The broad acres, rich
with their store of waving wheat or rustling corn, the large number
of substantial, and, often, luxuriant homes, and the general air of
thrift to be seen in almost every portion of the township, have
nothing to remind the chance visitant of the dangers and hardships
which the first settlers here, the brave pioneers, peacefully
sleeping, many of them, upon the domain which they cultivated, were
called upon to endure.
The surface of this township is a level plain, except
along its principal stream, where it is broken, or rolling.
The soil, principally clay, is better adapted to the growing of corn
than other grains though wheat is largely grown, and is a profitable
The only stream of importance in importance is that
from which the township derives its name. This enters at the
northwest corner, flowing a short distance northeast; its course
then changes to a general southeast direction, to near the center of
the township, where it assumes a nearly due south course, flowing
across the south line of the township, at a point nearly central,
east and west. This stream affords several mill sites.
Other small streams, tributary to Deer creek, are found in the
township, among which may be mentioned Hay run, on the east, and
Yellow Bud creek, on the west. These streams are, however,
Deer Creek township is situated on the extreme southern
boundary of Pickaway county. Its territory is a part of the
Virginia military lands, and its boundaries are as follows: On
the north, the township of Jackson and Monroe; south, Deerfield
township, Ross county; east, Wayne township, and west, Perry
The following is prepared
from personal interviews. The writer has endeavored to give,
in the course of this history, the name of each pioneer, or early
settler. Many will be found in that portion devoted to
organization and churches, and when reliable data could be had, he
has given to each brief biographical notices. Following are
the names, in part, of pioneers who have no living representatives
in the township; the date of their coming was near the dawning of
the present century: Samuel WILSON (who was generally known
as the "old powdermaker"), Samuel HANSON, Michael WOLFE, Andrew
TAYLOR, Homer STARBILL (who was, it is thought, the first
blacksmith in the township), John ENGLISH, Bartholomew BAKER
and two sons - Joseph and Martin - (who were
preachers, rough in their oratory, yet effective withal), and
William SCOTT. There are, without doubt, others whose
names are worthy of mention, but are not remembered.
The numerous representatives of the RECTOR
family, now residents of Deer Creek township, sprang from a Virginia
ancestry. Edward RECTOR was born in Fauquier county,
Virginia, in 1786. When eight years of age his father died,
leaving a widow and five children, of whom Edward was the
eldest. In the fall of 1798 the family moved to the Northwest
Territory. The mother and the four youngest children made the
trip from Wheeling to Portsmouth in a flat-boat. Edward,
then but twelve years of age, followed a blazed trail (CLARK
and LEWIS) to Chillicothe, riding one horse and leading
another. At Chillicothe, the family occupied one of the three
cabins at that time constituting this village. In the spring
of 1799, the family moved on to a farm near the mouth of Deer creek.
Edward RECTOR married, in December, 1809, Miss Peggy BROWN,
and, in the following spring, located on the farm now owned by
William BENNETT. Here he remained until 1823, when he
moved on to the Yellow Bud farm, still occupied by his heirs.
By his first wife, who died in 1839, eight children were born.
His second wife was Miss Sophronia H. BLODGETT, by whom seven
children were born, two only of whom are now living. Edward
RRCTOR died August 11, 1876. His widow still survives him,
residing, at this time, with a daughter (Mrs. BOLIN) in
Circleville. Henry Rector married Elizabeth
HOTSENPILER, and settled on the farm now owned by Cyrus
COURTRIGHT, on Yellow Bud creek. On this place he died,
April 15, 1854. In 1861 his widow was killed by a runaway
horse. The children of this couple numbered six. Of
these, but one - Amos - now resides in Deer Creek township.
John R. Rector married Miranda Wiggins, and located on the farm now
owned by George Bennett, on Yellow Bud creek. Ten children
were born by the first wife, who died, and he married Miss Sue
McCOY. John R. RECTOR died
14, 1878 Dec. 14, 1877. (date penciled in).
These were truly pioneers; the advance guard of the brave band who
have made the "wilderness to blossom as the rose." Their
coming "was in the twilight of the first century of our republic."
was born in 1771, near Moorfield, Virginia. In 1793 he married
Dorothy PHEBUS, and the following year removed, by flat-boat,
down the Kanawha, to Herodsburg, Kentucky, where he remained until
1798; he then came to Ohio. The first two years he lived at,
or near, what is now called the Frybeck property, on the plains, and
not far from the "Logan elm." In 1800, he purchased, of
Colonel EVANS, and others, the farm in Deer Creek township, now
occupied by his heirs. Here he became a farmer, and engaged
extensively in stock raising, and dealing. He died on February
11, 1843. Mrs. ALKIRE survived him some years, dying
May 11, 1854, aged eighty-two years. The children, three of
whom were born prior to removal to Ohio, are: John M.,
Nimrod, Sarah, Nancy, who was born in 1803, was among the first
births in the township; married Captain E. HALSTED, and is
now deceased; William M. who married Mary ALKIRE, and
lives in Deer Creek township; Catharine, Ruanna, James M.,
and Alexander, who are deceased; and Benjamin F.,
who has been twice married, and is a widower, and now lives on the
home farm, of which he owns over four hundred acres.
