Madison County History and Genealogy

History and Genealogy

History of Madison County

The Pioneers

From History of Madison County, Ohio, Chester E. Bryan, Supervising Editor, B.F. Bowen & Co., Indianapolis (1915)

As has been pointed out elsewhere in this work, in the settlement of this portion of Ohio, the tide of emigration seems to have followed up the various streams and creeks, and the Darby and Deer creeks, appear from their position, together with the richness of the lands that bordered them, the abundance of deer, turkeys and other game, to have held out superior attractions to those seeking a favorite location to settle and make a home for themselves and their posterity. And also it appears, probably for the self-same reason, to have been a favorite spot for the Indians prior to the coming to the white man. The history of Canaan township may be said to have begun at the same time as we accredited the beginning of the history of Darby township, in 1796, when Jonathan Alder was discovered by Benjamin Springer living with his Indian wife on the west banks of the Darby. These were the first white settlers known to have settled on the Darbys or within the present limits of Madison county. Of Jonathan Alder and Benjamin Springer we shall say nothing further here, but refer the reader to the history of Darby township.

Luther Cary, who was born in New Jersey and in that state had married Rhoda Leonard, in an early day had emigrated to the Redstone country in Pennsylvania, from there down the Ohio river, settling first at or near Marietta, Ohio; thence, in 1800, with his family, he moved to Madison county and located on the Big Darby on land just north of Amity, in Canaan township, where he lived until his death, October 8, 1834, at the ripe old age of seventy-four years. His wife died on May 15, 1846, at the still more advanced age of ninety-one years. Their children were: Benjamin, who married and settled near Wooster, Ohio, where he died; Luther, who settled in Miami county; Calvin, who married and settled at Cary, Ohio, giving that place its name; Stephen. who married Catherine Johnson, and settled in this township, residing here until his death; Ephraim, who married Mathilda Gandy, settled in this township, but later moved to Union county, where he died; Jemima, who married Jacob Johnson, and settled in Jefferson township, where she died, and, subsequently, Phebe, who had married John Davis, and was left a widow by his death, married Mr. Johnson; Lydia, who married John Johnson, and settled just below Amity, where they resided until about 1855, when they removed West; Rachel, who married Alexander McCullough, and settled near Amity, but afterward removed to Putnam county, Ohio, where she died; Abijah, who married Catharine Johnson, and settled in this township, remaining here until his death, February 21, 1854, aged seventy-three years; his wife died February 4, 1851, in the sixty-fifth year of her age. They had the following children: Mary, Solomon, Absalom, Sarah, Rhoda. Abram, Rachel, Eliza and Lucinda; all grew to maturity, married and raised families, and all were prosperous and good citizens of Madison county, most of them becoming members of the Presbyterian church and honored and respected citizens of the community. Abijah Cary was born on March 6, 1781, and, when a lad of nineteen years, came to this county with his parents. He was a man of remarkable industry and passed through all the arduous and dangerous trials of the pioneer days.

Two brothers. Jonathan and Joel Harris, natives of New Jersey, emigrated to Ohio in about 1805 and settled within the present confines of Canaan township. Jonathan Harris married a Miss Casto, by whom he was the father of the following children: George, Annos, William, Joel, Itebecca and Pattie. Joel married and soon afterward settled in Franklin county.

Nahum King, a native of Vermont, married Sarrepta Norton, and settled on the land later known as the Moore farm, whence he removed and settled below Amity. About 1837-38 he went to Missouri and in 1844 to Oregon, where he died. He was one of the prominent men of this township during his residence here; very intelligent and well informed. and filled to the satisfaction of all several offices of the township.

John Kilgore, a native of Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, emigrated, with his wife Jane and family, to Ohio and settled, as was the usual custom of emigrants to this portion of the state of Ohio, in Ross county in 1797; thence, albout 1809, they removed to Madison county and settled on Three-Mile run, about one and a half miles west of Big Darby, where he died soon afterwards. His wife subsequently moved to Union county, where she remained until her death, at an advanced age. Thomas Kilgore, their eldest son, was about eighteen years old when the family settled on Three-Mile run. In 1812 he married Jane Patterson, who was born in Botetourt county, Virginia, October 8, 1792; they settled in Canaan township, on the Kilgore farm, and here remained until their deaths. He died at the advanced age of eighty-one, February 11, 1872; his wife died on June 3, 1862. They were the parents of eleven children: William, Eliza, Rebecca, Sarah, Lucinda; John, who married Maloney Beach; William, who married Mary Boyd; Harvey, who married Judith Sherwood; Simeon, who married Elizabeth Cary; Elizabeth, who married Chauncey Beach, and Rebecca, who married Jacob Taylor. Thomas Kilgore lived a long and useful life in Canaan township, having been, at the time of his death, a resident of that township for over three score years and on the same farm on which he first settled. He was one of the true pioneers and did his share nobly in the development of the county. He was a man of great moral worth and character and exerted a great influence in molding the general character of the community, both politically and religiously, as during his lifetime he held most of the important offices of trust within the gift of the people of the township, and, religiously, had been a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal church from his manhood. His example before his family and community was one worthy of admiration and imitation.

