Adams County History & Genealogy

Adams County, Ohio History

Franklin Township

Franklin Township was organized 25 Feb 1828 from territory taken from Meigs Township, and at the time of its organization included what is now Bratton Township. It takes its name from America's wisest patriot, Benjamin Franklin.


The western portion of this township is comparatively level, except bordering the narrow streams which have cut deep furrows in the surface. This section is drained into the East Fork of Ohio Brush Creek. The eastern portion of the township is hilly and in places mountainous, and the soil is poor and unproductive except along the narrow valleys of the streams. This section is drained to the southeastward by the tributaries of the North Fork of Scioto Brush Creek. A large scope of territory in the vicinity of Locust Grove and to the northward of it, at one time in the geological past sunk so as to put the shale and Waverly sandstone in the geological plane of the cliff limestone. Hence, shale and sandstone outcrops in the channels of the tributaries of Crooked Creek, while a short distance to the eastward, these strata occupy a plane from one hundred and fifty to two hundred feet higher.


Peter Platter, Peter Wickerham, James Horn, James Boyd, Aaron Freeman, Robert Earl, William Pemberton, William Ogle, George Heller, Jesse Wetherington, John Evans, and John Chapman were among the pioneers of this region. Platter and Wickerham came in 1797 or 1798 and the following year Wickerham opened a tavern at what is now known as Palestine, then on the line of Zane's Trace. Afterwards, James Horn, who lived a mile north of Wickerham's on the Trace, opened a tavern where a public house was kept for many years. Wickerham built the first brick house in this region in 1805. It is now used as a dwelling by one of his descendants.


Locust Grove is the only village in the township. Curtis Cannon in 1805 kept a tavern on the site of the residence of the late Jesse Kendall. He also carried on a tannery, the first in this region. Afterwards, in 1830, his son, Urban W. Cannon, built a hotel and planted a grove of locusts opposite the hotel recently conducted by D.S. Eylar, where he had a flourishing trade in the days of the old stage coach line from Maysville to Chillicothe, In 1835, he laid out a town about the site of his hotel, which he named Locust Grove, and a post office was established bearing the same name.


The first church organized in this township was the old Covenanter at Palestine, a history of which we give below from the pen of Rev. W.M. Glasgow, of Beaver Falls PA. The old log house stood on the old Wickarham farm, now belonging to the heirs of Stephen Reynolds. It was afterwards removed to Palestine and used for a blacksmith shop. This congregation was known as Brush Creek Church, and originally worshipped on West Fork near the bridge over that stream on the Tranquillity Pike, and opposite the residence of W.O. McCreight.

Brush Creek Reformed Presbyterian Congregation

The Reformed Presbyterian, or Scotch Covenanter Church, is the lineal descendant and true representative of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland in her purest days. This church has never been guilty of schism, but holds tenaciously to all the attainments of that historic body. Because the Covenanters held to the Word of God, and to the belief that it taught the "moral personality and accountability of nations to God", thousands of these pious Christians were martyred in Scotland in the Seventeenth Century under the bloody house of the Stewarts. Many were banished to the Colonies, and others found a welcome asylum on these American shores. The first society was formed near Harrisburg PA in 1720. In 1743, led by the Reverend Alexander Craighead, they renewed their ancient covenants; and, with uplifted swords, declared their civil and ecclesiastical independence of Great Britain. In 1774, they received an organization as a distinct body of Christians in this country, and have come down to the present day as the sole church of the Scottish Reformation.

Locust Grove Methodist Episcopal Church

This church was organized about 1825. The first class was composed of Jacob Newland, Anna Newland, Peter Andrews, Margaret Pemberton, Cornelius Kane, David Newman, William Hamilton, Elizabeth Thomas, and Catharine Tener. Meetings were held at the house of Jacob Tener until 1828 when a long house was erected. In 1854, a frame building was erected at the Grove.


Locust Grove F.& A.M. was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Ohio at Toledo 17 Oct 1866. Charter members: James A. Murphy, W. M; David Thomas, S.W.; D.S. Eylar, J.W.; Jesse Kendall, Treasurer; Newton Richards, Sec.; J.W. Tarlton, S.D.; Isaac Earl, J.D.; T.S.F. Collins, Tiler; J.R. Copeland and W.C. Elliot, Stewards; Silas E. Parker, George W. Reddick, James T. Holliday.


The village school of Locust Grove in which two instructors are employed has the following enrollment: Males 31, females 34. The sub-districts are as follows:



As late as 1820, bears, catamounts, wolves and wild cats were plentiful in this region. One day in the autumn of 1817, the children of Peter Platter, while playing about their home discovered a large catamount closely eyeing them from a branch of a tree in the door yard. The older ones gave the alarm and James Horn was sent for, who shot the ferocious animal, and upon inspection pronounced it one of the largest of its kind.

There is yet standing in this township the old log cabin in which Colonel John A. Cockerill, the "Drummer Boy of Shiloh", and afterwards managing editor of the New York World, was born. And almost within sight of the old Cockerill home is that of the ancestors of Whitelaw Reid, editor of the New York Tribune.

Massie's Springs

It was in this township that General Nathaniel Massie, in 1802, built the health resort known as Massie's Springs, at the sulfur spring which yet bears his name. The place was expected to rival the celebrated resort in his native state of Virginia, but his expectations were never realized and now all traces of the former buildings are obliterated.

Merson's Tavern

On the old Trace north of Locust Grove in pioneer days stood a huge long building known as Mershon's Tavern. When Dr. Cuming traveled over the Trace from Limestone to Wheeling in 1807, he stopped overnight at Mershon's and in his notes comments on the fiddling talent of the landlord's sons, and their entertainment of guests with music. He also mentions the fact that at Cannon's Tavern "the stage coach sleeps on its way from Limestone to Chillicothe."

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]