township was set off June 8, 1813, and is designated as No. 5 in the
original survey. It is five miles square, and contains 16,000
acres of land. It is bounded on the north by Morrow County; mi
the east by Porter Township; on the south by Berkshire Township, and
on the west by Brown. The surface of the land is generally
quite level, though in the southern and eastern portions it is more
undulating. As in other parts of the county, the most fertile
lands are those which border the streams. While the grain
crops do well in this township, the general character of the soil
makes it better adapted for grass and grazing than for growing
crops. Originally the land was heavily wooded with all the varieties
of hardwoods that grow in this part of the State. The rich
bottom lands were covered with spice bush, black haws and paw-paw
underbrush; wild plums, grapes and crab apples also grew
spontaneously and in great abundance. These constituted all
the luxuries of the early pioneers and in most cases were all he
desired. These fruits, besides being used fresh in various
ways, were also dried for use in the winter season, or preserved in
maple sugar, this and wild honey being the only sweetening they had.
Young horses and cattle were often wintered in these swails. and
managed somehow to come through without grain or dry feed. The
hogs were allowed to run at large, at first without brands or
ear-marks, and these fed and fattened on acorn and beech-nut mast.
In a few years these animals had increased so rapidly that they came
to be regarded as public property, and anyone feeling in need of
pork was at liberty to help himself.
Kingston is amply supplied with springs and streams of
pure water, sufficient for home use and for stock. Alum Creek
is the largest stream and runs across the northwestern corner of the
township. Little Walnut Creek is the next stream in size.
It enters the township on the north about a mile and a half west of
the north-east corner. It runs in a southerly direction,
dividing the township into two nearly equal parts. It has
numerous small tributaries, which are helpful in draining the
township. Other streams are Butler Run, west of and nearly
parallel with Little Walnut, Indigo Run is in the northeastern part
of the township, and Taylor Run flows in the southeastern portion.
Butler Swamp, the source of the run of that name, took its name from
a man named Butler, who settled near it in 1807. It was
supposed that this land would never be fit for farming, but clearing
up and drainage has demonstrated the fact that it is not only
tillable, but very fertile.
John Phipps was the first settler in this
township. He came about 1807, and located in the southeastern
part of the township, on or near Little Walnut. Little is
known of him because he remained here only a short time before he
returned East with his family. The same year, two brothers,
Abraham and James Anway, came from Pennsylvania and
settled in the same part of the township where Phipps had
been. They raised large families. Soon after these men
came George Hess from the same State, and located in
the same neighborhood. He lived on the farm which he cleared
until his death in 1835. He was married but had no children.
The property afterwards was owned by Ceptor Stark. In
1809 came James Stark, John Rosecrans and his four sons,
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and John; Dr.
Daniel Rosecrans and his four sons, Nathaniel,
Jacob, Purlemas and Crandall, and Joseph
Patrick and wife. James Stark selected a
farm of about 200 acres in the eastern part of the township.
For many years he entertained travelers at his house, which was the
only hotel or tavern ever kept in the town-
Page 460 -
ship. The Sunbury and Mansfield roads crossed on his farm, and
the locality came to have the name of Stark's Corners.
He married a Miss Wilcox before coming here, whose
family connection was very numerous, and he, having the confidence
of a very wide acquaintance, was able to induce many settlers to
come into the county. By a former marriage he had three
daughters. One married a Mr. Perfect, of Trenton
Township; one married Dr. Bigelow, of Galena, and the
third married Benjamin Carpenter of the same town. They
all had large families. By his second marriage he had one son,
James N. Stark, who at one time owned two thousand acres of
farm lands in Kingston and Porter Townships. Joseph Patrick
was a remarkable man, having unusual intellectual ability, but he
was afflicted with an impediment in his speech. He was well
versed in history, and was successful as a business man. He
accummulated a large fortune for his day, and by honest
methods. Among the positions of trust with which he was
honored was that of county treasurer. He removed to Berkshire
Township at an early day. He married Sarah Taylor,
daughter of Daniel Taylor, who emigrated from the Wyoming
Valley in Pennsylvania, and settled in the southeastern part of the
township on the run which later was railed by his name.
Dr. Daniel Rosecrans first located on Little
Walnut Creek. Later he sold this and bought a farm on Taylor's
Run. He was the first justice of the peace in the township.
