Adams County, Ohio History
Meigs Township was formed at the December session of the Board of County Commissioners in 1806, and was named for Return Jonathan Meigs, the second Governor of Ohio. The elections were ordered to be held at the house of Peter Wickerham who then conducted a tavern in the present brick residence of Jacob Wickerham at Palestine.
The surface in the west is undulating with here and there comparatively level tracts of poor white oak land. In the east and southeast it is rough and hilly, and in places mountainous, as southeast of the old Steam Furnace and in the vicinity of Mineral Springs. Here are some of the most elevated knobs in the county. The soil varies from the rich alluvial bottoms of Ohio Brush Creek and its tributaries to the barren shales of the slate and sandstone capped knobs. The ferruginous soil of the cliff limestone stratum is very productive, as also the covelands in the marl stratum.
Jacksonville, on the Limestone and Chillicothe turnpike at the top of Brush Creek hill, was laid out by William Thomas in 1815, and named in honor of "Old Hickory:, then the military hero of the country. A post office was established there about the above date with James Dunbar as Postmaster. The post office was discontinued in 1827, but afterward re-established and called Dunbarton. The village is now rapidly declining in population and commercial importance from its proximity to the new town of Peebles, on the CP&V; railroad.
Newport, at the junction of the west Fork and the East Fork of Ohio Brush Creek, was laid out by James Kirkpatrick in 1819. At that time, the Marble Furnace, a few miles from Newport, was flourishing and the post office for the locality was located there. In 1869, a post office named Wilson, in honor of Honorable John T. Wilson, then in Congress from Adams County, was established at Newport with William R. Rogers as Postmaster. The commercial importance of the village has improved with the building of the CP&V; railroad.
Mineral Springs is a post office and health resort in the southeastern portion of the township, four miles from Mineral Springs Station on the CP&V railroad. A post office was established here in 1872 with B. Salisbury as Postmaster.
Peebles, in the north part of the township on the Cincinnati, Portsmouth and Virginia Railroad, sprang up with the completion of this railroad through Meigs Township, in 1881. It was named at the suggestion of N.W. Evans, for John G. Peebles, of Portsmouth, who subscribed liberally toward the completion of the railroad from Winchester to Portsmouth. It is now one of the thriving, bustling villages of the county, with a population of about 1,000 inhabitants (1900).
The village school at Peebles is the largest in the township. The enumeration for the present year is: Males, 107, Females, 122. There are four departments sustained and the schools are in a flourishing condition. There are fourteen subdistricts in the township with the following enumeration of pupils:
These celebrated Springs are situated nineteen miles north from Rome (on the Ohio River), and four miles south from Mineral Springs Station on the Cincinnati, Portsmouth and Virginia railroad, in a delightful valley, and flow from the base of a mountain surrounded by scenery the most picturesque and beautiful.
The chemical analysis of these waters show them to be very highly charged with gas, and to contain 205.35 grains of solids to the gallon. These are composed of chloride of magnesia, sulfate of lime, carbonate of lime, chloride of calcium, chloride of sodium, oxide of iron and iodine.
There is a large and commodious hotel with hot and cold baths, and numerous rustic cottages for the accommodation of guests. These springs afford a sequestered retreat to those seeking respite from the cares of business, or in need of the refreshing influence of mountain scenery and climate. The buildings are located with a view to the health and comfort of visitors, at the base of Peach Mountain or "Grassy Hill", which casts a shadow over them at four o'clock in the evening, making the nights cool and pleasant, so that when it is too warm to sleep elsewhere, the tired and careworn can enjoy a refreshing night's rest at this resort.
There is a beautiful chapel on the grounds for the churchgoing guests, and a commodious amusement hall for the entertainment of those seeking diversion in bowling, billiards, dancing and such recreation.
There are telegraph and telephone connections with the hotel. The present proprietor, S.R. Grimes, a scion of one of the prominent pioneer families of Adams County, is a most affable and accommodating host.