SIMON MICHAEL and
ISAAC HORNBECK, came from Bath county, Kentucky, to Ohio, not
far from the year 1800. They were natives of Virginia.
Many descendants of these brothers now live in this township.
DAVIS YATES came
from Culpepper county, Virginia, to Ohio, locating in Point Creek,
in Ross county, about the year 1800. Here he married
Christina EDMISTON. About 1896, he removed to Deer Creek
township, and located permanently on the farm now owned by his son,
John. Mr. YATES was connected with the manufacturing
interests of the township from its infancy. He died March 31,
1840. Mrs. YATES survived him several years, dying
early in August, 1855. The children were: Thomas
LOVELL, who married Susanna SAUNDERS, and was recently
living in California; John, who married Betsey BLUE;
Reason, who married Hannah EDMISTON; Nancy, who
married Joseph SAUNDERS; Elizabeth, who married David
BUTLER; David, who married Nancy EDMISTON, (these are
deceased); Mary A., who married Arthur WHITESIDE, is
widowed, and now resides at New Holland; Emily, who married
William RECTOR, and is deceased; Joshua O., who
married Catharine WHITESIDE. The two last reside near
MOSES COLVIN, of
Kentucky, settled on the farm now occupied by Jacob J. Myers,
in about 1800, and upon this he passed the remaining years of his
SAMUEL PHEBUS, two brothers, from near Dorchester, Maryland,
settled in Deer Creek township in 1801. They lived
continuously in Deer Creek until their death. A large family
of children were left, none of whom now reside in the township.
GEORGE ATER, who
was a soldier in the Revolution, and disabled while in the service,
resided near Fredericktown, Virginia; here his wife died, and, in
teh spring of 1799, he came to Ohio, settling in Deer Creek
township, on the farm now owned by J. R, RECTOR. The
members of Mr. ATER's family, who came at this time, were:
Abraham, who married Charity EVELAND, in Virginia;
Isaac, who married Elizabeth SMITH; Catharine, who
married Oswell THOMPSON; Jacob, who married Nancy SOLLARS;
Polly, who married James SMITH; George, who
married Elizabeth WATTS; Samuel, who married
Margaret HINES; Thomas, who married Eliza BROWN,
and William, who married Margaret COLSON.
Numerous descendants of this family are now residents of Deer Creek
JOHN BAKER, whose
place of nativity was near Providence, Rhode Island, came to Ohio in
1799, settling on the bank of the Scioto river, on Evan's prairie.
In about 1801, he located permanently in Deerfield, Ross county,
Ohio, where he died in 1841. His wife survived him some
fifteen years. In this family were seven children, two of
whom, Joseph and William, settled in Deer Creek
township. The former remained here some fifteen years, and
removed to Pike county, Illinois. William married
Sarah JACKSON, and, after a residence of fifteen years upon the
farm now occupied by his son, John, removed to Deerfield,
where he died, about the year 1865. Mrs. BAKER died a
year previous. They left but two children: John,
who married Mary Parker, and lives on the old farm, and Peter,
who married Harriet HARRINGTON, and now lives in Kansas.
from Bourbon county, Kentucky, settled in Deer Creek township, in
1803. here the mother died, soon after. Mr. DAVISON
died in August, 1827, aged seventy-seven years. He was a
soldier of the Revolution, an Indian-fighter on the "dark and bloody
ground" of Kentucky, and an intrepid hunter in the backwoods of
Ohio. He was opposed to slavery, and came to Ohio that he
might not witness its evil effects. There were seven children
in the family, four of whom are now living: Robert, now
living in Darke county; John, who lives in Washington county,
Iowa; Lydia (Mrs. CUMBERFORD), and William, who
married Rachel ATER, and lives on the old homestead.
