Adams County History & Genealogy

Adams County, Ohio History

Monroe Township

This township was organized from territory belonging to Tiffin Township, 23 Jun 1817. It was named in honor of President James Monroe. Its boundaries are: beginning on Brush Creek at the upper corner of William Stout's farm; thence on a line to three mile tree below Kirker Mill; thence on a divide line to Clark's Meeting House; keeping on a direct course to Sprigg Township; being bounded on the west by Sprigg Township line and Island Creek to its mouth; on the south by the Ohio River; and on the east by Brush Creek. The first election was held at the house of Arthur Ellison on 26 July 1817.


John Yochum, whose name appears in the early land records as an assistant to Massie and other surveyors, settled on Gift Ridge in 1795. He cleared the first patch of ground on the Fenton Farm, and while doing so lived under the shelter of two huge rocks which are pointed out to visitors to this day as "Yochum's Hermitage". Following Yochum came the Utts, Wades, Naylors, Washburns, Whaleys and many other of the pioneer families of Adams County.

Zephaniah Wade, an associate of John Yochum in the frontier days, located on Gift Ridge and erected a cabin in the latter part of the year 1795, and there his daughter Christiana, the late Mrs. Trenary, of Manchester, was born 20 Nov 1795. She was probably the first white child born in the county outside the Stockade at Manchester.

Nathaniel Washburn settled at the head of Donalson Creek in 1796, and soon after built a small mill, known as Washburn's Mill for many years. Daniel Sherwood settled at the mouth of Ohio Brush Creek about 1795.

James Hemphill settled on Beasley's Fork in 1797 and it is said cleared the first ground on that stream where Newton Wamsley now lives.

The Grimes family settled at the mouth of Ohio Brush Creek in 1796, where Noble Grimes in 1798 laid out the old town of Washington, for several years the seat of justice of Adams County. Here also were the Stephensons, the Bradfords, the Sherards, Faulkners and many other early pioneer families.


This is the name given to that portion of the highlands of Monroe Township where the first settlers of Manchester located their one hundred acre tracts of land given them by Nathaniel Massie after a residence of two years at Manchester, in accordance with the terms of the agreement made between him and them on 29 Dec 1790. Massie reserved one thousand acres on the high tablelands overlooking the Ohio River about one mile below Wrightsville. Here was built Buckeye Station in 1796.


It is said that the first schoolhouse in the township was on the old Lewis Bible farm and was built in 1802. James Lane was the first teacher. The second one was on the farm of Arthur Ellison, where the first election was held, John Barritt, teacher. The township business for years was transacted here, and hence the name "State House" was applied to it. There are now ten subdistricts with the following enrollment the present year (1900):

No. Males Females   No. Males Females
1 19 15 6 19 28
2 20 20 7 35 32
3 24 24 8 28 19
4 25 20 9 30 21
5 26 19 10 29 25


Wrightsville lies on the right bank of the Ohio River about six miles above Manchester. It was laid out by James Hobson on 22 Apr 1847 on a plat of 144 lots. The situation is pleasant and there is ample room for a city, but the place seems never to have flourished, although it is the nearest shipping point from West Union to the Ohio River.

For many years during the bitter contest between West Union and Manchester over the county seat question, the West Union merchants shipped and received their goods via Wrightsville; and it would have become the permanent depot for West Union merchandise, but for the fact that in the location of the turnpike from West Union to Wrightsville, the Manchester people controlled the engineer and commissioners and succeeded in having the road made over a very long and high hill near Wrightsville which precludes the hauling of full loads over the road. Mules and bicycle riders have discovered what civil engineers of our public roads seem to be unable to comprehend: that it is nearer to go two miles around than one mile over a grade.

The name of the post office at Wrightsville is Vineyard Hill. It was formerly called Mahala, in honor of a sister of Captain William Wade, an old resident of the vicinity and a son of Zephaniah Wade above mentioned. It was established in 1848.

Grimes is the name of a post office recently established at the mouth of Ohio Brush Creek, at the site of the almost forgotten town of Washington, once the county seat.

Beasley's Fork is the only other post office in the township. It was established in 1857 with James Miller as the first postmaster.


Quinn's Chapel, Methodist Episcopal, is said to be the oldest church organization in the township, dating from 1805 when services were held by Reverend James Quinn at the house of William Lucas on Gift Ridge. The first house of worship was a hewed log structure built on the Fenton farm. Afterwards a frame building was erected on the farm of John Pennywitt and called Quinn's Chapel, in memory of the pioneer circuit rider, Reverend James Quinn.

Union Chapel, Methodist Episcopal, on Ohio Brush Creek near the mouth of Beasley's Fork, was organized in 1856.

Beasley's Fork Chapel, Christian Union, was organized in 1864, and the present frame building was erected in 1871.


Monroe Township was the home of many old soldiers of the Revolution. Among them was Henry Aldred, who is buried in Beach's Cemetery on the McColm farm. He was wounded at the siege of Charleston by the British, which lamed him for life. He had an enduring hatred for everything English. Living in the vicinity of Aldred's home in Monroe Township was John Pike, who had been in the English Navy. At a log rolling at old Edward Hemphill's, Pike was relating his experience in the navy and asked Aldred if he remembered what fine music they had as they marched into Charleston after its surrender. This so infuriated Aldred that, crippled as he was, it took several of the bystanders to keep him from striking Pike with a handspike.

Old Donald Sherwood, a relative of the wife of Stephen Beach, a pioneer on Bush Creek, was known as the "foolish Yankee". Among other things related of him is that while living in a cabin near the mouth of Brush Creek, before a settlement was made there, he tracked a large bear into a cave in the hills, and, Putnam-like, with torch and gun, entered it, and shot the bear which weighed over three hundred pounds.

Captain William Faulkner, or Falconer, a soldier of the Revolution and also of the War of 1812, was an early settler at the mouth of Brush Creek. He is buried in the old orchard on the Grimes farm. He was a Catholic, and it is related of him that when his wife died, he had her buried at the chimney of his house. He then built a kitchen, adjoining and laid the hearthstone over her grave. He would enter this kitchen, sprinkle water over the hearthstone and exclaim: "You are well rid out of this hell's kitchen, my dear."

Henry Malone, who was born at Pleasant Bottoms on the Hemphill farm near the mouth of Brush Creek 26 Jan 1815, related that it was said by all the old Revolutionary soldiers in the vicinity that William Floyd or Flood (as he was sometimes called) was an illegitimate son of General Daniel Morgan. Floyd is buried on the hillside near Cedar College schoolhouse.

Mr. Malone said that when he was about eight ears of age, the Methodists held a meeting at the home of Stephen Beach, who then lived on the opposite side of Brush Creek. One Monday morning, a young man in company with Mr. John Brooks came to the ford and called to him to bring his father's canoe and ferry them over the creek. He did so, and the young man gave him a six and one-quarter cents silver piece, which was the first money he ever earned. That young man was Henry Bascom, then preaching his first sermons in the pioneer settlements in Adams County. Mr. Malone said he gave that piece of silver to his mother to help keep old Abraham Jones from being sold as a pauper as was the law in those days, and remarked that although now eighty-five years old, he had been "keeping paupers" ever since.

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]