States Government sent its agents to survey the country, a salt lick was discovered in what is now the north-east corner of Brown township.  The Government reserved 4,000 acres of this and deeded it to the State for educational purposes.  This was called the "Salt Reservation."  About 1804 or 1805, Dr. John Loofbourrow moved into what is now Berkshire Township from Virginia, and located on what afterward became the Eckelberry farm, but after a short time sold out and moved to what was called the Durham farm, lying just east of Alum Creek on the Delaware and Sunbury Pike.  He had with him his old faithful man "Friday,'' Oko Richey (colored).  When the Doctor learned from some friendly Indians where they obtained their salt, he and Oko procured large iron kettles, built a large furnace and commenced the manufacture of salt.  Their process was very slow, but they produced the article in sufficient quantities to partially supply the inhabitants, and very soon became noted as salt merchants.  After some twelve years the salt business was investigated by other parties, who thought they saw in it a means of acquiring untold wealth.  In 1817 they leased from the State 1,000 acres of land adjacent to, and 300 around, the salt lick and on the salt reservation.  The contractors agreed to bore to the depth of at least200 feet, unless salt water in paying quantities was sooner reached.  They were to leave the well tubed with good copper tubing at the expiration of the lease.  Loofbourrow now withdrew from the business and soon after removed to Wisconsin.  After boring to a depth of 480 feet without finding salt water in paying quantities, the contractors notified the State authorities, who in turn reported to Congress, and the latter body ordered the salt reservation to be surveyed and sold.  Accordingly, a Mr. Carpenter, of Lancaster, Ohio, was authorized to survey it, which he did into 100-acre lots.  In November, 1826. these lots were sold to the highest bidder, the early settlers and contractors being allowed the refusal of the lands which they had been for some time improving, a business they had found more profitable than boring for salt.
     The first permanent white settler in Brown Township was Daniel G. Thurston, in the spring of 1817.  But as far back as 1809, a settlement was made in the extreme southwest corner, by a man named Erastus Bowe, from Vermont.  He built a cabin and called the place Bowetown, though it was never, we believe, laid out as a town, or populated, except by Bowe and his family, consisting of wife and two children.  After a short time he moved to Delaware, and in 1817, he removed from there to Tiffin.  Mr. Thurston moved into the township from the eastern part of Berlin,

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which at that time was the central part of Berkshire Township.  He located on the summit of the first little hill west of the creek, on what is now the Delaware and Sunbury Pike.  A cabin was built and into this he moved with his family and his brother Isaac, who had accompanied him to the West.  The latter went to work in a distillery not far away, while Daniel worked in a saw and grist mill near by.  In 1817, he sold out to Ebenezer Loofbourrow, who had just come from Virginia.  After Mr. Thurston sold out to Loofbourrow, he moved into the present township of Brown, where he had to begin his pioneer life over again, as it were.  When his cabin was completed and his family located, Mr. Thurston entered into a co-partnership with James Eaton, and a man named Stephen Gorham.  These gentlemen were the contractors in the famous salt speculation and the lessees of the "salt reservation."  His new home was on this reservation, or on the "salt section."  Isaac Eaton erected a cabin a little north of Thurston'sMr. Thurston died in 1843, at the age of seventy-two years.  His wife died in 1864, at the age of eighty-two years.  They had a family of thirteen children, of whom we have only the names of twelve - Harrie, Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, Samuel, Sarah, Phoebe, Norton, Vinal, Eunice, Fannie and BarbaraHarriet first married Dr. Monroe, and. after his death, became the wife of Dr. John Loofbourrow.  She had two children when she moved to Wisconsin.  Mary married Israel Wood, a Quaker, who lived in Peru Township (then in this, but later in Morrow County).  She left twelve children.  Joseph married in 1826, a daughter of B. F. Loofbourrow, who at the time was living on the Thurston farm.  There were born to him ten children.  Elizabeth married Ralph Longwell, a soldier of 1812, and who died in 1874. His widow drew a pension.  She was the mother of thirteen children.  Sarah first married Lyman Thrall, and. after his death. Andrew Thrall, his brother, Phoebe married William K. ThrallNorton married a Miss Jones, and died in 1817.  He was the father of six children.  Vinal married a Miss Plant, and they had eight children.  Eunice married Norton Harden, and they had eight children.  Fannie married H. Walker and became the mother of six children.  Samuel married, and was the father of eight children.  Barbara married William Livingston, and was the mother of ten children.  These were the children and grandchildren of Daniel Thurston, numbering in all 122.