His son Crandall married Jemima Hopkins, who
was related to Stephen Hopkins, one of the signers of
the Declaration of Independence. They had three sons, the
eldest of whom was Major-General William Stark
Rosecrans, who won fame as a general in the war for the Union.
A sketch of him will be found in the chapter devoted to the military
history of the county. Sylvester, another of the sons, also
became distinguished, but in a different sphere. After
graduating from West Point, lie joined the Roman Catholic Church,
went to Rome for his theological training, became a bishop and was
placed in charge of the Diocese of Columbus, he was noted for his
great executive ability, his scholarship and his eloquence in the
Previous to our second struggle with England,
Solomon Steward, who had served in the Revolution, came
here from the Green Mountain State. In 1815 he married
Nancy White, a sister of Mrs. Benjamin Benedict, and soon
alter settled in Porter Township. In 1812 Peter Van Sickle
came with his young family from New Jersey. He located on land
in the southernmost part of the township west of Little Walnut.
He had two sons, William G. and Asa, and four
daughters. The oldest daughter married Hon. Almon
Stark, who for years was an associate judge of our Common
Pleas Court. The youngest daughter became the wife of R. J.
Lott. At his death Peter Van Sickle left quite an
estate, besides giving his children much financial help as they
started out in life. In 1814 two brothers, Richard and
Charles Hodgden, emigrated from Connecticut and
settled in this township. They "bached" it for a while
together. Finally Richard married a Miss
Place and Charles married a Miss Blackman,
and after she died he married a Miss Brockover and
moved to Union County. John White, from West
Virginia, also came here in 1814. He purchased 1,000 acres of
land, the northeast quarter of Section 1. He had a large
family, some of whom had reached maturity, and these soon married
and settled in the neighborhood. Mr. White
immediately became prominent and influential in the township.
John Van Sickle a cousin of Peter Van
Sickle came into the township about 1815. Both these
men brought sufficient means with them to enable them to have such
comforts and conveniences as were possible under pioneer conditions.
John Van Sickle married Susannah Wicker, who was a
native of the same county in New Jersey. They bad eight
children, all of whom were married and reared families.
David was a farmer in Kingston; Peter had a farm in
Porter Township; William W. resided in Delaware; Elizabeth
married George Blaney, of Porter Township; Mary
married Charles Wilcox. of Porter; Esther
married a Mr. Knox, and spent her life in Trenton
Page 461 -
silla married Dr. H. Bessee, and Jane married
Lewis Buck, of Morrow County. John Van
Sickle carried on farming on a large scale. Upon
arriving at age, each of the children received from him 100 acres of
land. He built a dam and a grist- and saw-mill near Sunbury,
and carried this on along with his farming. He was a
consistent and active member of the Presbyterian Church, and with
Dr. Fowler; father was one of the founders and main-stays
of the Old Blue Church at East Liberty. He spent his declining
years in that village. Benjamin Benedict settled on a
150-acre farm about one mile below the center of the town, on Little
Walnut in 1815. He married a daughter of John White.
They had two sons, Nelson and Sturgis.
Benjamin Benedict died in 1877, at the advanced age of
eighty-eight years. He was highly esteemed by his neighbors
for his industrious and honorable life. In 1816 a man named
Waldron also came into the township. He was from New York.
His four sons were George, who lived in Brown Township;
Richard, William and Jonas. The next year
Joseph Lott came from Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, and
settled on the East Branch of Little Walnut Creek. He reared
two sons and two daughters. Riley T. and Josiah
were farmers in Kingston. His oldest daughter became Mrs.
William G. Van Sickle, and Eliza, the youngest daughter,
married Ezekiel Longwell. In 1817, also, John
Hall located on a wild tract of 100 acres on the Little
Walnut. He married one of the daughters of John
White, from whom he had purchased his farm. They had four
children. Mrs. John J. Wilcox was their only daughter.
William, their oldest son, went to Iowa where he practiced
law. George W. also went West, where he engaged in
farming, and John W. made his home in Delaware.
Hiram Cuykendall, a veteran of both wars with England,
settled on a farm in this township in 1820. He died nearly
seventy years ago at a great age. Thomas and James
Carney, two brothers, came from Luzerne County, Pennsylvania,
Thomas in 1820 and James in 1823. They were both
hard workers and set about clearing farms. Thomas
married one of the Lott girls, and James brought his
wife, who was Jane Ostrander before her marriage, with
him to the township. Both brothers raised families.