James Moore, who became a settler on Mammoth run as early, probably, as 1808-10, is believed to have been a native of the state of Pennsylvania. He married Betsey Patterson, by whom he was the father of the following children: Stephen, who married Caroline Beebe and settled near his father, later moved to Illinois, where he died; Moses, who married Serretta King, also settled near his father and, also, later moved to Illinois, where he died; the one daughter married William Frakes and settled in the West. Mr. Moore was a man of great influence in the township and held many of the township offices. He died in the prime of life, being cut down during one of the sickly seasons of 1822 and 1823, and was buried on the farm on which he had settled. Ira Finch was a native of Vermont, who emigrated to Ohio and settled in Canaan township, about one mile and a half south of Amity, on Mammoth run, in about 1808 or 1810. He married Nancy Bull and remained in the township until his death, in about 1856. Their children were: Armenus, who died young; Pattie married Thomas Kilbury; Sarah married Thomas Harris; Madison married Nacy Clark and settled here, where he resided until his death; Minerva married Sanford Frazell; Commodore married Emiley Robey; John married Emily Kilbury, and settled in and remained a resident of this township until his death; Joshua married Catharine Crego, and lived at Amity; Thompson married Nancy Taylor, and Ruhama married Silas Scribner and moved to Missouri.

William Taylor, a native of northern Virginia, emigrated to Ohio in 1803 and settled in Darby township, where he married. He later moved to Canaan township. He was the father of fourteen children: Sarah married Philip Harris; Hannah married Henry Fuller; Samuel; Polly; Jacob married Rebecca Kilgore; Rhoda married Richard Edgar; Margaret married Isaac Arthur; William married Martha Arthur; Nancy married Thompson Finch; Mary married James Talpniny; Moses, and three who died in infancy. Mr. Taylor was a man of reserved habits and a great lover of home and family; a man of firm principles and noble character, a good farmer, a kind neighbor, and a much esteemed and respected citizen.

Henry H. Gandy settled one mile south of Amity, about 1812-14, and lived and died there. He reared a large family of children. Luke Knapp, an Englishman by birth, came to America and settled in Connecticut, where he resided several years; thence removed to New York, where he died. In 1812, his son, Elihu Knapp, moved to Pennsylvania, and in 1815 came to Madison county and settled on land on the west side of Big Darby, where the cemetery is now located, and died there in 1823, and his wife in 1836. His wife was Amy Anders, by whom he had three children, Electa, who married Joshua Holtner; Cynthia, who married Solomon Norton. and Elihu, who married Kesiah Norton and settled in Darby township.

Richard Stanhope, with his family, settled on the William Atkinson land, in 1812, the only colored family in that day in the neighborhood. He was a very honest man and quite a good farmer, yet very illiterate, with no advantages of education. He was nevertheless affable and good natured, with the politeness peculiar to his race. James Gut was then one of his nearest neighbors and practiced a good many jokes on Richard, one of which we shall retell. It seems that all the early settlers cultivated flax, for the fiber, which was converted into clothing. This crop was always sown in a certain change of the moon. The following Friday after this change was the proper time, which, in this instance, happened to be Good Friday. Mr. Gut informed him that Good Friday of that year came on Sunday. Being a religious man, Stanhope was loath to desecrate the Sabbath, so he sowed his flax on Saturday night. Stanhope had been a slave of George Washington's and was with him during the Revolutionary War. He later sold his farm on the Plains and removed to Urbana in 1836, where he died, it is claimed, at the extreme old age of one hundred and twenty years.

Peter Strickland, who was a New Englander by birth, settled on the east bank of the Big Darby opposite Amity, and remained a resident of the township the rest of his life. He was married four times and reared a large family of children, nearly all of whom settled in Canaan township. He was one of the early settlers, a very industrious farmer, a good neighbor and a well-to-do citizen. David Garton, a native of New Jersey, emigrated to this county and settled on Big Darby, about two and a half miles south of Amity, about 1812-14, and remained a resident of the county until his death. He married Martha Harris, by whom he had two sons, Hosea, who married Rebecca Harris, and David. His wife died and he later married Hannah Richman, with whom he lived until his death. By his last wife he was the father of several children. Mr. Garton was an honest and upright man in his life and character.

