Adams County, Ohio History
Bratton township lies in the central north part of the county bordering Highland. It was organized by the Board of County Commissioners 04 Sep 1887 from territory cut off the west side of Franklin Township and was named in honor of John Bratton, an old and respected citizen of the township.
The surface is undulating and hilly, with deep and narrow valleys formed by erosion of numerous small streams that flow into the East Fork of Ohio Brush Creek. This beautiful stream rises from the "Three Forks" on the northern limit of the township and flows in a deep channel south across it, uniting with the West Fork at Newport in Meigs Township. On its upper course and within sight of the "Three Forks" is the Great Serpent Mound, a description of which will be found under another chapter. The valley along the East Fork is narrow but very fertile, and the top hills along its middle and lower courses contain a fine quality of iron ore.
John Shepherd, a brother of Abraham Shepherd, of Eagle Creek, who represented Adams County in the State Senate several terms, was among the first settlers of this township. He located in 1801 on the East Fork, on lands recently owned by Peter Andrews. "Shepherd's Crossing" of Brush Creek is on the trace made by John Shepherd from Orr's Ferry, below Aberdeen, to his settlement on the East Fork. Following Shepherd, came William Armstrong, who settled on the East Fork above the present village of Loudon in 1802; and about this date, Benjamin, Joseph and John West came from Pennsylvania and settled on lands bought in the Abraham Shepherd survey on upper East Fork. These Wests were relatives of Benjamin West, the celebrated painter. Samuel Shoemaker, Jacob Wisecup, Adam Keller and Michael Beaver were among the early settlers.
Loudon, near the Great Serpent Mound, is a little hamlet that was begun about Lovett's store in 1839. It was never regularly laid out, but E. G. Lovett sold small parcels of land for residences and shops to suit the convenience of purchasers. The place was called Loudon because that portion of the township was settled by families from Loudon County VA. The post office is named Lovett's and was established in 1844 with E. G. Lovett as postmaster.
Marble Furnace. There was built up about the old Marble Furnace a little settlement of mechanics, tradesmen, and furnace men, which became known as the village of Marble Furnace, and was a flourishing place in early days; but after the abandonment of the furnace in 1834, the village rapidly declined, and now nothing remains but a few buildings and a mill. Marble Furnace post office was established here in 1822. It is now discontinued.
Louisville. This was laid out by Dr. John Gustin 03 Dec 1838 on a plat of eleven acres of land, divided into forty lots. Lacey Peyton started the first store in the village. A post office was established named Gustin, with James McAdow as postmaster. It has long since been annulled, and the village site turned into farm lands.
Methodist Episcopal at Louisville, Dunkard at Marble Furnace, Methodist Episcopal at Loudon and Dunkard at May Hill.
It is said that the first school in this township was taught in 1815 by an old teacher named Vinsonhaler, in a house belonging to James Trimble, afterwards Governor of Ohio, on lands recently owned by Alfred Fulton. But this is questionable, as Samuel McCollister taught in the Brush Creek settlements as early as 1809. There are at present nine sub-districts with an enrollment in the present year of 337 pupils distributed as follows:
Rescue of John and Katy Davis from the Indians
Just above old Marble Furnace was once the site of an Indian village, and here after the whites had settled in this vicinity and along Ohio Brush Creek, Indian families would come and camp to hunt and fish. While Thomas Davis, who resided on Brush Creek just above the Fristoe Bridge, was away from home, an Indian squaw stole John and Katy Davis, two of his small children, and carried them to the camp on East Fork. The mother of the children gave the alarm, the squaw was followed to the camp, and the children were rescued.
Jacob Wise and the Bear
In the cliff on the Sommer's farm near Marble Furnace in 1801, Jacob Wise discovered two cub bears in a den in the rocks. Fearing an attack from the mother, Wise got old Peter Platter to help secure the cubs. When Wise went into the den after the cubs, and while securing them, the old she-bear rushed past Platter and started in after Wise. Platter seized her by the hinder parts and held her until Wise crawled out at an opening in the side of the den. He and Platter then attacked the old bear and killed her, securing the cubs for pets. These soon grew so large and became so unruly that they had to be killed.
From A HISTORY OF ADAMS COUNTY, OHIO
from its earliest settlement to the present time including character sketches of the prominent persons identified with the first century of the county's growth and containing numerous engravings and illustrations
Nelson W. Evans and Emmons B. Stivers [1900, West Union OH]