Moses Decker came from New Jersey to Kingston in 1820.
He settled in the eastern part of the township, near his
brother-in-law, Isaac Finch, who had preceded him from
the same State. Mr. Decker was a soldier in the
War of 1812, was the first postmaster of Kingston, a justice of the
peace for a number of years, and prominent and well known throughout
the county. He married a daughter of Hiram
Cuykendall. Moses Decker was a carpenter and
millwright, and built many of the early mills in the county.
The first frame barn in the township was built by Elder
Wigton on his farm. It was framed, raised and completed by
Mr. Decker. It was a never-failing custom in
those days to serve liquor of some kind, usually whiskey, at all
raisings. On this occasion Mr. Decker forbade
that any liquor be brought on the ground. It was thought that
failure to provide this energizer would result in the people staying
away, but help enough came, and the first attempt at raising the
barn was successful. This was in 1827, and while the structure
that was erected on that occasion has long since crumbled into dust,
Mr. Decker's influence for temperance is still at
work, and Kingston still holds the reputation it long ago earned for
the temperance and sobriety of its inhabitants. Mr.
Decker lived to be upwards of ninety, and left numerous
descendants in the county. Oliver Stark came from
Pennsylvania to Kingston in 1825, being then twenty-four years of
age. Four years later he married the first white child born in
Kingston Township, Eliza Patrick, the daughter of
Joseph Patrick. Oliver Stark was successful
and prominent in his day. He was justice of the peace for
twenty-one years, and served as county commissioner for three years
from 1846-49. He left a large estate when he died, which was
shared bya number of descendants.
Other early settlers were Gilbert Potter and
family who came from West Virginia in 1817, and purchased John
Hall's first farm from him. A few years later,
Page 462 -
ton, his brother-in-law, came from the same county and settled
near by. He was followed within a few years by his brother
John Gaston. The district where they settled came to be
known as the "Virginia District." Daniel Maxwell, who
by his first marriage with one of the Farris sisters,
was a brother-in-law of the Gastons and Potter,
settled on a farm near the center of the township. He married
for his second wife, a Miss Haslett. He was a
typical Virginia gentleman, intelligent, a consistent member of the
Presbyterian Church, who was held in high esteem. For twenty
years before his death he filled the office of justice of the peace,
in which office he was succeeded by his son, William H. Maxwell.
James Gaston, a native of the Emerald Isle and a
relative of the Gastons we have mentioned, also settled in
the "Virginia District." Elder Thomas Wigton
came here from Pennsylvania in 1814, and settled on a hundred acres
near the center of the township. He was a local preacher in
the Baptist Church, but being broad-minded and tolerant of the views
of others, he was popular with members of other churches than his
own, for whom he often preached. In 1834 John
Haslett came to Kingston from Augusta County, Virginia. He
purchased 150 acres from Isaac Rosecrans in the east
part of the township. He was a local preacher in the Methodist
Church. Of good mental ability, kindly disposition, noted for
his southern hospitality, he was an enthusiastic and effective
preacher. In 1834 Henry Sheets with his large and
grown-up family settled in the woods in the northwestern part of the
township. He had seven sons, the youngest of whom, Jacob
Sheets, was for many years a justice of the peace. In
1824 Daniel Terrill immigrated to Kingston Township
and settled on a farm in the southwest quarter-section. He was
from Essex County, New Jersey.
Representatives of nearly all the nationalities that
helped to establish the original thirteen colonies were to be found
among the pioneers of Kingston Township: Puritans from New England,
Dutch from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, English from the latter
State and from Virginia, and Scotch-Irish from Pennsylvania and West
Virginia. Their common dangers and common necessities tended
to suppress the controversies that would naturally arise among
people so radically different in racial characteristics, religion,
temperament, habits of thought, manners and customs. They
dwelt in harmony, their children intermarried, and today we have in
the citizenship of Kingston Township, a race of men and women that
for physical, mental or moral excellence are the peers of any other
The present (1908) township officials are: J.
J. Stark and Bert White, justices of the peace: E. C.
Owen, F. P. McVey, and R. M. Van Sickle, trustees;
L. S. Owen, treasurer; S. T. Hutchisson, assessor;
Harry Benedict and O. S. Wilcox, constables.
TABLE OF CONTENTS >