Isaac Fuller, a native of New York, married Lucy Warner, and settled on the east bank of Big Darby, about two miles south of Amity, about 1812. He here erected a grist-mill about 1814-15, which was one of the first mills erected in Madison county, and, though roughly and poorly constructed, proved a great convenience to the early settlers of the county. He later added a saw-mill to it. Mr. Fuller ran the mill for forty years, when he sold the property to Mr. Byers and moved to Iowa, where he died. He was the father of the following children: Arnold, who married Sallie Green; James married, but his wife lived but a short time, and he subsequently married Lucinda Francis; Shubel married Rhoda Ann Worthington; Henry married Hannah Taylor; Olive married William Harris; Nancy married George Harris. These children are all by a former wife, whose name is forgotten. By his last wife, Lucy Warner, he had one child, Isaac, who married Arminta Fuller and settled in Iowa. Henry Robey settled just west of Jacob Millikin, about 1816. He married a Miss Johnson, by whom he had no children; she died and he married Mrs. Millie McDonald, by whom he had four children, Hezekiah, Henry, Nelson and Millie. About 1830 he removed to Hardin county, Ohio, where he resided until his death. He was a man of very reserved habits, never holding or desiring ofiice, but an excellent man and neighbor, and one of the best blacksmiths and mechanics of his day; possessing great skill, he could make any kind of tool or implement that was needed on the farm or in the house, and hence was a man of great value in a frontier community.

Elisha Bidwell settled in the southwest part of Canaan township about 1816. Mr. Bidwell was a man of excellent character, and took a great interest in educational matters and the general good of the community; but as a business man he was not very successful. Knowlton Bailey settled in the township about 1816-17, but remained only a few years and moved to Jefferson township, where he resided until his death. Samuel Beebe, a New Englander by birth, settled in the township about 1815. He had served during the Revolutionary War. Stephen Hallock, a native of Vermont, was another early settler here, probably about 1816-18. He married Rhoda Beach. They were the parents of two children, Hymen and Washington. Mr. Hallock died a few years after settling here, being carried away during one of the sickly years of 1822-23. Lemuel Greene settled one mile below Amity about 1818-20. He married, for his second wife, Rachel Brown, by whom he had a large family of children, of whom were Asa, Ira, Sallie, Maria, Louisa, Nancy and Cynthia. Mr. Greene was a shoemaker by trade and resided in the township until his death. Levi Francis is thought to have settled in the township about 1820; he reared a large family of children.

Mathias Slyh, a Virginian, settled on the farm known by his name about 1820. He buried his first wife and married, for his second wife, Sallie Patterson, with whom he lived until his death. He was a member of the Baptist church, and one of the township's most substantial and esteemed citizens. Warren Frazell settled east of Amity about 1825, where he lived until his death. He was a preacher in the Methodist Episcopal church for many years; he reared a large family of children, who became good, respectable citizens of the township.

Richard Kilbury was born in Vermont, where he married Obedience Baldwin, and, in the fall of 1814, emigrated to Ohio, settling in this township on lands in survey No. 7386. After residing here a short time, it proved so sickly that he moved to near Cleveland, and later to Maumee valley, but, after a short residence there, he returned to Madison county and resided in Canaan township until his death. He was a blacksmith by trade and spent his life following that vocation. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, a man of firm and substantial character and undoubted integrity and held several township offices. He was twice married and was the father of nine children. He died in May, 1854.

Luther Lane, born in Massachusetts, married Lodica Green, a native of Connecticut. They removed to Vermont about 1800. In 1817 they came to Ohio and settled in Union county, near Milford; thence, in 1829, they removed to Pike township, Madison county, where Mr. Lane died the same year. Mrs. Lane had died during their residence in Union county, in January, 1823. They had the following children: Fannie married David Harrington and settled in this county, where they resided several years and where she died; Eliza married David Gitchel and settled in Union county; thence they removed to Illinois, but later returned and she died in Plain City; Lodica died unmarried; Elizabeth married Otis Williams and settled in Madison county, where she died; Hannah became the second wife of Otis Witham, and settled and died in this county; David, the youngest, married Elizabeth Cox, and settled in Union county; and Luther, the next elder than David, married Elizabeth Morrison, and in 1833 settled in Canaan township. In 1834 he entered into the mercantile business with Dr. Lorenzo Beach in Amity, in which he continued for eight years. In September, 1841, he purchased and settled upon a farm.

Elisha Perkins came and settled on the Plains when that strip of prairie was still the pasture land of the wild animals that frequented this portion of the county. He did not live long, however, after reaching his new home, being carried off by those deathly years of 1822-23. His sons were Isaac, James, Eli, Horace and Dr. Hiram Perkins.

Lewis Ketch settled on the Plains in 1814. He was a shoemaker by trade and worked with Nahum King in a shoe shop at his tannery on the Plains. He did not live for many years after reaching his new home. His widow married Parley Converse, with whom she lived till separated by death. Samuel Sherwood, the father of A. H. and J. C. Sherwood, settled on the Plains in the year 1814 and lived on the farm known as the Calhoun farm. The house in which he lived was built on a high piece of ground that proved to be a gravel bank, and was used to improve the Wilson pike. Mr. Sherwood was an economical and industrious farmer, but fell victim to the sickly years of 1822-23.

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