JAMES SMITH came
from near Alexandria, Virginia, to Ross county, in 1799. In
1804 he removed to Deer Creek township, living in different
locations until 1811, when he purchased a farm, now owned by a son,
Mr. SMITH engaged in farming, which he prosecuted
successfully the remainder of his life. He died October 16,
1831. Mr. SMITH survived him many years. The date
of her deceased was April 26, 1872. Their children numbered
seven. Of these, Pency, Elizabeth, Maria, Phebe and
Margaret, are deceased. Alexander remains on the
old homestead, consisting of two hundred and sixty acres.
James married Rebecca MARSH, and lives in Ross county.
JOHN, GEORGE, CHARLES
and THOMAS WOOD, brothers, originally from near Harpers
Ferry, Virginia, came to Ohio in about 1805. John and
George settled in Chillicothe, where they engaged in
merchandising, and amassed comfortable fortunes; they are now
deceased. Charles and Thomas settled in Franklin
county, where they passed the residue of their lives.
Thomas married Elizabeth RAMSEY, by whom five children
were born; three are yet living - Mary, who lives in
Illinois; George, who married Hannah E., INGHAM, and
resides in Deer Creek township (the owner of sixteen hundred acres
of land), and LEWIS, who is now in the mines of
Colorado. During the war of 1812, Thomas WOOD acted as
a spy, carried the mails and did various duties connected with the
army requiring great bravery. He was quite celebrated as a
hunter in the early days.
married Polly VOSS. He was a native of Maryland, and
died there. His widow, with three children, came to Deer
Creek, early in its settlement, where she died many years since.
Of the children, Henry, the eldest, settled in Ross county;
Nancy married, and is now deceased; and Margaret, who
married William ATER, still resides in Deer Creek.
Josiah REEVES, from near Culpepper Court House, Virginia,
emigrated to Deer Creek township in 1808, where he reared a numerous
family, none of whom now reside in the township.
Ebenezer DAVIS, who
lived on the west branch of the Potomac river, in Virginia,
emigrated to Ohio in 1813, arriving in Deer Creek township in
November of that year. During the first years of his
settlement he lived on the farm now owned by George WOOD.
In 1817 he removed to Williamsport village, and opened a hotel,
the second one in the township. Mr. DAVIS became quite
prominent in public affairs. In 1848 he removed to Indiana,
where he died two years later. Mrs. Davis died in 1846.
The family consisted of ten children, but three of whom are now
living - Sarah (Mrs. DOUGLAS), who now lives near Danville,
Illinois; Ebenezer S., who married Sedalia McFARLAND,
and lives in Williamsport, where he has been postmaster since 1835;
and Margaret, who married John L. BARNS, and lives in
Washington, Fayette County, Ohio.
came from Ulster county, New York, to Deer Creek in 1815, and
located on land now owned by Cyrus COURTRIGHT, where he died,
June 10, 1828, leaving a wife and one child. The latter became
the wife of John W. WIGGINS. Mrs. TERWILLIGER
subsequently became the wife of Jeremiah BROWN, esq., and is
reached Deer Creek the year following his brother's arrival.
His selection of land was also on Yellow Bud Creek, where he
accumulated a fine property, owning, at the time of his death, one
thousand acres of land. He died March 23, 1858, and his wife,
Mary, died in 1868. One child was born prior to coming
to Ohio - Eliza, now the wife of Isaac HALSTEAD, of
Indiana. The following children were born in Ohio:
Abram, Sarah, Jacob, David, Catharine, John and Lewis,
all of whom are living except Sarah, who died in Michigan.
James ROSE, also
from Ulster county, arrived in Deer Creek in June, 1818, where he
spent his remaining years, dying September 6, 1861. Mr.
ROSE was thrice married. The children, all born of the
first marriage, were six in number - Levi, James, Sarah,
Jonathan, Peter, who was quite a public man, serving as State
representative, etc., and Abraham - three of whom are now
HENRY GROVE was
born in Virginia, married there, and soon after the close of the war
of 1812 settled in Ross county, near the southern line of Deer Creek
township. He died in Franklin county. There were six
children in the family - John, who married Hannah LACKEY,
and died on the farm still occupied by his widow; Henry,
Polly, William, Abraham, and Sarah, all deceased.
JOHN LACKEY, who
was a captain in the war of the Revolution, came to Ross county,
where both himself and wife died. The children were:
Reason, Thoams, Ira (deceased), Hannah (Mrs. Grove),
Richard, Sanford, Anna (Mrs. J. HENLEY), Maria (Mrs. John
RITCHEY), and Susan (Mrs. Kennell).
