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Welcome to
Greene County, Ohio
History & Genealogy

Source:
History of Greene County, Ohio
Together with
Historic Notes on the Northwest
and
The State of Ohio
Gleaned from Early Authors, Old Maps and Manuscripts,
Private and Official Correspondence, and
All Other Authentic Sources.
By $. S. Dills
ILLUSTRATED
Published
Dayton, Ohio:
Odell & Mayer, Publishers
1881

(Transcribed by Sharon Wick)

ROSS TOWNSHIP
Pg. 739

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GRAPE GROVE.

 

 

 

EARLY SETTLERS.

     WILLIAM HARPOLE emigrated from Virginia, to Ross County, Ohio in a very early day, and coming to this county, located in Ross Township, about 1806.  He was father of a large family, and upon his arrival here, purchased about two thousand acres of land, part of which was in Madison County.  He built his little cabin, as had the others before him, and lived in it many years; but this house has long since moulded away, and not a log now remains to point out the spot on which it stood.

     JOSEPH BUTCHER, from Virginia, immigrated to this township, about 1806, with a family of three children.  He at once purchased one hundred and eight acres of land, all of which was heavily timbered, upon which he erected a cabin, furnished as they usually were, with puncheon floor and split-slat-door, and in this house the family lived contentedly many years.  Mr. Butcher resided here till his death after which the farm fell into the hands of his son who continues to reside there.

     DAVID LARKIN from Maryland, settled in the northern part of this township, in about 1806.  He married a daughter of John Harper, and became, before his death, the owner of a fine farm in this locality, which is now under an excellent state of cultivation, being as productive, according to its size, as any farm in the township.  The first brick house in the township, was probably built by Mr. Larkin, who erected a brick structure in 1827.

     JOSEPHUS ATKINSON, a native of York County, Pennsylvania, with his wife, a native of Tennessee, and two children, came to Clinton County, this state, in 1811.  After remaining there four years, they removed to Caesar's Creek Township, this county, where they remained till 1822, when he moved to this township, and located permanently on three hundred acres of land, which at that date cost him about three dollars per acre.  This land was what was then known as the Barrens, of which about one hundred acres was prairie, the remainder heavily timbered.  Quite a number of log huts had been erected upon this land, by temporary dwellers therein, and into one of these Mr. Atkinson moved, and resided till after the birth of several children, of which he was the father of eleven.  His farm at that date, was very wet, and the grass grew seven or eight feet high.  Eight or ten acres was considered a big crop of corn, and even then, those who had a superfluity of this article found it difficult to dispose of it at any price.  Mr. Atkinson dealt a good deal in stock, and frequently drove cattle and hogs, through to Philadelphia and Baltimore; it requiring some six or seven hands to watch the stock, and about seventy days to make the round trip.  Levi Atkinson, son of Josephus, also, in later years made several of these trips, and is now, doubtless, the only person in the township, who, from personal experience, knows the hardships to be encountered, and overcome by all those who attempted these journeys through the wilderness that existed along the route, between this place and a market, more that fifty years ago.  These trips, however, proved highly remunerative to Mr. Atkinson, who, in time, became the largest landholder in the township, as he possessed last spring some one thousand two hundred and forty-eight acres, part of which he has since deeded to his sons.  The eight hundred acres that he still retains in his own name, makes Levi Atkinson the owner of more land than any other one man in Ross Township.

     Probably the first prominent settler near the central part of the township, was ROBINSON FLETCHER, who came from Virginia to this township, in about 1808, with a family of six children.  He purchased three hundred acres of land, on what was known as the "Monroe Survey," all of which was densely wooded; however, by the assistance of his sons, he cleared a goodly portion of it and remained here till 1855, when he disposed of the old farm to CYRUS LITTLE, who, in turn, sold it to the present proprietor, Daniel Little, about sixteen years ago.

     PETER WOODRING settled here, in 1808, on three acres of land, which he purchased of Fletcher, who was acting as agent to Monroe, who owned all the land in this vicinity.  Mr. Woodring erected a little cabin, and remaining there till his family all died, when he removed to the southern part of the township, and purchased about one hundred acres of good land, which he lived upon and continued to improve till his death, which occurred about 1860.

     RICHARD BEESON, immigrated here from Virginia, about 1808, and purchased fifty acres of and of Fletcher, for which he paid him at the rate of fifty cents per acre.  Mr. Beeson built a small cabin, and did a little clearing upon the place where he remained till 1817, when he disposed of his farm and left the community.

     MITCHELL INSLEY, a native of Maryland,  came to this township with his mother, in 1815, and took a lease of land from Fletcher.  He was a bachelor, and never became a landholder, but after remaining on Fletcher's land a number of years, he removed to another place, and continued to move - verifying the old adage that "a rolling stone gathers no moss" - till his death, which occurred some twenty years ago.

