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Pickaway County, Ohio
History & Genealogy


History of Pickaway County
Source:  History of Franklin & Pickaway Counties, Ohio
Illustrations and Biographical Sketches
Published by Williams Bros. 1880





     Washington lies east of Circleville, and along the eastern line of the county, with Walnut township adjoining on the north, and Pickaway on the south.  Its surface is quite rolling, except in the southern part, where it is comparatively level.  The principal water course is Hargus creek, which rises in the northeast part of the township, flows southwest, and unites with the Scioto, west of Circleville.  Scippo creek flows through a part of sections twenty-five and thirty-six.  Besides these, there are several other smaller streams, of not sufficient importance to require description.  The soil of Washington is principally a mixture of gravel and sand, with a smaller proportion of low, or good corn lands, than are found in some of the other townships of the county.  The native varieties of timber did not differ materially from those of neighboring townships, being chiefly oak, of all kinds, ash, beech, maple, hard and soft, walnut, hickory, butternut, hackberry and elm.  The township is highly improved, the farms being generally smaller than those of other townships, and containing, in most cases, good dwellings and barns.


     We date the settlement of the township from the arrival of JOHN ANDERSON, in 1797.  He came from Pennsylvania, accompanied by his wife and ten children.  John, his son, came out before, and selected a location on Hargus Creek, in section ten, and when the land was opened for entry, took up about six hundred and forty acres, in sections ten and three.  When the family came, they settled where John had located.  The descendants of the family are now widely scattered, with the exception of the children of Bethuel, one of the sons of the pioneer ANDERSON, most of whom reside in this county.  Bethuel ANDERSON was born June 6, 1790, and married Mary MOORE, whose parents were among the earliest pioneers of Deer Creek township, Fairfield county.  For eleven years after his marriage, Bethuel ANDERSON occupied the farm of his wife's father, in Deer Creek, when he moved to the old homestead, on Hargus creek.  He was a soldier in the war of 1812, serving as sergeant, and was afterward a lieutenant in the State militia.  He died, October 1, 1858, and his wife Aug. 17, 1869.  They had a family of four sons and seven daughters.  Milton was killed in Washington Territory, December, 1863, by a water-spout, which swept away the custom house, of which he was an officer, and John was murdered at his residence, in Missouri, Aug. 25, 1875, by three desperadoes, whose object was robbery.  The surviving children are: Elizabeth, widow of Joseph Heise in this township; Zeruia wife of John N. ANDERSON, in Iowa; wife of Martin WELLS, and Mary A., widow of Joel Huzzy in this township; Joanna, wife of Joseph Myers, in Perry county, Ohio; Louisia, wife of John Albright, in Walnut township, this county, and Harvey K., in Kansas.
     DAVID CULBERSON, a stepson of John ANDERSON, came out with the family, and subsequently married Margaret RUSH and settled where the widow PARKER, now lives.  He was a Methodist local preacher, and some of the earliest religious meetings were held at his cabin; he officiated at many of the pioneer funerals in this and other townships in the county; he finally removed to the Raccoon hills.
     A man by the name of ZEIMMER, a native of Germany, came, with his family, from Maryland to this township, in 1799, and entered one-half of section twenty-seven, on which they settled.  The family consisted of the parents and seven children.  In 1812 the parents, one daughter, and youngest son, Philip, removed to Richland county, where, a short time afterward, the father, mother, and daughter, were massacred by the Indians.  An account of their terrible fate is given in HOWE'S "Ohio Historical Collections," as follows, the name, however, being given as anglicized - Seymour:

     "In September, 1812, shortly after the breaking out of the late war with Great Britain, two block-houses were built in Mansfield; one stood about six rods west of the site of the court house; and the other a rod or two north.  The first was built by a company commanded by Captain Shaeffer, from Fairfield county, and the other by the company of Colonel Charles Williams, of Coshocton.  A garrison was stationed at the place until after the battle of the Thames.  At the commencement of hostilities there was a settlement of friendly Indians, of the Delaware tribe, at a place called Greentown, about twelve miles southeast of Mansfield, within the present township of Green.  It was a village consisting of some sixty cabins, with a council house about sixty feet long, twenty-five wide, one story in height, and built of posts and clap-boarded.  The village contained several hundred persons.  As a measure of safety they were collected, in August, 1812, and sent to some place in the western part of the State, under protection of the government.  They were first brought to Mansfield and placed under guard, near where the tanyard now is, on the run. 
     "While there, a young Indian and squaw came up to the block-house, with a request to the chaplain, Rev. James Smith, of Mount Vernon, to marry them after the manner of the whites.  In the absence of the guard, who had come up to witness the ceremony, an old Indian and his daughter, aged about twelve years, who were from Indiana, took advantage of the circumstance and escaped.  Two spies from Coshocton, named Morrison and McCulloch, met them near the run, about a mile northwest of Mansfield, on what is now the farm of E. P. Sturges.  As the commanding office, Colonel Cratzer, had given orders to shoot all Indians found out of the bounds of the place under  an Impression that all such must be the hostile, Morrison, on discovering them, shot the father through the breast.  He fell, mortally wounded; then springing up, ran about two hundred yards, and fell to rise no more.  The girl escaped.  The men returned and gave the information.  A party of twelve men were ordered out, half of whom were under Sergeant John C. Gilkinson, now of Mansfield.  The men flanked on each side of the run.  As Gilkinson came up he found the fallen Indian on the north north side of the run, and at every breath he drew, blood flowed, through the bullet hole in his chest.  Morrison next came up, and, called to McCulloch to come and take revenge.  Gilkison then asked the Indian who he was.  He replied, 'A friend.'  McCulloch, who, by this time, had joined them, exclaimed, as he drew his tomahawk, 'D-n you!  I'll make a friend of you! and aimed a blow at his head, but it glanced and was not mortal.  At this he placed one foot on the neck of the prostrate Indian, and, drawing out his tomahawk, with another blow buried it in his brains.  The poor fellow gave one quiver, and then all was over.  Gilkison had a vain endeavored to prevent this inhuman deed, and now requested McCulloch to bury the Indian.  'D--n him; no!' was the answer; 'they killed two or three brothers of mine, and never buried them.'  The second day following the Indian was buried; but it was so slightly done that his ribs were seen projecting above ground for two or three years after.
     "This McCulloch continued an Indian fighter until his death.  He made it a rule to kill every Indian he met, whether friend or foe.  Mr. Gilkison saw him some time after, on his way to Sandusky, dressed like an Indian.  To his question, 'Where are you going?' he replied, 'To get more revenge!'
     "There was living at this time on the Black fork of the Mohican, about half a mile west of where Petersburgh now is, a Mr. MArtin Ruffner.  Having removed his family to safety, no person was with him in his cabin, excepting a bound boy.  About two miles southeast, stood the cabin of the Seymours.  This family consisted of the parents - both very old people - a maiden daughter, Catharine, and her brother, Philip, who was a bachelor.
     "One evening Mr. Ruffner sent out the lad to the creek bottom to bring home the cows, when he discovered two Indians.  They called to him, saying that they would not harm him, but wished to speak to him.  Having ascertained from him that the Seymours were at home, they left, and he hurried back and told Ruffner of the circumstance, upon which he took down his rifle, and started for Seymour's.  He arrived there, and was advising young Seymour to go to the cabin of a Mr. Copus, and get old Mr. Copus and his son to come up and help to take the Indians prisoners, when the latter were seen approaching.  Upon this young Seymour passed out of the back door and hurried to Copus', while the Indians entered the front door, with their rifles in their hand.  The Seymours received them with an apparent cordiality, and the daughter spread the table for them.  The Indians, however, did not appear to be inclined to eat, but soon arose and commenced the attack.  Ruffner, who was a powerful man, made a desperate resistance.  He clubbed his rifle, and broke the stock to pieces; but he fell before superior numbers, and was afterwards found dead and scalped, in the yard, with two rifle balls through him, and several fingers cut off by a tomahawk.  The old people and daughter were found tomahawked, and scalped, in the house.  In an hour or so after dark, young Seymour returned with Mr. Copus and son, making their way through the woods by the light of a hickory bark torch.  Approaching the cabin, they found all dark and silent within.  Young Seymour attempted to upon the door, when it flew back.  Reaching forward, he touched the corpse of the old man, and exclaimed, in tones of anguish, 'Here is the blood of my poor father!'  Before they reached the place, they heard the Indians whistling on the powder chargers, upon which they put out the light, and were not molested."

