Adams County, Ohio History
Tiffin Township was organized in 1806, and was named in honor of Edward Tiffin, Ohio's first (and one of her wisest) Governors.
Joseph Eyler built the first cabin in this township where he afterwards made his home near Killinstown, in the winter of 1795. The Eyler farm of 300 acres is now owned by John Crawford, Samuel McFeeters and Sandy Craigmile. When Reverend James B. Finley passed over Tod's Trace from Limestone to Chillicothe with his father's cattle and negroes in 1796, he noted the fact that there was a cabin near where the town of West Union now stands, built by Mr. Oiler, but no one lived in it. Daniel Collier, about this time, selected a site for his future home on one of the most beautiful terraces along Ohio Brush Creek, known to this day as the "Collier Farm". Just below him on the creek was Duncan McKenzie. Andrew Ellison took up his residence on Lick Fork near the old stone house which he built in 1798, where the town of Waterford was laid out. Richard Harrison, about the same time, located at Waterford and kept a tavern there. John Treber built a cabin in 1796 a half-mile farther down Lick Fork where the old tavern building yet stands, and Peter Shoemaker, Simon Shoemaker, John Shepherd and Thomas Davis located nearby on Ohio Brush Creek. Job Dinning, John Killin, Jacob Piatt, James Ralston, and Adam Hempleman located in the vicinity of Killinstown. Simon Fields settled farther east on Brush Creek, George Harper and James Collins, James January and Robert McClanahan located near West Union.
Being diversified with hill and dale, rivulet and creek, ridge and plane, the township has within it some of the richest and some of the poorest lands in the county. The soil, highly impregnated with iron on the red ridges, is fertile. The marl flats are thin soils, and the bald marl hillsides are barren. The sugar tree coves and the bottom loams along the streams are very fertile.
Ohio Brush Creek, a beautiful little river, forms the northeastern and eastern boundary of the township. Lick Fork is its longest tributary in the township. It rises at a spring near West Union and flows northeast, uniting with Ohio Brush Creek at the Sproull Bridge. Beasley's Fork also takes its source from a spring in West Union, flows southeast and unites with Ohio Brush Creek opposite the Nathan Foster farm in Green Township. A branch of the East Fork of Eagle Creek rises in the western part of the township and flows south along its western border.
Among the early churches of the county, the Baptist organization on Soldier's Run should have due notice. This church was organized at the house of James Carson in June 1802, by Reverend Thomas Ellrod, with the following named membership: James Carson, Elizabeth Carson, David Thomas, Patrick Killen, Nathaniel Foster, Priscilla Lovejoy and Eve Ellrod. For years, the meetings were held at Carson's or at Osman's Schoolhouse. In 1836, a frame meeting house was erected on a lot purchased from Abraham Newkirk.
The pastors of the church have been: Thomas Ellrod, John Harover, Jacob Layman, David Spohn, Hiram Burnett, Lyman Whitney, David Vance, Hugh Kelley, Henry Dinkleman, and Frances Fear. Of the early deacons, there were: James Carson, Nathaniel Foster, John Hamilton, Samuel Mason, F.C. Fear, Alpheus Humble and John Osman. Clerks were: David Briggs, Bartholomew Anderson, William F. James, William Parks and F.C. Fear. The old church building has long since been abandoned, and the organization united with West Union congregation.
The Christian, or "New Light" Church, known as Oak Grove, about three miles from West Union, in the northwestern part of the township, was organized by Elders Davidson, Garroutte and Pangburn in 1867, with the following membership: Hester Lowe, Sarah Postlewaite, Margaret Russell, Elizabeth Howland, Jonathan Postlewaite, Huldah Lewis, Levi C. Howland, Andrew Gillespie, Sarah Russell, Sarah L. Gillespie and Matilda Billiter.
The society from which Stone Chapel was nearly contemporaneous with that at Moore's on Scioto Brush Creek. In 1797, Joseph Moore organized a class in Methodism at Isaac Wamsley's on Ohio Brush Creek with Simon Fields as leader. The first meeting house, constructed from logs in 1802, was known as Fields'; it was afterwards known as Burkett's, and later (upon the erection of the present structure) Stone Chapel. There is a graveyard here, but owning to a thick ledge of stone lying near the surface of the ground, it is not used much as a place of burial. This church is on the West Union and Cedar Mills turnpike, about five miles to the east of West Union, and two miles from the crossing of Ohio Brush Creek. It is built of dressed limestone and is in a very good state of preservation.
Satterfield's Chapel is on the Cedar Mills pike, about four miles east of West Union. It is a Christian Union organization, and the church building (a comfortable frame edifice) was erected in 1875 by Wesley Satterfield, a wealthy farmer of that vicinity. Archie Craigmile, Van R. McCarty, John B. Denning, John Steele, Asbury Beard and their wives formed the first organization in 1868 at Compton's schoolhouse.
The township has nine sub-districts and one Village Special:
West Union, the present county seat of Adams County, was established by act of the Legislature 13 Apr 1803. The act named Isaac Davis, John Evans and James Menary as Commissioners to select a site for the new seat of Justice. They were required to make their report in duplicate: one to the Speaker of the Senate, Nathaniel Massie, and one to the Court of Common Pleas, which latter were prohibited from expending any more money for public buildings until the seat of justice should be permanently located.