     The early settlers of this section were not without their Indian experiences.  Although the Indians were supposed to be friendly, yet they were looked on with some suspicion by their white neighbors.  The Thurstons, being one of the first families to locate in this region, and that some time prior to the removal of the Indians to reservations farther west, enjoyed a more extensive acquaintance with them than settlers who came at a later date.  The Indians used to bring their game and furs to trade for corn, and as a general thing behaved well.  The elder Thurston, who had a little mill, would grind their corn for them, and was on the most intimate terms with them, and was known far and wide among the neighboring tribes.  When Joseph was a small boy, but nine years old, he was one day sent out for the horses, which, when not in use, were allowed to run at large in the forests.  He wandered through the woods for hours, but after a long and fruitless search, he gave up finding them and started to return home.  After traveling for Mime time, he became lost in the forest, but finally struck an old Indian trail, which he followed some distance, when.  much to his surprise and consternation, he came upon an Indian encampment, where he encountered an army of dogs, and was forced to take refuge in the nearest tree.  The commotion produced by these ferocious beasts brought an old Indian from his wigwam to investigate the cause of so much disturbance.  To the astonishment of the lad he found in him an old friend of his father, while the Indian, quite as much astonished as the boy found the "game" treed by the dogs to be none other than the son of his old friend Thurston.  The dogs were called off, and the boy invited to come down from his exalted

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perch.  After he had related his adventure, a young Indian was ordered to catch a couple of well trained ponies, upon one of which he was placed, while the Indian boy mounted the other, and acting as a guide, led him through the forests, and after several hours' ride he was restored to his already over-anxious parents.
     Isaac Eaton, to whom we have already referred, was a son of Joseph Eaton, who was among the early settlers of Berkshire.  He married a Miss Root of Peru township.  William Williams, who bought out Isaac Eaton, came from Fairfield County to this township.  Three years after he located he was chosen justice of the peace, an office he filled for many years.  He also served the county as treasurer from 1846 to 1852, and as an infirmary director three years.  He served the township in the capacity of clerk and treasurer, and was often chosen as administrator of estates and guardian of minor heirs.
     Immigrants came in rapidly, and soon the entire salt reservation was settled up.  One of the first families to move in after those already mentioned, was that of Benjamin McMaster, who came in about 1826.  This pioneer was born in New York.  His father died when he was quite young, and his mother moved with her family to Ohio in 1813, and located on the Scioto River, in Franklin County.  In the latter part of 1814, Benjamin McMaster came to Delaware County.  In 1817 he went to Champaign County, and the next year married a daughter of Lemuel G. Humphrey, of Liberty Township. His wife lived but a few years.  After her death he came back to this county, where in a year or two he married again.  At the sale of the salt reservation in 1826, he purchased 100 acres of land, where he built a cabin of the pioneer pattern.  Here he lived until 1851, when he started a warehouse and formed a business partnership in Ashley.  In the spring of 1852, he sold his place to his son Horace.  For many years, the latter devoted
much attention to fruit culture.