     The sons, George, Henry, Frederick, and Abraham, all settled in this county, and George and Abraham remained here until their death.  Jacob, the son of Abraham Zeimmer now lives in Walnut township, aged nearly seventy-one.
     JOHN RAGER, who first located on the Pickaway plains, came to Washington about 1800.  Subsequently, he entered, in connection with his son-in-law, Nicholas Miller, and a man by the name of Valentine, three-fourths of section thirty-three.  Rager was a great hunter, and was in the forest, with his gun, almost constantly.  He killed a number of bear, and a great many deer and wild turkeys.  It is said he would kill, sometimes in a single day, five or six deer.  It was his custom to keep from two to three hundred hogs, which derived their subsistence form the abundant mast which the forest furnished.  He never raised any grain for them, and one winter, which was unusually severe, about one-half of them died.  The rest he wintered through on venison.  His son, John, would follow him with a horse and sled, and take home the deer as his father killed them.  Rager finally, when eighty years old, went to Vinton county, where game was more plenty.  He lived to be nearly one hundred years old.
     JACOB GREENOUGH, one of the earliest settlers in the township, was also a squatter on the plains, in Pickaway township.  From thence he moved to Fairfield county, but the land on which he located being entered soon after, he came to Washington and entered the southeast quarter of section twenty-three, which he occupied until his death.  Three of his children are known to be living, to-wit: Jacob, at Stoutsville, Fairfield county, aged nearly ninety; Andrew, in Indiana, and Philip, in Illinois.
     NICHOLAS MILLER was an early settler where the residence of the late Jacob Hitler now stands.  He was a blacksmith, and had a shop there.  Mrs. Miller was a daughter of John Rager.  Four of their children are now living, one of whom is Mrs. George Try, of Circleville.  Nicholas Miller's estate was the first administered upon in Pickaway county.
     DAVID LIEST came to Washington as early as 1805, and entered the southwest quarter of section twenty-three, which, a year afterwards, he sold to his brother, Andrew, on his arrival from Pennsylvania, David then locating a mile further west.  John D. Liest, his son, is a resident of the township.
     GEORGE PONTIUS, sr.,  his wife, Catharine, and five of their seven children, together with their son-in-law, Peter Row, and his family, came from Center county, Pennsylvania, in the spring of 1808.  They came by wagon, and were four weeks on the road, during which it rained every day, except three.  Mr. Pontius located on the northwest quarter of section twenty-two, where Rufus Brobst now lives, and gave each of his children a quarter section of land.  On the twenty-fifth of August, 1810, his wife died, and about two years afterward he married again, his second wife surviving him.  His children, who were all born of his first wife, are as follows, named in the order of their age: Conrad, Betsey, George, Samuel, Daniel, Catharine and Margaret.  Conrad came into the township at a very early date, making the journey on foot; he remained two years, boarding with the family of John Anderson, and returned to Pennsylvania.  In 1806, two years before the rest of the family came, he and his brother George, with their wives, came out with a four-horse team and wagon.  Culverson gave George Pontius the use of a cabin until he could build one, which he did shortly afterward, on the location now occupied by Daniel Haas.  Afterwards, he built, on the same site, a brick house, which was the first in the township.  David, his son, now resides about a mile south of the old homestead.
     Conrad settled where Ezekiel Morris now resides, his farm adjoining that of his brother George.  Many years after, he removed to Piqua, Ohio, where he died.  Betsey was the wife of Peter Row.  Samuel settled where John Knight now lives.  Daniel occupied, until his death, the old homestead.  His son, Daniel, is a well-known citizen of Circleville township.  Catharine married Adam Martin, and first located on the place now occupied by Amos Groce, and, afterwards, where Samuel Bowman resides.  He died there in 1849.  Mrs. Martin, aged eight-six, Nov. 5, 1879, now resides in Walnut, with her son, Jacob.  She is the only surviving member of the family.  Margaret became the wife of Hecktor Curts.
PETER ROW located on the northeast quarter of section twenty-two.  He kept a cabin or the accommodation of the immigrants, and many of them found in it a place of temporary shelter.  Mr. Row was a potter by trade, and followed it the greater part of his life.  By selling pork, corn, and other necessities, together with him trade, he got his start in the new country; he received for pork only from one cent to a cent and a half per pound, and a proportionate price for grain.  Mr. Row died in 1849, and six of his children are now living, of whom Mrs. Andrew Leist, Samuel, and George, reside in this township.  Mrs. Myers and Mrs. Rambow live in Illinois, and David, the oldest brother, in Union county, Ohio.