January 16, 1804, the Commissioners having made their report, recommending a site about one-half mile south of Zane's Trace, on lands owned by Robert McClanahan, and near the central portion of the county, an act was passed to locate the county seat there permanently. The act provided for the purchase of the lands of McClanahan and others adjoining to an amount not exceeding 150 acres at eight dollars per acre, by the Associate Judges of the county, and to be paid out of the county treasury on their order. The title to said lands was to be vested in a Board of Trustees composed of Nathaniel Beasley, William Marshall, Salathiel Sparks, Aaron Moore, Benjamin Wood, William Collings and John Briggs. This board was required to appoint a Clerk and surveyor, and to proceed to lay off lots with convenient streets for the new town to be named West Union, and to make and record a plat of the same. Notice of the sale of lots was required to be published for thirty days in the Scioto Gazette, of Chillicothe. The county commissioners were empowered to dispose of county property at Washington. When the number of lot owners reached thirty, they were required to meet and elect a new Board of Trustees to succeed the board appointed by the act. Members of the Board were elected annually thereafter.
The town proper stands upon one hundred acres purchased from Robert McClanahan for $760. What is known as Harper's Addition consisted of five acres north of Mulberry Street, for which was paid the sum of one dollar. Priscilla Anderson sold five acres adjoining McClanahan's for $40, so that the original plat of West Union cost $801. It sold at the public sale of lots for $2,985.
From the record book kept by the Board, we glean the following:
Monday, March 19, 1804. Trustees chose William Collings, Clerk, and Nathaniel Beasley, Surveyor.
Tuesday, March 20. The trustees met at 9:00 a.m. and proceeded to survey and stake off the inlots until 6:00 p.m., and then adjourned.
Wednesday, March 21. Trustees met at 9:30 a.m. and proceeded to survey and stake off the inlots until 12:30 p.m., and then adjourned.
Friday, March 30. Appeared A. Moore, B. Wood, N. Beasley, S. Sparks, William Marshall and William Collings, 10:30 a.m. and employed Robert McClanahan to assist them and then proceeded to survey and stake off the inlots until 5:30 p.m., and then adjourned.
Saturday, March 31, 1804. Trustees met at 9:00 a.m. and proceeded to lay out and stake off inlots until 5:30 p.m., in which time Henry Rape came and made application for the house [log house that stood near the springs where the public well is, on Main Street] that is on said lots, and the said Trustees gave their obligation to keep said Rape in peaceable possession of said house from the ninth day of April next until the first day of the sale of said lots, in consideration of said Rape giving his obligation to said Trustees for eight dollars payable the first day of May next.
Monday, April 30, 1804. Appeared A. Moore, B. Wood, N. Beasley, S. Sparks, J. Briggs, and William Collings at 1:00 p.m., and proceeded to survey and stake off the inlots until 6:00 p.m., and delivered a plat of the town of West Union unto Joseph Darlinton, Recorder for the County of Adams, and then adjourned.
Friday, May 1, 1804. Appeared B. Wood, J. Briggs, N. Beasley, S. Sparks and William Collings at 8:30 a.m. and proceeded to survey and stake off the outlots until 6:00 p.m., and then adjourned. (There were 111 inlots and 20 outlots on the plat.)
Thursday, May 17, 1804. Trustees of the town of West Union met in said town for the purpose of selling the lots in said town at public sale, and chose John Lodwick to vendue said sale, who sold as follows, viz.:
|1||Thomas Nicholson||$15||11||David Bradford||$32|
|2||Clairburn Fox||18||12||John Little||28|
|3||Clairburn Fox||31||13||John Armstrong||27|
|4||Peter Schultz||43||14||John Briggs||28|
|5||Peter Schultz||36||15||John Brown||20|
|6||Leonard Cole||34||16||John Brown||20|
|7||Jesse Eastburn||29||17||John Brown||23|
|8||William Robertson||23||18||David Bradford||33|
|9||Benjamin Wood||30||19||David Bradford||20|
|10||David Bradford||38||20||John Brown||25|
|1||Isaac Foster||$6||57||Joseph Darlington||18|
|2||Joseph Lovejoy||6||58||Joseph Darlinton||18|
|3||James Anderson||6||59||James Chambers||20|
|4||William Morison||8||60||Alexander Meek||30|
|5||Daniel Robbins||6||61||Jesse Eastburn||46|
|6||Elijah Rinker||7||62||Jacob Sample||54|
|10||David Decamp||6||66||Thomas James||87|
|11||David Decamp||5||67||Reserved for Jail|
|12||David Edie||4||68||John Kincaid||56|
|13||Joseph Beam||4||69||Thomas Kirker||27|
|14||John Shirley||6||70||Job Denning||9|
|15||John Briggs||7||71||Robert Anderson||8|
|16||John Briggs||13||72||Edward McLoughlin||12|
|17||John Davidson||15||73||William Robertson||35|
|18||Paul Larsh||18||74||James Chambers||41|
|19||Andrew Ellison||14||75||David Bradford||50|
|20||Andrew Ellison||10||76||Leonard Cole||50|
|23||Peter Shultz||31||79||Elijah Rinker||78|
|24||Peter Shultz||31||80||John Brown||43|
|25||John Shirley||9||81||John Rodgers||40|
|26||John Shirley||11||82||John Brown||27|
|27||John Killin||6||83||Aquilla Smith||17|