     The same years that brought to Brown Township the pioneers we have already mentioned, witnessed the arrival of others, who, at the same land sales, purchased homes, among them, we may mention Andrew Finley, J. Fleming, Zenas Leonard; James, George, Ralph and E. Longwell, S. Harlow, Charles Cowgill, John Kensill and others.  With such an influx of immigration the township rapidly settled up.  Among those that came at a later date were John Walker and William Finley.  Walker came from Virginia in 1832, hut was a native of Ireland.  Finley was a son-in-law of Walker, and settled first in Kingston Township, but after a few years moved into Brown.  The same year of Walker's settlement, a young man named Charles Neil, later known as "Uncle Charlie Neil," came in.  He was also from Virginia, and also married a daughter of Mr. Walker.  Mr. Neil carried on an ashery, and taught school for some ten years, when he was elected county surveyor.  This office was given to him by the people of Delaware County from 1842 to 1864 without any solicitation on his part.  In the latter year, unknown to him, he was nominated, and afterward, elected to the office of county auditor, which office he held for two terms.  During his second term as auditor he was elected mayor of the city of Delaware by an overwhelming majority.  A short time after the settlement of the Thurstons, Eatons and others already mentioned, Hugh Cunningham came from Pennsylvania and located on what was later known as the Hann farm.  In 1827 Hugh Lee located in Brown Township, on what was then called the Peter Baker farm."  He was a branch of the illustrious Lee family.  His son John Calvin Lee was born on this place, rose to the rank of brigadier-general during the civil war, and after its close, was twice elevated to the position of lieutenant governor of the State, on the same ticket that made Rutherford B. Hayes governor.  Dr. Lyman Potter, a native of New York, settled in Peru Township in 1821. and in 1844 moved into Brown.  When somewhat advanced in life, he began the study of medicine with old Dr. Carney, of Berkshire, one of the early practitioners of the county.  After practicing some years, Dr. Potter attended lectures at the Starling Medical College, from which he

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graduated in 1850.  He then returned to his old location, the village of Eden, and continued practice some years, later retiring to a farm, and giving up his practice except in the immediate neighborhood.  Israel Potter, a brother of the Doctor, settled in the same neighborhood and at the same time.
     The first marriage in this pioneer settlement occurred in 1818, when a daughter of Daniel Thurston was united to Israel Wood.  He had emigrated from the old home of the Thurstons in New York.  The first death was that of the infant child of James Longwell in 1828, and was the first burial in the old  graveyard just north of Eden village.  The law had its first representative in Daniel Thurston, who was elected Justice of the Peace in 1821, an office he held three years.  Old Dr. Carney, of Berkshire, was the first practicing physician.  From 181 7 to 1842, he and Dr. Loofbourrow were the doctors for this section.  The County Infirmary is located in this township.  Its history will be found in the chapter devoted to the institutions of the county.  The first railroad built through Delaware County passed through the western part of this township.  It is now a part of the "Big Four" system.  Leonardsburg, or Eden station, is the principal shipping point, and is located near the north line, six miles from Delaware.  It was laid out by S. G. Caulkins in 1852, and was called Leonardsburg for A. Leonard, the first merchant.
     The village of Eden was surveyed and laid out by Isaac Eaton, for the proprietors, Daniel G. Thurston and Isaac Leonard, who owned the land.  The location chosen at the crossing of the road running east and west, and the one running north and south along the Creek, as an eligible site for a prosperous village.  The first house in the village was a log cabin built by John Finley; the first frame dwelling was put up by William Williams soon after his removal to the neighborhood.  Joseph Leonard was the first merchant.  He had the trade all to himself until 1838, when Williams & Loofbourrow opened a store, and thus created competition.  About 1829 or 1830, a blacksmith shop was opened by C. Thrall.  In 1838, the Government commissioned C. M. Thrall the first postmaster at the village of Eden, and called the office Kilbourn.  A little later a tavern was opened by Seymour Scott, the first in the place.  The town hall was built by subscription, and is used for all public meetings.
     The public officials for Brown Township for the year 1908, as reported to the county auditor, are as follows:
     Henry R. Smith and John Reed, justices of the peace; Henry Kunze, S. T. Sheets, and J. A. Waldron, trustees; Charles Leonard, clerk; F. A. Stickney, treasurer: Frank Heinlen, assessor; F. E. Mayfield and Harry Haney, constables.

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