GEORGE BENNETT, a
native of Winchester, Virginia, married Margaret PERRILL, of
the same place. Three children were born there - John
(deceased), Elizabetn (Mrs. Philip FORESMAN), and James,
who married Matilda RENICK, October 14, 1848. His
children are George, Mary, and John, and live in Deer
Creek. In 1820 George BENNETT, removed with his family
to Ohio making his first halt in Chillicothe, where he remained
until 1825, when he located permanently on the farm now owned by his
son, William, where he engaged in the stock business, in
which he continued actively during the remainder of his life.
He died May 31, 1858, and his wife soon followed, dying Dec. 31st of
the same year. The children born in Ohio are: William,
who occupies the old farm, Rebecca (deceased), and Helen
(Mrs. F. W. RENICK). James and William have
farms of nearly twelve hundred acres each.
The writer has met with
very indifferent success in his search for data from which to
prepare items for this topic. Among the first deaths in Deer
Creek township, was the wife of Edward DAVISON, which event
occurred soon after the family settled in the township, in 1803.
The body was interred in the Christian burying-ground at
Williamsport. In the fall of 1813 John REDIN suffered
death by his own hand. His body was rescued from the flames of
his cabin, which he had fired previous to taking his life, and his
remains were interred in the Christian cemetery. The beautiful
cemetery on the west side of Deer creek, near Williamsport,
was first occupied in 1875. George GORDY's remains were
the first buried there.
A post-office was
established in Williamsport in the year 1816. John WILLIAMS
was commissioned postmaster, but he soon resigned, and was succeeded
by Ebenezer DAVIS, who in turn, gave way to Ebenezer S.
DAVIS, esq., the present incumbent. The pioneer store was
opened by a man named FORESMAN, in 1815, in a small building
on Water street, yet standing, and now owned by A. D. RADCLIFF,
This store closed in perhaps one year, and the village was without a
store until 1822, when Joseph G. Dodridge began the mercantile
business. The present merchants are: Wesley DAVIS, M.
S. LEIBY, John HENSON and Dr. G. W. HURST, drugs;
Thomas HENSON, groceries; John R. WILKINSON, tinware.
The first orchard in the township was planted by P. H. Baker,
as early as 1810, on lands now in about the center of Williamsport
village. George REID also planted an orchard about he
same time. Many of these trees are now standing upon the lands
of E. S. Davis, esq., within the limits of the village.
The pioneer hotel was kept by John WILSON. It was
located in Williamsport. Ebenezer DAVIS afterwards kept
a house of entertainment for a series of years. John
HARMOUNT is the host of the only hotel now in the township.
This is situated in Williamsport village.
It is impossible, at this
time, to ascertain the exact date when Deer Creek was erected a
township. It was, however, prior to the formation of Pickaway
county, and while this territory was attached to Ross county.
The earliest record of an election now extant is as follows:
"At an election held at the house of Jesse FIZGERALD, in Deer
Creek township, on the first Monday in April, 1816, John TIMMONS,
John TEVERBAUGH, and Jacob FUNK, were chosen judges, and
Thomas WILLIAMS and Jonah RUST, clerks of said
election." Following is a list of the officers elected:
Thomas WILLIAMS, John TEVERBAUGH, and John TIMMONS,
trustees; David YATES, clerk; James BURBRIDGE,
treasurer; Simon and Jesse HORNBECK, overseers of the
poor; John MOTTESTER and David CRABILL, fence-viewers;
John RUST, lister; William G. CANTRILL and Andrew
MOTTER, constables; Benjamin FREEMAN, Charles HAYS, William
B. BALEY, Jesse FITZGERALD, Christopher CARDIFF, and
Moses COLOM, supervisors. Among the first justices of the
peace were David YATES, Isaac CADE, and Alexander ROWEN.
On March 3, 1817, the following persons were chosen grand jurors:
Isaac HORNBECK, James BURBRIDGE, Benson GOLDSBERRY, William B.
BAILEY, James DAVIS, Joseph HAYS, Thomas CRABILL, Edward RECTOR,
Jeremiah BROWN, William BAKER, George ALKIRE, and Alexander
ROWEN; and the following, who are designated as travis
jurors: William BURBRIDGE, Simon HORNBECK, Andrew MOTTER,
Peter BROWN, John LITTLETON, Peter MOUSER, John MILLS, John MATTOX,
Jesse HAYS, and Moses COLVIN. Of all these names,
none are dead, and some, perhaps, living in other localities, while
but few have descendants in the township.
The township officers for 1879 are: William
BENNETT, William C. ATER, and George BETTS, trustees:
Dr. George W. HURST, clerk; Dr. T. F. WHITE,
treasurer; A. McGATH, assessor; Thomas SWEETMAN and
James K. WALSTON, constables; and Jacob BAUGHMAN and
Henry McGATH, justices of the peace.