|28||Jacob Treber||5||84||Joseph Darlinton||17|
|29||Josiah Wade||6||85||Job Denning||4|
|30||Charles Larsh||7||86||Lydia Roberts||10|
|31||John Killin||25||87||James McComas||14|
|32||Enoch Ogle||22||88||Arthur McFarland||20|
|33||William Armstrong||23||89||Joseph Curry||20|
|34||William Armstrong||27||90||John Brown||55|
|35||Peter Shultz||31||91||Clairborne Fox||40|
|36||Benjamin Wood||27||92||Elijah Walden||37|
|37||Leonard Cole||45||93||Arthur McFarland||36|
|38||William Steen||40||94||Benjamin Wood||30|
|39||John Rodgers||45||95||Isaac Earl||5|
|40||Thomas Mason||25||96||Enoch Ogle||5|
|41||W. Hannah||9||97||Jacob Treber||6|
|43||Paul Larsh||11||99||Isaac Foster||9|
|44||Leonard Cole||27||100||Isaac Foster||10|
|45||Henry Rape||70||101||Joseph Lovejoy||4|
|47||William Collings||65||103||Thomas Palmer||8|
|48||John Armstrong||63||104||George Harper||8|
|49||Benjamin Wood||61||105||Aaron Moore||7|
|50||Leonard Cole||56||106||James Williams||22|
|51||Johnston Armstrong||63||107||Bartholomew Anderson||21|
|52||John S. Little||67||108||S. Sparks||11|
|53||Thomas Nicholson||37||109||Thomas Kincaid||7|
|54||Peter Grant||37||110||Josiah Wade||6|
|55||Jacob Treber||17||111||Josiah Wade||6|
Saturday, May 19, 1804. Trustees met and took up obligations and gave certificates to purchasers. Certificates were given John Brown for lots purchased by Claiburn Fox. All lots are laid off north and south, east by west, six poles by nine poles (99 feet by 148.5 feet), except lot No. 14 is four poles at the south end, and five at the north end and nine poles long. Lot No 15 is five poles at the south end and six poles at the north end. Lot No. 85 is six poles by four and one-quarter poles. All streets running through the inlots and outlots are four poles wide. The street between the inlots and outlots is three poles wide, and lots are twenty-three poles long and fourteen poles wide except lot No. 1 is fifteen and two-thirds poles at the south end, and fourteen and one-half poles long. Lot No. 14 is fourteen and two-thirds poles at the north end and sixteen and one-half poles at the south end and twenty-three long. No. 15 is sixteen and one-half poles at the north end and seventeen and two-thirds at the south end and twenty-six poles long. No. 8 is nine and seven-eighths poles at the north end and eight and one-quarter poles at the south end and twenty-three poles long. And Nos. 16, 17, 18 and 19 are twenty-six poles long. The street on the north side of town is three poles wide; and on the east and west of the inlots the streets are one and one-half poles wide, and on the east, west and south of the outlots, the streets are two poles wide.
30 Apr 1804.
Trustees of the Town of West Union.
State of Ohio Adams County ss.
I do certify that this day within the named John Briggs, Benjamin Wood, Salathiel Sparks, William Collings and Aaron Moore personally appeared before the subscriber, a Justice of the Peace in and for the county aforesaid and acknowledged the within plat of West Union and their signing the same to be their voluntary act and deed for the purposes therein laid down.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this thirtieth day of April in the year of our Lord 1804.
In conformity to the act entitled "An Act to establish the Permanent Seat of Justice in the County of Adams", we the undersigned do reserve the following inlots in the town of West Union for the following purposes, to wit: Lots No. 63, 64, 77 and 78 for a Courthouse, etc. No. 67 for a Public Jail, and No. 46 for a Public Spring and Schoolhouse. Given under our hands this sixteenth day of May 1804.
Associate Judges of Adams County.
Henry Rape built the first house, a hewed log building, on lot 45. He was a hatter and in his house he lived and made hats for many years. A room ten by twelve, in this house, William Armstrong used for a store until he erected the building known as the Mullen Corner in 1810, southwest corner of Main and Cross Streets. On the northeast corner of Main and Market Streets, William Russell, afterwards Congressman from Adams District, built a two-story log house and opened a small store in 1806. The same year John Hood opened a store in a large hewed log building belonging to Peter Shultz on the northwest corner of the old mill lot. Mr. Hood afterwards erected a building on the southeast corner of Main and Cross Streets.
The Old Bradford Tavern, northeast corner of Main and Cherry Streets, since known as the Marlatt House, Crawford House and Downing House, was erected by David Bradford, who had kept a tavern at Washington while the county seat (1806) and was opened to the public in 1807. It is a historic old hostelry, having sheltered President Jackson, Thomas Benton, Henry Clay, General Santa Anna, and hosts of lesser lights in the days of the old stage line from Maysville to Chillicothe, and on to Washington City.
Wood's Tavern, southeast corner of Main and Market Streets, was opened in 1807 also. The house was built by John Lodwick, and use by him as a private residence from 1804 to 1807. In later years, Edmund Browning kept there "Browning's Inn at the sign of the Goddess of Liberty".