opened in the township was the old Lancaster road, or Westfall road, as it was originally called.   Along this road most of the early settlers located.  One of the first was Christopher EARNEST, who settled on the southwest quarter of section fourteen; in 1806.  The farm is now owned by Jacob J. STOUT.
     GEORGE HOFFMAN and his wife, Mary (HARPSTER) came from Union county, Pennsylvania, the same year, and settled on the southeast quarter of the same section.  Their ten children were born after their settlement.  Four - Peter, John, George and Mrs. Samuel WINSTEAD - live in this township, and the rest in the west.  Peter, now in his seventy-first year, married Elizabeth LEIST, and first settled where their son, Jacob, now lives.  He removed to his present location in 1855.  John located where he now lives in 1835.  His wife, Mary Ann EASTER, died in 1861.  George, who occupies the homestead, married, for his first wife, a daughter of Abraham NEFF, formerly of Fairfield county.  She died many years ago, and he subsequently married Elizabeth, daughter of Andrew LIEST, with whom he now lives.
     JOHN HARMON came from Pennsylvania in 1806, with his family, consisting of his wife - Dorothy Gift - and five children.  He settled  on section twenty-five, where he died about 1834, his wife surviving him a few years.  Their children were: John, who was an early settler in Salt Creek township; Catharine who married Abraham Martz; Jacob, Samuel,  and George, former residents of this township.  Samuel was killed in 1819, at the raising of the log house of George Liest  a log rolling on him.  George Harmon, who occupied the homestead after the death of his father, married Elizabeth Surface.  He died in May, 1853, aged sixty-three years; and his wife in April, 1876, eighty years of age.  They had but two children - twin daughters - who are still living, viz.: Mary, widow of Joseph Mills, in Williams county, and Elizabeth, widow of Obediah Gessells, who died July 15, 1874.  Mrs. Gessells occupies the place on which her grandfather settled in 1806.
     ANDREW LEIST moved into the township about this time, and purchased of his brother, David, the southwest quarter of section twenty-three, which David had entered the year before.  Andrew died here in 1851.  He was the father of twelve children, three of whom died young.  Four are now living.  John A. and Amos A. are among the leading farmers of this township, and the other two live in Wyandot county.