     ALLEN RICKSTRAW, from Maryland, came to this township, about 1816, and also leased land of Fletcher, who continued to act as Monroe's agent in this locality.  Mr. Rickstraw, built a small cabin in the woods, and went cheerfully to work, to hew his way into the wilderness of forest that surrounded him on every hand, and in a short time had caused the aspect of things to change so materially that the original woods near him were hardly recognizable.  In a few years he lost his wife and two sons and becoming discouraged, and having noting to keep him longer upon the spot which served to remind him daily of his misery, he abandoned the home where he had once hoped to pass his days, and removed to another township, where he died years ago.

     The next settler in this part of the township, was JACOB LITTLE, a native of Frederick County, Virginia, who immigrated here with his family in 1817, and purchased fifty acres of land from Richard Beeson, at less than one dollar per acre.  A few years later, he increased his farm by three hundred additional acres, which he purchased of Fletcher at the nominal price of one dollar and thirty-seven cents per acre.  When Mr. Little moved upon the place, there was a little spot of the ground cleared, and the outlook for making a home, the least desirable in this locality was gloomy indeed; however, he determined to give up the prospect, only when he had tested and found it impracticable; so when he moved into the round log cabin with a single room, and that a small one, it was with the settled purpose of establishing himself permanently, and bettering his surroundings as rapidly as possible.  At this date, deer, wild turkeys, and wolves were abundant in the neighborhood.  The fondness of these latter animals for mutton, made it almost impossible to raise sheep; it could be done, indeed, only by the closest watching through the day, and by enclosing the flock with a high fence during the night.  Squirrels were innumerable, and the depredations committed by them upon the growing corn was enough to test the morals of the most patient.  It is said that these animals would destroy the corn, even after it was eighteen inches high, unless means were adopted to keep them frightened from the fields.
     Mr. Little put out an orchard shortly after moving upon his place, and in a few years had an abundant supply of what was then first-class fruit.  Part of the trees are still prolific.  In 1825, he also erected a hewed log house, which was then considered the most pretentious residence within a radius of two miles.  This house has long since been torn down, but some of the puncheons are still to be found, and have been utilized by his son, Daniel, in building a corn crib.  The old farm is now the property of this son, who is a prominent man in the neighborhood, and noted for the uprightness of his daily life, and the willingness with which he at all times takes in the poor wayfarer, and metes out to him of this world's goods, and the good old-fashioned manner so prevalent during the days of our forefathers.  Mr. Little is also the largest land-owner in the township, and has an excellent farm of more than six hundred acres in a fine state of cultivation.

     DAVID LITTLE, with his family of eight children, came from Virginia to this township, in 1820, and when he reached his destination, the head of the family found himself possessed of just twelve and one-half cents; nothing daunted by the low ebb of his finances, he immediately bought of Jacob Little, one hundred acres of land at the rate of two dollars per acre, and for the first payment gave Jacob Little his two horses and wagon, and paid for the remainder of his farm by working for his creditor by the day.  Besides paying for his farm, he also cleared into a considerable extent during his life-time, and erected buildings which, whatever may be said against them, were at least as comfortable as those of any farmer in the neighborhood.

     MARTIN LITTLE, came here from Virginia, in 1821, and John Little from the same state, in 1823.  The former purchased two hundred acres of land, and the latter four hundred.  Both farms were heavily timbered, and the trees cut to build cabins for these men and their families, were the first ones missing in the surrounding forest, save one here and there which had been felled by hunters in their quest for "coons," which abounded here at that date.

     JOHN TOWEL, with his wife and two children, came to this township from Frederick County, Virginia, several years prior to 1820.  Mr. Towel, had been a soldier in the war of 1812, and in this capacity was noted for his bravery and the fearlessness of all his movements.  The journey of this family from their native state here, was made on horse back and afoot.  The backs of two faithful horses carried all they possessed of this world's goods, which consisted, principally, of two feather beds, which were packed, one, in each end of an empty tick, which also contained all their superfluous clothing.  Their cooking utensils, consisting of a skillet and a few pans, were also taken with them.  The journey here was long and tedious, and one of their horses becoming disabled by tearing off its hoof in its efforts to extricate its leg from the logs of an old barn, where it had got entangled during the night, they were compelled to remain upon the spot six weeks, till the faithful animal had so far recovered as to be able to travel again; however, they succeeded finally in reaching their destination in time to put out a small crop of corn, and build a rude cabin the same spring.  Mr. Towel is described as having been a man of excellent parts, and just such a one as was needed to direct the chaotic state of affairs that then prevailed, into the channel which led to the present prosperity enjoyed by all persons in the community, who were so fortunate as to come within the circle of his goodly influence.

     Among the oldest and most influential of the early settlers must be mentioned DAVID PAULIN, who immigrated to this township prior to 1810, and purchased a large scope of land, a portion of which is now owned by his son James.  Mr. Paulin was the father of a large family, six of whom were sons, so that in the work of clearing he was not single-handed, and soon had a goodly portion of land in a suitable condition to be farmed, in which business he engaged, on what was then considered an extensive scale.  Several of Mr. Paulin's sons are residents of the neighborhood in which their father settled, and are among the most prominent and influential men in the township.  One of the sons, Enos, is the fourth largest land holder in the township.  His farm contains about six hundred acres, in a fine state of cultivation.