The Bell Tavern, on Main Street west of the Public Spring, was kept by John Hayslip for many years in the early days of West Union and was a popular hostelry for the old settlers Fourth of July banquets.
The first tannery in West Union was operated by Peter Shultz in 1805. It was on the old mill lot.
The first tinshop opened in West Union was in 1820 by Daniel Boyle.
The oldest lodge in West Union, and the parent Masonic Lodge of Adams County, is West Union Lodge, No 43, F. and A.M., whose charter was granted by the Grand Lodge at Columbus, Ohio, 15 Jan 1820. The charter members were: Abraham Hollingsworth, W.M.; Samuel Treat, S.W.; John Kincaid, J. W.; John Fisher, Secretary; James Ross, George Bryan and Aaron Wilson.
In a recent communication to the West Union Scion, the venerable David Dunbar, of Manchester, states some interesting facts with reference to the Masonic lodge at West Union which should be preserved for future generations. It was a like spirit of political prejudice and religious bigotry that prevented the location of the Western Theological Seminary from being located in West Union, because it was argued that the Presbyterians, who were then Jeffersonian Democrats, were conspiring with Andrew Jackson to overthrow the government of the United States. General Jackson was then in 1825 chairman of the Board of Commissioners, selected by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church to locate the above-named seminary in the district composed of Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Indiana, and he and the Honorable John Thompson, of Chillicothe, and Dr. Blackburn, of Lexington KY, a majority of the committee, favored West Union. But the radicals and fanatics of the community would not have it for the reasons named. And unfortunately for West Union, it failed to secure, years afterwards, the site of a state institution -- the Asylum for the Insane, now at Athens -- because the Virginia blood of Adams County's member of the Legislature at the time chilled at the thought of having "the crazy people" of the State domiciled in "Old Adams". Mr. Dunbar says:
Following the abduction and Death of Morgan, excitement was intense, and soon it had extended to all parts of the country. So strong, too, was the feeling engendered, that for a time the system of national government seemed imperiled. A new, and in some states very powerful, political party was formed, its general object being to war against secret societies, especially Masons, and more specifically still to prevent the election of Masons to public office. The most absurd and ridiculous reports of the secret work and conduct of Masons were circulated and found ready belief. The strife invaded and divided churches, communities were disturbed by angry disputes between neighbors, and friends became embittered against friends.
It was during these memorable times that I was living in West Union, the place of my birth, and though a youth of scarcely more than ten years of age, I was a deeply interested observer and student of the situation. The excitement in West Union rose to a high pitch, and soon involved all conditions of society -- religious, political and social -- in the tempest of passion and out of which soon were formed two antagonistic parties, Masonic and Anti-Masonic. Each party had its newspaper, the Anti-Masonic being published by my brother-in-law, David Murray, with Reverend Dyer Burgess as assistant, while the Masonic organ was issued by a gentleman named Patterson, who, I think, came from Clermont County.
Here it was that I received my first impression and formed my first conclusions regarding Ancient Craft Masonry, and young as I was, I perceived that the better citizens within and around the town were either Masons or in sympathy with their cause. I give here the names of some of them that I recollect: Abraham Hollingsworth, William Allen, Daniel P. Wilkins, James Roff, John Kincaid, Adam McGovney, Thomas Thoroman, Reverend William Page, John McDaid, Robert McDaid, Nicholas Burwell, Wesley Lee. It was after observing men like these stood firmly together on the question then being agitated that I resolved if I should reach the age of manhood, and be found worthy, I would become a Mason.
As I now remember, the last work done in West Union Lodge after the fierce opposition to the Order overspread the country was about 1831, and about 1835, the persecution became so intensely hostile that the lodge surrendered its charter and jewels. In consequence of this action, no lodge work was done until 1846. During this interval, I had grown to manhood, and in the year 1845, trusting that I had the necessary qualifications, I petitioned Confidence Lodge No. 52 of Maysville KY, and was found worthy of membership. My reason for petitioning a Kentucky lodge was that there was none working in my own state jurisdiction nearer than Cincinnati. Consequently, I received the Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master degrees, as before stated, in Confidence Lodge, of Maysville. By this time a number of others of the younger men of the vicinity had elsewhere received the degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry and they, with some of the elder brethren, whose names I have just recited, met (in June 1846) in what is now known as the Old Bank Building to take steps to repossess the surrendered lodge charter and jewels, in order that work might be resumed. Among those were the following: Isaac Foster, M.V. Cooper, D. W. Stableton, Henry Y. Copple, John C. Scott, Benjamin Bowman, William Adams, Edward Townley, David Dunbar and Benjamin Pinney. Of these I am now the only one living. Other meetings were held monthly until October, when the lodge charter and jewels were restored, upon which, having received a dimit from Confidence Lodge, I became a member.
After resumption of regular work by West Union lodge, the first candidate to be initiated was I.H. DeBruin, and following his admission, I remember the names of these: William M. Meek, James N. Hook, Joseph F. Eylar, James Sparks, Abner Sparks and Oliver Sparks.
I remained affiliated with West Union Lodge No. 43 for thirteen years, at the expiration of which time Manchester Lodge No. 317 was instituted (1859) and I became a charter member and have been identified with it ever since.
In 1871, I received the Royal Arch Chapter degrees in Manchester Chapter No. 129, and in 1873 was invested with the order of the Red Cross, Knights Templar and Knights of Malta degrees in Cavalry Commandery No. 13, of Portsmouth, but am now a member of Maysville Commandery No. 10.