     WILLIAM BOWMAN and family arrived from Shenandoah county, Virginia, in 1810, and lived for five years in the northwest part of Fairfield county.  At the expiration of that time he came to Pickaway county and purchased, in Washington township, the farm now occupied by Ezekiel Morris then occupied by Conrad Pontius.  He died here, October 16, 1823.  He was the father of fourteen children, six of whom are living.  Joseph, who lives in Walnut, aged seventy-six, made a trip to New Orleans, from Circleville, in 1823, on a flat boat.  The boat was fourteen feet wide and about seventy feet long, and was in charge of Barnard Prebble.
     HENRY DREISBACH came from Pennsylvania with his brothers in 1811, being then seventeen years old, and made his home with his brother Martin, in Ross county.  He learned the carpenter's trade of Joseph FOUST.  On Aug. 30, 1817, he married Mary STAUFFER, and settled where his son, Edward, now lives, in section twenty-four, Washington township.  He died in 1875.  Mrs. DREISBACH died in 1850.  They had ten children, of whom four are living.
     LEONARD WARNER, from Berks county, Pennsylvania, settled where Silas YOUNG now lives, northeast quarter of section fourteen, 1812.  About fifteen years after his settlement there, he died.  There are six of the children now living: Jonathan and Andrew, in this township; Jacob and Henry, in Indiana, and Mrs. CHRISTY and Mrs. DUMM, in Clear township, Fairfield county.
     GEORGE WERTMAN came to Ohio from Pennsylvania, in 1814, with his step-father, Andrew Hines, and his family, who settled in Clear Creek, Fairfield county.  WERTMAN was then a lad of some ten years of age.  He learned the trade of potter, serving an apprenticeship of five yeas, but he never followed his business to any extent.  The first purchase of land made by him was in Madison township.  This he sold, two years afterward, and then came to Washington and rented, for a few years, the farm which he subsequently bought, and on which he still resides.  In 1827, he married Susanna LEIST, daughter of David LEIST.  She died in 1873.  Mr. WERTMAN is now aged seventy four.
     GEORGE HEISE came from Pennsylvania, in 1818, driving the team of Mahlon YETTER and family, who settled where the late John PARKS resided.  Mr. HEISE was then in his eighteenth year, and went to work by the month.  In April, 1821, he married Betsey Hane, and continued to work around until 1833, when he purchased one hundred acres in the southeast quarter of section three, where he has since resided.  His old log house, which he first began housekeeping in, on the banks of Hargus creek is still standing.  His first wife only lived about two years after their marriage, and he married, May 20, 1826, Sarah Smith, by whom he has had twelve children, six boys and six girls, of whom eight are living.  Mr. Heise is now in his seventy ninth year, and Mrs. Heise in her seventy-fourth.
     THOMAS WELLS, a native of Maryland, came to Pickaway county, in 1818.  In 1820 he was united in marriage to Margaret Fulk, and settled on a farm in the northeast part of the township, which still remains in the family.  He died at the residence of Jonas Shellhammer, in East Ringgold, aged nearly eighty-eight.  He had four children, three of whom are living.  Martin Wells, who married a daughter of Bethuel Anderson, lives in Washington; and Isaac, and Mrs. Jonas Shellhammer in Walnut township.
     This same year, GEORGE MYERS and family emigrated to Ohio, from Berks county, Pennsylvania, and settled in Fairfield county.  A daughter, Anna, became the wife of John Stout, who came to Fairfield with his parents at an early date.  They were married in 1820, and after living for a short time in Fairfield, removed to Washington, where Mrs. Stout still lives.  A portion of the log house into which they moved so long ago, is still standing near her present brick residence.  Mr. Stout died in 1864.  He was the father of thirteen children, of whom ten survive, but are widely scattered.  John and his family live with his mother on the old homestead.
     FRANCIS DEDO was the first settler where Peter Hoffman now lives. His cabin- a double log - stood on the hill near the road, just west of where Mr. Hoffman's residence now stands.  He finally sold to Peter Moyer, and removed to Sandusky.
     JOHN CLARK was the first settler in section two, and his location was where R. HUFFER now lives.  Henry SACKREIDER was an early settler in section one, living near the county line.
     GEORGE WISE settled at an early date where the widow of Andrew LEIST, now lives, and finally removed from the township.  A man by the name of Apple first lived where Isaac STOUT now lives.
     JOHN GRAY, a native of Philadelphia, with his wife and one child, removed to Muskingum county, Ohio, in 1825.  In 1829 he came to this county, settling in Walnut township, on one hundred and twelve acres, in the southwest part of the township.  In 1847 he sold out, and purchased and settled in the northeast quarter of section two, Washington township.  Mr. King and his wife now reside with their son-in-law, Daniel Haas.


