GENOA TOWNSHIP is
bounded on the north by Berkshire Township; on the east by Harlem;
on the south by Franklin County and on the west by Orange Township.
It is five miles square and is in the territory known as United
States Military Lands. The western half of the township was
included in the original township of Berkshire, and the eastern half
was in the township of Sunbury. When Harlem Township was cut
out of Sunbury, it included all of what is now Genoa Township.
The present bounds of Genoa Township were established June 4, 1816.
Its name was suggested by an early settler who whished to do honor
to the birth-lace of Christopher Columbus. Running
through the western half of the township from north to south, on the
line traversed by the Cleveland, Akron and Columbus railroad, is a
ridge which forms the water-shed between Big Walnut Creek on the
east and Alum Creek in Orange Township. On either side of the
ridge, the land is comparatively level, although the surface is
broken up considerably along the banks of the Big Walnut, and east
of the creek is more or less rolling The highest shale cliffs
in the county are to be found in the northern part of the township,
on what is known as "Yankee Street," about two miles south of
Galena. Here as elsewhere along the banks of Big Walnut, are
to be found outcroppings of fine Waverly sandstone. Here and
there in the beds of shale a thin layer of an inferior limestone is
to be found. Some of the early builders were tempted to use
this because of the ease with which it can be quarried, but they
soon had their labor for their pains, as this stone disintegrates
when exposed to the air. The Big Walnut Creek, to which
reference has alreay been made, is the principal stream.
It flows in a sinuous course from north to south through the eastern
half of the township. Originally its banks and the lands
adjacent were heavily timbered with black walnut trees. The
bottom lands along the creek are especially fertile, but these
places are frequently overflowed in seasons of freshet, causing the
loss of a crop occasionally. All the older men now living here
remember the freshet in September, 1866, when cattle, sheep and hogs
were drowned, and haystacks and small sheds and buildings were
floated and carried down the stream.
JEREMIAH CURTIS, a native of Hartford,
Connecticut, was the first settler in this township. He
arrived in Berkshire in 1805, but soon after he purchased a section
of land on Yankee Street from Colonel Byxbe, upon which he
located in 1806. His land was on the Big Walnut near the oxbow
head of the creek. At that time Chillicothe was the nearest
milling point, so Curtis built a mill, and still-house, which
was a great convenience to the settlers. In 1811 he moved to
Marietta, for the protection of his family during the war which was
impending, and which he believed was sure to come. He died
June 21, 1813 Later his son, who becane the Hon. John
Curtis, came back with the family to the farm in this township.
He was ten years old when the family first came to Ohio, and became
a prominent and influential man who was sought for positions of
responsibility. John Williams, who was a local preacher
in the Methodist Episcopal Church, came here and erected a cabin on
the hill where the covered bridge crosses the Big Walnut, and the
following summer brought his wife and ten children to their new
home. He was a devout man, and like the apostle Paul,
worked with his hands while he preached. His first sermon in
this neighborhood was preached in Joseph Latshaw's cabin.
He died five years after coming here his son William joined a
part of the army, in 1812, that was on its way to Fort Meigs, and
fought the British and Indians there under Harrison.
When the war was over he returned to the township and settled near
his father's farm. Thomas another son, had a farm
nearby on the Creek. His oldest son, James, was the
first white child born in Genoa Township. A New Englander by
the name of Joseph Latshaw came here in 1807 from Berkshire
Township. His farm was in the northern part of the township,
southwest of Galena. In the latter part of the same year
David Weeks emigrated from Saratoga County, New York, and
located in the northern part of the township. William Cox,
a Pennsylvanian, also came into the township that year. He
located in the oxbow bend of the Big Walnut, where he resided until
his death. The next year, 1808, Marcus Curtis, a
brother of Jeremiah Curtis, and Elisha Newell came
with their families from Connecticut. Curtis bought 681
acres of land in the northeastern part of the township, on Yankee
Street. He soon began to make brick from the clay which he
found on his farm, and erected the first brick structure in the
township. He also introduced short-horn cattle in to the
township. He bought his brother's saw- and grist-mill and
operated them both for a time, but as this venture was not
successful he disposed of the mill to Hezekiah Roberts.
The same year, Alexander Smith came from Pennsylvania and
settled in the central part of the township. He became a
prominent citizen. He was a successful farmer, held township
offices and was an elder i the Presbyterian Church.
In 1809 Elisha Bennett came here from
Pennsylvania. When it was decided to set off and organize the
present township of Genoa, it was he who suggested the name which
was adopted. His farm was near Maxwell Corners. One of
the early settlers was Jonas Carter but it is not known just
when he came from New England. He settled on the Big Walnut,
but after clearing a small part of his farm, he sold it to
Jonathan Dyer and went to Indiana.
In the spring of 1810 Hezekiah Roberts came to
this township from Pennsylvania and bought Joseph Latshaw's
farm. He was a blacksmith, and he set the first shop for that
kind of work in this region. He was one of the first farmers
to raise flax. He bought the old Copeland Mill and
moved it to the west side of the creek, where he ran it for a number
of years. His son, later familiarly known as "Long John"
Roberts, was the second white child born in the township.
When his father was no longer able to follow his trade, John
succeeded to the business, which he carried on for forty years.
Fulrad Seebring also came to the township in 1810. His
farm was located on the Big Walnut, about midway of the township
from north and south. The same year Ary Hendricks
located on a farm southwest of Galena, and Thomas Harris and
his son-in-law Henry Bennett came here.
MORE TO COME ON PAGE 454 UPON REQUEST.
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