I presume I am the oldest Mason within Adams County, and although the infirmities of age creep on apace, my zeal for our ancient and honorable institution has not abated.
This being written solely from memory may contain mistakes, which would not be remarkable considering the lapse of years, but it is in the main correct.
West Union Lodge, No. 510, I.O.O.F., was instituted on the evening of 11 Jun 1874. The charter members were: J.W. Eyler, William Hood, J.W. Bunn, L.P. Stivers, F.J. Miller and E.R. Wells.
Crystal Lodge, no. 114, K. of P., was instituted 12 Jun 1878 with the following charter members: C.E. Irwin, F.D. Bayless, John A. Eylar, J.H. Connor, Willis Ellison, W.F. Kilpatrick, G.F. Thomas, John W. Hook, S.N. Bradford, M.R. Brittingham, W.F. Lloyd, A.E. McCormick, C. Frederick Mair, Olivers Smeltzer and Frank Hayslip. F.D. Bayliss was P.C. and first representative; John Hook, C.C.; G. F. Thomas, V.C.; John A. Eylar, Prelate; W.F. Lloyd, M. of F.; J.H. Connor, M. of E.; Frank Hayslip, K. of R. and S.; C.E. Irwin, M.A.; Oliver Smeltzer, I.G.; and Willis Ellison, O.G.
The oldest church organization in West Union is the Presbyterian. This church was formerly organized on East Fork of Eagle Creek by Reverend John Dunlevy and Reverend Richard McNemar about the year 1800. The great Shaker revival in Kentucky had its effect here, and finally resulted in the expulsion of Dunlevy from the Eagle Creek Congregation, whereupon he joined the Shakers in Warren County in 1805. About this date, Reverend William Williamson, who was then in the vicinity of Cabin Creek KY, held occasional services with the remnant of the Eagle Creek Congregation.
In 1809, a movement was set on foot to build a church house in West Union. The congregation was weakened from dissensions and divisions, many members having joined the Cherry Fork Church, and had only been held together by the patient care of Joseph Darlinton, William Marshall, and James Baird, ruling elders. A subscription list headed by Thomas Kirker, Joseph Darlinton and Joseph Nelson, was circulated and enough subscribers in labor, linen, cattle, wheat and cash to warrant the letting of the present contract for the church building. It was to be a stone structure, the present building in the main, and Thomas Metcalf, afterwards Governor of Kentucky, was awarded the contract for the stone work, all materials to be on the ground, at $250, 26 May 1810.
Hamilton Dunbar had the contract for the carpenter work, and Job Denning the contract for hauling the stone from the quarry to the ground where they were to be used.
The Methodist Episcopal Church had its nucleus of a congregation formed at the residence of Peter Shultz in 1807, by Reverend John Collins of the Scioto Circuit. The members of the first class were William Russell, leader, Mrs. Russell, William Armstrong and wife, Peter Shultz and wife, Mary Rape, Mary Woodward, Mrs. Nancy Cole and Mrs. Hannah Hood. It was at the house of Peter Shultz that Reverend James B. Finley, who had been known as the "New Market Devil", attempted to preach one of his first sermons.
In 1819, the present site of the church was secured, and in 1820 a brick building was erected on it. In 1868, it was removed and the present brick edifice erected. Reverend Greenbery R. Jones, while Presiding Elder, built the frame house on Main Street near the public well, recently occupied by Mrs. Stewart, where he resided for several years.
The Baptist Church, at the house of William Mahaffey, northwest of West Union, was organized in 1833 by Elder J. Layman. The society struggled along until 1846, when a building was erected in West Union. This was destroyed by the great tornado of May 1860, and in 1861, the present structure at the west end of Main Street was erected.
The Christian Union Church's organization was formed directly following the Civil War, when dissensions in the Methodist Church over politics brought about the organization of the Christian Union Society. The Christian Union Church building is a neat frame located at the northwest corner of Mulberry and Market Streets. The leading spirits in the organization of this church in West Union were General J. R. Cockerill, John K. Billings, Dr. F.J. Miller and John Laughridge. The church was dedicated 01 Mar 1869 by Reverend A.S. Biddison, editor of the Christian Witness, Columbus OH.
The famous West Union band was organized 18 Mar 1850 by Professor R.P. Robbins, with the following named members: David B. Graham, Eb clarinet; James R. Oldson, Eb clarinet; James Moore, Bb clarinet; Samuel Burwell, cornet; Joseph W. Hayslip, valve post horn; Henry Woodrow, Bb bugle; Joseph Killin, valve trumpet; Thomas N. Allen, tenor trombone; W.W. Killin, bass trombone; Dr. W.C. Hayslip, ophicleide; Henry Ousler, bass drum and cymbals. Professor Robbins is at this writing at Cairo IL. While in West Union, he boarded at the Marlatt Hotel, a famous hostelry a half century ago.
Political Censor - The first newspaper printed in Adams County was the Political Censor, a small sheet issued from an old Ramage press by James FInley, at West Union, in 1815. The office was in the Uriah Upp property.
