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.
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
"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
"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
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
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
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
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
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,
PICKAWAY COUNTY INFIRMARY
THE FIRST ROAD
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
ST. PAUL'S CHURCH
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
THE PONTIUS UNITED BRETHREN CHURCH
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.
THE UNITED BRETHREN CHURCH
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.
BETHANY UNITED BRETHREN CHURCH
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.
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.
WASHINGTON TWP. >