     FRANCIS BROCK immigrated to this township from North Carolina, about 1810, and purchasing a small farm of Mr. Insley, moved into a round log hut, which had been built some time before his arrival; he lived here some time, and built a hewed log house, in which he resided until he built the brick, which was the first in this part of the township in 1839.  At one time Mr. Brock owned about two thousand acres of land, only about half of which was in this township.  He remained upon the old homestead till his death in 1857.  Mr. Brock was a prominent man in the community, had a leading member of the old Bethel Methodist Church, which he liberally supported till his death.

     ZARA INSLEY, one of the first settlers in the township, came, with a large family, from Maryland, about 1804, and purchased one hundred acres of land, now owned by John LittleMr. Insley was married twice, and had a family of twelve children, none of whom reside in the neighborhood of their old home.

     In the southern part of the township JOHN CAMPBELL purchased sixty-five acres of land, about 1805, but did not move upon it; after passing through several hands, it was bought by Isaac Taylor, the present owner, in 1827, when he came to this township from Rockbridge County, Virginia, with his wife and one child.  Mr. Taylor's family was afterwards increased by eight more children.  He built the brick home in which he now resides, in 1840, which makes it the fourth brick residence in the township, the third having been built by Jacob Paulin, a short time before.  It is said the first brick chimney in the county was built in this neighborhood by Ephraim Simpson, who immigrated here from Pennsylvania as early as 1803, which, if true, would make him the first settler in this township.

     LYMAN BALLARD was a native of Pennsylvania, from which state, he came to Ohio previous to 1800, and located in Adams County, where he subsequently married.  He came with his family to Ross Township in 1823, and bought land of William Frazier, who had purchased it years before.  Mr. Ballard was the first man in the township who had a wagon and four-horse team, and he used to go to Clifton to mill with a  load of grain for himself, and neighbors who had no conveyance, about two days being the usual time required to make the trip.  He was one of the leading men in the township, and frequently preached in the old Bethel Church, of which he was one of the most prominent members.  His son, Jackson Ballard, resides upon the old place, and is one of the model farmers, having himself cultivated this year a field of corn containing thirteen acres, which is said to be the best in Greene County.

     Among the early settlers of this township, may be mentioned LEVI HAINES, from Kentucky, who came here about 1807, and bought one hundred acres of land.  He was a carpenter by trade, and was killed by falling from a barn which he was building.

     JONATHAN FLOOD, from Virginia, settled here in about 1805, when he purchased sixty acres of land from Mr. Trader, who had entered a large tract here for grazing purposes.  Mr. Flood was a radical Methodist preacher, and was also one of the early justices of the peace in this township.

     JOEL DOLBEY, another Methodist preacher, came here from Virginia, with his large family, about 1808, and purchased sixty acres of land.   He died years ago, and the members of his family have all left this township, and now reside in the west.

     JOHN SHIEGLEY brought his family here from Virginia, in 1808, and purchased eighty acres of land, upon which he built a cabin, where he lived till 1828, when he disposed of his property here and removed to Indiana, where his descendants now reside.

     JAMES JOHNSON, WILLIAM MIERS, CHARLES MAHEN, and GEORGE JUNKINS were also early settlers in this part of the township.

MANUFACTURIES.

 

SCHOOLS.

 

CHURCHES.

 

CEMETERIES.

     The first regular grave-yard was established on Jacob Little's farm, before 1820, and here quite a number of the old settlers are buried.  But this spot of ground has not been used for such purposes for years; and although the little lot is full of graves, but few head-stones are there to tell the name and date of the death of those who lie beneath.
     The second cemetery was also established on Mr. Little's farm, east of Grape Grove, about 1825, and this is still in use; and here many old settlers have been resting many years.  Among others, good old Mr. Orcott and wife, Jacob Little and wife, J. H. Patten and wife, and also the wife of Joseph Thomas, the famous "White Pilgrim," are, with the Insley's, remembered as being among the earliest pioneers of the township.
     The Bethel grave-yard is still in use, and was established about 1830.  Perhaps more old settlers are buried here than in any other place in the township.  Members of the families of Gordins, Walkers, Insleys, Tarkins, Millers, Ballards, Shigleys, Frasiers, Snodgrasses, and a host of others, are familiar to all persons in the township as having been influential persons in the community in which each resided.  Requiescat in pace.

BIOGRAPHICAL

LEVI ATKINSON

JOHN O. ATKINSON

JAMES BALLARD

JACKSON BALLARD

J. H. BROTHERTON

FREDERICK W. CARPER

GEORGE W. CONNER

JAMES K. CONNER

THOMAS H. HARPER

WALKER G. HILL

JOHN HAUGH

JOHN HUTSLAR

GIVENS LACKEY

O. MAURICE LARKIN

JOHN McDORMAN

JESSE N. McFARLAND

HUGH McKILLIP

WILLIAM MERCER

URIAH PAULLIN

RUTH V. PAULLIN

THOMAS J. PAULLIN

CHARLES B. PENNINGTON

ISAAC TAYLOR

JOHN TOWELL

JAMES TURNBULL,

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