     The first school attended by the children of the pioneers of Washington township, was kept in Clear Creek township, Fairfield county, by a teacher by the name of Hump.  The school-house was a very rude structure, with stick chimney and fireplace, the back of which was made of hard-heads.  The first school within the township was kept in the old cabin of George Hoffman, and Samuel Gensell was one of the earliest teachers.  The cabin was afterwards moved about a mile and a half farther west, and fitted up for a school-house.  A school was kept, at an early date, in a log house on the farm then owned by Jacob Greenough.  A man by the name of Horn taught the first school.  In 1835 or 1836 the township was divided into six school districts, the same that it now contains.


     Religious meetings were held in the township several years before any church organization was effected.  Meetings were held at an early date in the log barn of George Hoffman, in section fourteen.  The first church organized was a German Reformed and Lutheran society, called Zion's church.  It was formed in 1808 or 1809, by a preacher by the name of Foster.  He continued to preach for some time, and was followed by Jacob Leist who officiated as its minister for about fifty years.  Since Mr. Leist, Revs. Messrs, Gost, Martin, Herring, and Shuman have preached for the society.  The first meeting house was built soon after the church was organized.  It was a two story log house, but was afterwards torn down and rebuilt as one-story.    


     of the Evangelical Association, was organized, as nearly as can be ascertained, about fifty years ago.  They held their meetings at the house of John Moyer and at other dwellings, until the erection of a church building, in 1849 or 1850.  It was a frame, and stood a little south of the present brick church, which was erected, in 1870, at a cost of something over thirty-one hundred dollars.  Among the earliest preachers of the church were Charles Hammer and Joseph Long.  The present pastor is C. M. Reineholt, and A. Evans, his assistant.  The church has a Sabbath-school, under the superintendency of Edward Dreisbach.


     was organized about the year 1830, at the house of Daniel Pontius, and the meetings were held there for a number of years.  The church building was erected in 1848.  The question of its location excited some interest among the members, who were about equally divided on two proposed sites, the one chosen, and one in the west part of the township, on the farm now owned by the widow Barnhart.  The matter was decided by the vote of the chairman of the meeting called to consider it.  The ground on which the church was built was donated by Daniel Pontius.  Peter Johnson was the first class leader, which position is now filled by Wesley Leist.  The membership is now about thirty.


     in the south part of the township, known as the Morris church, was organized in about 1842, with seventy-five members.  The organization was the result of an extensive revival held in the church just before its completion, during the labors of Rev. William Fisher, who was then on the circuit.  A class of about a dozen members, in another portion of the township, called the Arnhart class, soon after united with it.  The church now numbers about forty members.  Rev. George Devens is pastor, and John S. Morris, leader.


     This class was the first formed in 1838 or '39 at the house of John May, who then lived on the farm now owned by Jacob Martin, Rev. William McCabe officiating in its organization.  The meetings were first held at Mr. May's and subsequently at the Evangelical church, on the south line of Walnut township, until the erection of Bethany church, in the winter of 1874.  The building cost about fourteen hundred dollars, and was dedicated by Bishop Weaver.  The present membership of the society is about twenty-seven, with Jacob Markwood as leader.  The pastor is Rev. Mr. Waggoner.


     The first burying ground in the township was the Zion's church graveyard, laid out as early as 1809.  The first burial in it was that of a child of Andrew Leist.  There are now four other cemeteries in the township, one in connection with each church.





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