The Village Register, the next newspaper, was first issued in 1823 by Vorheese and Wood. It was afterwards controlled by Beasley and Murray, and called The Register and Advocate. Its last issue was in 1831, the office then being in the lower story of the house where Caroline Worstell now resides on Mulberry Street. Files of this paper are now well-preserved in the possession of O.E. Hood, of West Union, whose father when eleven years of age entered the Register office as an apprentice under the publishers Nashee and Bailhatchee.
The Courier of Liberty, an Anti-Masonic organ, was printed by a "Yankee" named Jacob Crapsey from 1831 to 1833, when, for the lack of patronage, it expired. Crapsey taught school at Manchester and read law in West Union, from which place he went to Cincinnati to practice in the legal profession.
The West Union Register, Jacksonian Democrat, succeeded the Courier, and was edited by the first real live newspaper man in the county, George Menary, a brother of the celebrated Samuel Menary, of The Ohio Statesman. Menary left West Union and went to Clermont County in 1835, where he published a newspaper.
The Free Press was published a short time from the Courier office as an Anti-Masonic and Whig newspaper by Jackman and Carl. In 1835, the material was sold to James H. Smith, then County Recorder, who published it as a Whig advocate until 1839.
The Adams County Democrat was first issued in 1844 by Lewis A. Patterson. Then it was controlled by Joseph P. Patterson and W. N. Clarke, who in turn were succeeded by Judge John M. Smith, father of Joseph P. Smith, who made the paper one of the most radical Democratic organs in the state. R.P. Brown succeeded Judge Smith in 1849 and continued the publication until 1860.
The Democratic Union was issued in 1860 by T.J. Mullen and J. K. Billings in opposition to The Adams County Democrat. In 1861, John P. Patterson became proprietor, who was succeeded in 1863 by John A. Cockerill and S.E. Pearson. This was the beginning of the brilliant newspaper career of John A. Cockerill. William K. Billings succeeded Cockerill in 1865, when shortly thereafter the paper suspended.
The Scion first made its appearance 17 Feb 1853 as The Scion of Temperance, Samuel Burwell, editor and proprietor. In May 1865, the name was changed to The West Union Scion, which it still retains. It is the oldest newspaper published in the county, and its venerable editor and proprietor is the oldest newspaper man in the state. The Scion is Republican in politics, and has the largest circulation of any newspaper in the county except, perhaps, The Defender.
The People's Defender was first issued on Friday, 16 Jan 1866, by Joseph W. Eyler, now of the News-Democrat, Georgetown OH. The Defender is a radical Democratic organ and is ably edited by Edward A. Crawford, who succeeded Mr. Eyler in 1890. It has a very large circulation and its editorials are quoted by the Democratic press throughout Southern Ohio.
The Adams County New Era was issued by a joint-stock company of disgruntled Republicans in opposition to the Scion in 1877, with C.E. Irwin, editor. Irwin was an "importation" and came heralded as the destroyer of the Scion and the modern Moses of the Republican party in Adams County. He was a forceful writer, but bitter and resentful, and he sadly failed in his mission, dying from diseased incurred through worry and disappointment in 1887. The New Era is now conducted by Samuel E. Davidson, and is Republican in politics.
The present public school system was inaugurated by adopting the "Akron Law" in 1856. A vote to adopt the provisions of that act gave twenty-seven majority, Old Dodge Darlinton (one of the fossil clogs of the wheels of progress in West Union), leading the opposition. John M. Smith, J.R. Cockerill, J.W. Lafferty, E.P. Evans, Henry Ousler and J. P. Hood constituted the first Board of Directors. A two-story brick building of four rooms was erected on the site of the present commodious building, at a cost of $2,500.
The present building was erected in 1886. The present enrollment is 158 white males, 162 white females; 2 colored males and 3 colored females. Number of teachers employed is 5.
Previous to the inauguration of the graded schools under the Akron Law, the village of West Union, with contiguous territory, was divided into two school districts. One of the schoolhouses was a log structure and stood south of the old Presbyterian Church. The other schoolhouse was brick, now the residence of Mrs. Lina Lawler on North Cherry Street.
Honorable John T. Wilson, of Tranquility, left a bequest of $5,000 to the Commissioners of Adams County to erect a monument at West Union in memory of the soldiers of Adams County who were killed or died in the War of the Rebellion. County Commissioners Philip Hughes, Robert Collins and Thomas Shelton, on 10 Jun 1892, let the contract for the erection of said monument to Staniland, Merkle and Staniland, of Dayton OH. The monument complete to be 10 feet four inches square at the base, and 50 feet five inches in height, containing 904 cubic feet, to be completed by September 1892. However, a strike in the granite quarries in the East prevented the completing of the work until 10 Jun 1893. The monument stands on the right of the front entrance to the grounds of the Wilson Children's Home, a very poor location, being overshadowed by the massive and imposing Home building.
The monument was unveiled 10 Jun 1893 in the presence of more than 10,000 of the citizens of Adams County. Judge D. C. W. Loudon, of Georgetown OH, Colonel of the 70th Regiment, was chairman at the meeting, and Judge Samuel F. Hunt, one of the most polished orators of the state, delivered the address. Colonel John A. Cockerill, known as the "Drummer Boy of Shiloh", a native of Adams County, and a son of Colonel J. R. Cockerill, who organized the 70th Regiment OVI, was present and at the conclusion of Judge Hunt's address unveiled the monument.
