OHIO GENEALOGY EXPRESS

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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:


 

THOMPSON TOWNSHIP.

     The history of this subdivision of Delaware County is a township dates back to June 5, 1820, when, on petition of the citizens within its boundaries, it was created by act of the County Commissioners' Court, deriving its name from that of an early United States Government surveyor.  It was originally a part of the Virginia Military Lanes, and when first constituted included a part of what is now Prospect Township, in Marion County, which was set off by act of Legislature when Morrow County was organized, Feb. 24, 1848.  Scioto River forms the eastern boundary line of the township, in which it is fed by two streams from the west: Taway Run and Fulton's Creek, both of which take their rise in Union County.  The first named takes its name from the Taway Tribe of Indians of Wyandot Nation, which in early years inhabited its banks.  Fulton's Creek was named after a famous hunter of the pioneer days, whose mysterious disappearance and probable violet death was mourned by the settlers, among whom he was very popular, and they united in paying him this tribute.
     The first white settler of Thompson Township was Thomas Weaver, who came from Virginia.  Leaving his native State in 1808, he arrived at Chillicothe, Ohio, and there falling in with a surveyor who gave glowing accounts of the country in this section, made

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his way hither in the spring of 1809.  He located land on the banks of the Scioto and immediately set about erecting a cabin and clearing his land.  He was followed shortly by Michael Dilsaver, who located in the southeastern part of the township, and from him Dilsaver's Corners, and Dilsaver's Ford took their names.  There was then a lapse of a number of years before the coming of the next settlers.  James Cochran arrived from Pennsylvania in 1817, and settled on Fultons Creek, where in 1827 he erected the first grist-mill of the township.  In 1818 John Swartz and four sons came from Pennsylvania and were the first settlers at what afterward became known as Pickrell's Mills.  The same year witnessed the arrival of Simeon Lindsley and John Hurd, who came from Vermont and settled along the river to the south of John Swartz's cabin. Roswell Fields, a Canadian by birth and a most desirable citizen, arrived at about the same time and built a cabin near Dilsaver's Ford.  He had the distinction of building the first frame house in the township and was the first justice of the peace after the organization of Thompson Township.  Next came Samuel Broderick and Joseph Russell, the latter arriving late in 1819, from Connecticut; he pushed his way up the Scioto, three miles above Pickrell's Mills, where he purchased 318 acres of land and built a cabin.  All these pioneers were located along the river bank, the interior development being exceedingly backward.  It was not until after 1828 that settlers came in any great numbers, and even then the inclination was to locate close to the river.
     As before mentioned the first mill was that of Cochran, built in 1827, on Fulton Creek, about a half mile distant from the Scioto.  This was followed in 1830 by a saw-mill, erected by Jacob Swartz a short distance below his cabin on the west bank of the Scioto.  Roswell Fields soon after acquired the old Cochran grist-mill, which he enlarged and rebuilt, and also erected a saw-mill, both of which were in operation many years.  In 1844 J. W. Cone built a woolen mill which thrived and was in constant operation for thirty years.  It was the first mill operated by the power of steam, this modern innovation transpiring in 1868.  Sparks from the engine set fire to the plant in 1874, and resulted in its destruction.  It was not rebuilt by Mr. Cone, but in 1877 Mr. H. P. Pickrell erected a large modern grist-mill on that site, and it was from him the settlement thereabouts derived its name.  Clark Decker, in 1863, erected a small saw-mill in the extreme northeastern part of the township.  This was the extent of the early day industrial enterprises of Thompson Township, which has never had what may be termed a village within its limits.  Pickrell's Mills, known in early days, successively, as Eagletown and Cone's Mills, was the nearest approach to urban classification, but at best it had but a postoffice, one store and a few homes surrounding the mills.  It succeeded Patterson Post Office as a postal station, the latter being a title which lent dignity to an old frame house on the Military Road, north of Fulton Creek, for several years.
     The mill now owned and operated by Bruce Charles and generally known as the Simon Charles Mill, was built in 1834 by Roswell Fields, the millwright being Henry Waits, a well known local character in those days, being somewhat unbalanced in mind.  By Mr. Fields it passed into the possession of his son, Samuel Fields, who sold it to Simon Charles, from whom, on the latter's death, it passed into the hands of his son Bruce, who has greatly improved the property, fitting it up with modern machinery.  Mr. Charles also runs a powerful hydraulic cider-press.
     Susanna Cochran, born in 1817, was the first native white child of the township, and the death of Michael Dilsaver was the first death recorded.  The marriage of William Travers and Catherine Swartz in 1822 was the first marriage, and with the dance and feast which followed was an occasion long to be remembered by the settlers who had congregated from many miles around.  James Crawford taught the first school in the cabin on Fulton Creek.  The first brick house was erected by a man named Hoskins, and Thomas Lavender, the first brick mason and the first to burn a kiln of brick, also erected one of the first brick buildings.  Dr. Mathias Gerehard was the first practicing physician resident in Thompson.  The earliest store was that conducted by Joseph Cox in a house near the Mills.  John Detwiler, pioneer tavern keeper, was also a dealer in liquors.  It was not until 1869 that a bridge was erected in the township, this being a wooden structure across the Scioto, joining Thompson and Radnor. In 1875 a small covered bridge was constructed across Fulton's Creek.  Prior to this time it was necessary for the settlers to lord the stream, the most favorable spot being at what was known as Broad Ford, on the southern boundary line.  Jacob Swartz had a large flat boat and a canoe which he used in transporting people across the river, farther up stream.
     Thompson Township has the following officials for the year 1908: T. A. Fryman and A. A. Maize, justices of the peace; John Howison and P. H. Perry, trustees; George E. Avers, clerk; E. M. Decker, treasurer; J. G. Hill, assessor; Jacob Dilsaver and Fred Kirk, constables; John Davis, ditch supervisor.
 

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