In the vicinity of the Sproull Bridge over Ohio Brush Creek in this township was the pioneer home of Peter Shoemaker, a brother of Simon Shoemaker, a pioneer, also of that vicinity. In the summer of 1796, a daughter of Peter Shoemaker's was stolen by a band of Indians and carried away to their village on the Little Miami in the vicinity of the present town of Xenia. In after years, this daughter, who had grown up and married an Indian, was discovered by some whites and returned to her kindred on Brush Creek, where she afterwards married and reared a family.
Another version of this incident states that Peter Shoemaker was shot in his cabin door by the Indians, and his wife and two children were made captives. The wife becoming fatigued carrying her infant boy, she was tomahawked, and the child seized by the ankles and its brains dashed out against a tree. the girl was adopted by an Indian family and grew up and married an Indian by whom she had a girl child. She was afterwards discovered and returned to her relatives on Brush Creek.
After investigating all the known facts, it is concluded that the captivity of the Shoemaker children must have occurred before the family came to the Northwest Territory, for Peter Shoemaker, of Brush Creek, died in 1809, and left a will in Adams County. His wife may have been the girl captured by the Indians; but if so, it did not occur in Adams County, for he settled on Brush Creek in 1796. Or, it is probable that the version of the incident is true that his daughter was captured in 1796, on Brush Creek and that she afterward returned and married Samuel Bradford in 1811. It is at least certain that the individual in question was not captured on Brush Creek in 1796, when a girl, then returned to her relatives and married to Peter Shoemaker, by whom she had a daughter who became the wife of Samuel Bradford in 1811, and who after his death, married Colonel S.R. Wood.
U.S. Mail Robbed
In May 1827, in the palmy days of the old stage coach line from Maysville to Chillicothe, the mail was robbed between West Union and Sinking Springs. As the bag was never recovered, it was supposed that it had been thrown into Ohio Brush Creek after being rifled of its contents. Suspicion pointed to a prominent resident of Jacksonville as being concerned in the robbery, and who fled the country, and William McColm, then postmaster at West Union, offered a reward of fifty dollars for his apprehension and confinement in any jail in the United States so that he might be brought to answer to the charge. The robber was never apprehended.
Anecdote of an Old Stage Driver
David Bradford, who immortalized his name during the scourge of Asiatic cholera in west Union, was one of the daredevil jehus who drove a stage coach from Maysville to Chillicothe before the days of canals and railroads in this region. The Fristoe Hill at the crossing of Ohio Brush Creek was the longest and steepest on the route, and was considered then a very dangerous place of descent with a loaded coach or wagon.
On one occasion, when there had been a heavy fall of sleet and the road was covered with a thick coat of ice, people in the vicinity wondered how Dave Bradford would get down Brush Creek Hill; and when finally he dismounted from the box at the village post office at Jacksonville, he was admonished of the great risk of attempting to descent the hill with his coach. But David seemed little concerned about the matter; however, it was observed that his drinks of "old double distilled" were larger than usual, and that at his departure, he had taken an extra "bumper" with Matt Bradney, who had come to town the night before and was "weatherbound" at the village tavern. But the "bumper" with Bradney meant more than a nerve stimulant to Bradford. it was the seal of a solemn vow to Bradney that he would not again permit his negro, "Black Joe" Logan, to butt the life out of him as he had nearly done at the Noleman Camp Meeting the summer previous, when Bradney and "Big Dow" Woods had attempted to drive Logan from the camp grounds while he was peaceably caring for Bradford's team and carriage.
So, seating himself on the box of his stage, he cracked his whip and set out on a swinging trot for Brush Creek Hill. On arriving at the point where begins the descent down to the valley of Brush Creek, he halted his team and unhitched it from the coach. Then he hitched a favorite horse to the end of the tongue, and mounting the animal began to ply the whip, and yell like an Indian, making the descent of the long and steep grade without a single mishap; remarking that it was "a damned poor horse that could not outrun a stage coach."
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]