In the parade preceding the address and unveiling ceremonies, were 60 white-haired Adams County veterans of the War.
The donor, the Honorable John T. Wilson, was Captain of Company E, 70th Regiment, under Colonel J.R. Cockerill.
Jacob Treber's Bear Hunt. About the year 1799, Jacob Treber, son of John Treber, had an experience he did not forget during his long life. One morning in winter, after a heavy snow fall, he found the fresh tracks of a full grown bear. They led up the hollow to the north of his father's house. He followed them a short distance and returned for an axe and a gun. Then he returned to the trail of the bear. It led to the cabin of a neighbor named Simms, who with axe and gun followed it. They tracked the bear to the mouth of a cavern in a hillside two miles north of the Treber tavern. Young Treber tried General Putman's device of smoking the bear out, but it would not answer. Then he determined to follow the bear into the cavern. Simms undertook to dissuade him, but it was useless. Treber made a block of wood and cut a cup or depression in it. This he filled with grease from a small box in the side of the gun-stock where it was carried and used for greasing bullet patches, and took part of his shirt to make a wick for his improvised lamp. When his torch was completed, he entered the cavern. He could distinguish the eyes of the bear and fired at them. He then made for the entrance and in the narrow passage, a bear crashed by him and almost squeezed the life out of him. The bear got out first, however, only to meet its death from Simm's gun on the outside. When Treber got out, he felt convinced that the bear Simms killed was the mate of the one he had shot. He entered the cavern a second time and found his bear dead. The problem was to get the bear out. Treber tried to pull it out, but it was too large and heavy. Treber tried to roll it over and force it through the passage, but the body got fast in that place and with Treber behind it in the cavern. With main strength, he pulled it back and went out to devise a new plan. He and Simms cut hickory withes, secured them around the bear's shoulders and pulled it out. Thus, Treber and Simms secured two bears for their morning's sport and the guests of Treber's tavern had bear meat for a number of days.
Bloody Bridge. In 1876, the present wooden bridge over Ohio Brush Creek at Satterfield's on the Rome Pike was erected, and its completion was celebrated with a picnic and dance in the new structure, which then was known as the Forge Dam Bridge. During the day, Simon Osman and his two sons, who resided nearby, and James Easter and his son, also resident of the vicinity, between whose families there had been ill feeling for years, got into a fight in which Simon Osman was stabbed to death by James Easter and he injured for life one of the Osman boys. John Easter, the son, was severely stabbed by one of Osman's sons. There was so much blood spilled in and about this bridge in this conflict between the Osmans and the Easters on that September day that is has ever since been known as "bloody bridge".
Killing of Samuel Greenlee. Partisan politics and its debauching influences caused the killing of Samuel Greenlee by Albert Adamson on the day following the presidential election of 1888. West Union was crowded with Republicans rejoicing over Harrison's victory, and Samuel Greenlee, who had recently before joined their organization, and who had been drinking heavily for some days, was among the jollifiers. Albert Adamson, son of John Adamson, then a leader in the Republican party in the county, had allied himself with the Democratic organization, although a mere lad of sixteen or seventeen years, and he and Greenlee had had some controversy on the day of the election over matters connected with the politics, and Greenlee had been ordered out of the Adamson House, now the Florentine Hotel. About 10:00 on the day of the killing, Greenlee and young Adamson Applied insulting epithets to each other in a crowd of jollifiers near the old Crawford Hotel on Main Street, and as Adamson turned away, walking in the middle of the street east toward the public square, Greenlee followed him, intending to go, as was claimed, across the street to the barber shop then conducted by Sylvanus Edgington, a prominent Republican in local politics. When Greenlee had reached the middle of the street, Adamson turned and fired several shots in quick succession, wounding him mortally. He was helped into Dr. Coleman's office adjoining the Crawford Hotel on Main Street, where he died in a short time. Young Adamson was arrested, indicted and tried for murder, but was cleared of the charge through the efforts of his counsel, chief of whom was Ulric Sloane, then a noted criminal lawyer in southwestern Ohio.
The first settler at West Union was James Collings. He built the log cabin near the fine spring directly in the rear of the present residence of Robert Kincaid, on the old Manchester Road. The residence overlooks Beasley's Fork Valley and the spring is a noble one, but every vestige of the house has disappeared and there has been no house there for more than sixty years. At the time this house was built, his nearest neighbor was General John McClanahan, who reside on the farm of the Pan Handle road formerly occupied by Judge Samuel McClanahan. There was a trace through the forest between the two houses. The trace was indicated by blazes on the trees. James Collings made his settlement directly after the peace with the Indians in 1795. He purchased a tract of four hundred acres of land directly south of West Union, the northern boundary of which is the street just north of the Village Cemetery.
Robert McClanahan took up a track of one hundred acres which embraces the town plat of West Union, lying in the shape of a square, bounded about as follows: the south line was the street north of the cemetery, the western line was through the ally near A.Z. Blair's residence, the north line was North Street and the western line ran on the street in front of Samuel Burwell's residence. Robert McClanahan purchased this tract for $300 of Richard Woods and sold it to the trustees of the town for $750. They sold it in lots for $2,985. He built his log house where now stands Mrs. john Moss's millinery shop, directly west of the public well, which was then a fine spring. General Darlinton built a story and a half log house on the ridge east of the Beasley Fork Turnpike, just above the public watering-trough and across Beasley's Valley from James Collings. General Darlinton owned 700-800 acres of land east of West Union.
Ephraim Cole built a residence near the present Trotter residence on a 140-acre tract of land he purchased from General Darlinton. He also owned 100 acres north of town which he purchased in the Ashmore Survey, from Richard Wood. His deeds are dated 1802.
Salathiel Sparks, grandfather of the present Salathiel Sparks, owned one hundred acres where the new addition to West Union was laid. his residence was the former Thomas Huston residence. Huston was connected with the old West Union Bank, on Cherry Street, just south of the "Lee Corner", and it is said that just before the bank failed, an ox-cart of specie was taken from the old stone vault of the bank to his house and thence to Cincinnati. Ephraim Cole's 100 acres of land lay to the west of Sparks', and between him and George Harper, who had about 75 acres north of the town, now owned by Salathiel Sparks. Harper's residence was on the site of the present Sparks residence.
The nearest settlement of the west was that of General John McClanahan already mentioned. Thus the original proprietors of West Union and vicinity before the town were laid out were: Ephraim Cole, Joseph Darlinton, Salathiel Sparks, George Harper and Robert McClanahan.
Henry Rape purchased the lot on which was built McClanahan's house west of the public well. He occupied it for a hatter's shop and residence for a long time.
Ephriam Cole died about 1833, at the age of 84, in the house not occupied by Jabez Eagle. He was a tall, spare man, and of a taciturn disposition. It is said that he was a widower at the time of his death. The place of his burial was not known, but it is supposed to be in the Collings burying ground or the Village Cemetery.
The Village Cemetery was dedicated in 1834, by deed from Robert Wood and wife to certain persons who had friends buried there before 1834. The spot was used as a cemetery as early as 1816. The first interment was one Miles, who died a stranger, in 1816, in West Union. The deed to the original dedication calls for three-fourths of an acre. Miles was buried near the old gate, where a walnut tree stood for many years. Nicholas Burwell was present at Miles' interment, and gave the account of it to his son, Samuel, who gave it to this writer.
The Lovejoy Graveyard was dedicated in 1840, but it had been occupied for a cemetery long before then.
The house now occupied by William Lafferty, where he conducts his furniture business, was built by the Honorable William Russell, who owned through to the next street south, and included the spring situated in the rear. Mr. Russell built the present frame front of the house and the addition and wing to the south, which was afterward changed by Wesley Lee and remains to this day as Wesley Lee changed it.
The Bradford Hotel, formerly the Marlatt House, was built in 1806 by David Bradford and occupied by him from that date until the day of his death in 1834. After his death, it was occupied by his grandson, Samuel G. Bradford, till about 1840.
The Florentine Hotel was first used as such by David Bradford, Jr., who conducted a hotel there for some ten years, probably from 1836.
The Miller and Bunn Corner was known as the McCollough Corner, and it was occupied as a store room by Samuel McCollough for many years.
The present Mullen Corner was known as the Armstrong Corner. The building was erected by William Armstrong and occupied by him for many years. Satterfield's drug store was originally a stone building and was known as the Hood Corner and there John Hood, the father of James Hood, who was known as "Ahiezer", built the original building and occupied it as a storeroom. William Russell's store stood on the ground now occupied by the east end of W.V. Lafferty's furniture store. The log house built by General Darlinton and overlooking Beasley's Fork Valley was torn down and used to build the east end of his residence on Main Street, east of Dr. Miller's residence.
The Siamese Twins were exhibited in West Union for two or three weeks in the east end of the building just east of Joseph Hayslip's residence.
John Sparks kept a store in the building now occupied as the post office.
An Irishman named McKorkle conducted a small brewery just north of the present jail (where John Clark now resides) in 1820.
Judge Joseph Moore, of Portsmouth, Ohio, helped to build the old stone business house and dwelling in 1814 that stood on the Satterfield Corner where James Hood once sold goods.
About that date, the first "Windsor Chair" maker located in West Union. His name was Thomas Bereman, and he had an apprentice who caused him great annoyance by his "impudent manners" toward his customers. When this apprentice finally ran away from Bereman and the chairmaking business, as was required by law, Bereman offered a reward for his return, which was published in the county newspapers:
Ran away from the subscriber, on the 16th inst., George Welch, an indented apprentice to the Windsor Chair Making and Painting business; twelve years old, light complexion. He had on when he went away a new suit of brown jeans, fur hat and new shirt and shoes; being somewhat better clad than he deserved, or is used for apprentices to be -- very forward and garrulous and impudent. Whoever returns said George, will be coldly treated and receive no thanks; but shall have the above reward without charge. All persons are cautioned about harboring him, as I believe he was persuaded away.
April 23, 1824.
West Union, Ohio
The old town of West Union is the only county seat in the state of Ohio without stream or railroad or electric traction line. Since "time when the memory of man runneth not to the contrary," steam railroads have been building on paper, to West Union, the present "Black Diamond" route being the latest enterprise of the kind.
Smith's Tannery. It is said that the tanyard and leather store of Lewis Smith, in West Union, is the only establishment in Southern Ohio, where raw hides are tanned and dressed under the processes of "the good old days when honest men made honest wares and sold them at honest prices."
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]