Madison County History and Genealogy

History and Genealogy

History of Madison County

Pleasant Township History

From History of Madison County, W. H. Beers & Co, Chicago, 1883

This township occupies the southeast corner of Madison County, and the territory comprising it was one of the earliest settled portions of the county. This was doubtless brought about principally from its geographical position and its proximity to the older settled counties, especially that of Ross, which in an early day appears to have been the center – a kind of asylum for the emigrants of this portion of the State – from which they radiated and formed settlements in all the surrounding country, which was then an unbroken wilderness. From the Ohio River up the valley of the Scioto, early settlements were made, and Chillicothe soon became the principal trading point upon the frontier. From this, as a base for supplies, the ever-onward pioneer and huntsman pushed up the Scioto and its numerous tributaries – Paint, Deer and Darby Creeks; and it seems that the two last mentioned streams were early visited by those in quiet quest of game and a location, as it soon became known that along these streams were found plentiful herds of deer and immense flocks of wild trukeys, and what was more than all as good as a body of land as the sun ever shone upon. As you ascend Deer Creek some thirty to thirty-five miles from its mouth, or where it empties its waters into the Scioto, you strike the corner of Madison County and the southeast corner of Pleasant Township.

The first settlers of this township were James and William Hewey and David Martin, who built their cabins on the northeast bank of Deer Creek in 1797. the land now belongs to Gabriel Alkire. William Alkire came in 1799, but as a record of the pioneers who came prior to 1800 appears in the general history of the county, we refer the reader to the pioneer chapter for a history of these men. [Madison County OHGenWeb has placed these histories in the "biographies" section, filed alphabetically.] Peter Long, of German Descnet, who settled in the northeast part of this township soon after 1800; was one of the earliest settlers in that neighborhood. Two of his sons, Jacob and John, never married, and reside on the old home place. One daughter married John Oglesbee, and also resides on a portion of the home farm. William Woods, a native of Maryland, born near Washington D. C.; he married elizabeth Dickison, and subsequently removed to Greenbrier County, VA.; thence, about 1801, came to Ohio and settled on Duff's Fork, in this township, and there he remained until quite aged, when he removed to his son, William D., who then owned the mill east of Mt. Sterling, and there resided with him till his death. When he came to this county, he purchased 600 acres of land on Duff's Fork, and during the war of 1812, the army opened a military road through his farm or land, known as "Langham's Trace," over which the soldiers passed to join Gen. Harrison's army in the Northwest. Mr. Wood was the father of the following children: William D., Anna, Jonathan, Phebe, Rhoda, John and Mary, who grew to maturity; all now deceased except Mary and Rhoda, who are still living and reside in the West, and one whose name is not remembered, but she married a Mr. Oxford and resides in Indiana, and one son, Jonathan, who resides in Illinois. William D., the eldest son, spent his life in Pleasant Township, engaged in the milling business. He married Elizabeth Tanner, by whom he had seven children, four now survive – Courtney, Elizabeth, Eliza Jane and Mahala. Mr. Wood was generally known as Col. Wood, from the office he held so long in the State Militia. He was one of the prominent active men of that day; he erected a combined grist, saw and carding mill on Deer Creek, just above where the cemetery is now located. He was also an active stock dealer, and for a long time engaged in the mercantile trade, and in the business interests of this community was one of its most valued citizens. He held most of the offices of trust of his township, and was highly esteemed and respected.

John R. Robinson, a native of South Carolina, settled on land in the southeast part of the township about 1806, and became quite an extensive farmer and stock-raiser, and was a prominent and reliable citizen, and served as a Justice of hte Peace many years. He was the father of seven or eight children, of whom six are now living – Elizabeth, wife of F. O. P. Graham, John S., Samuel, Mrs. W. C. Douglass, David and Joseph, who are all extensive farmers and land-owners of this township and prominent and reliable citizens.

John J. Smith, a native of Kentucky, married Rachel Alkire, and, with his father-in-law, Mr. John Alkire, about 1805-06, came to Ohio, and Mr. Smith settled where A. R. Alkire now lives. Mr. Alkire settled on the east bank of Deer Creek, just in the edge of Pickaway County, and a few years afterward, probably about 1810-12, erected a grist-mill on the west bank of Deer Creek, in Pleasant Township, just opposite to his tract of land. The mill was built of logs, with "Raccoon buhrs," and run by water-power, with a bolting attachment operated by hand. This mill he ran several years, when it came into the ownership of Mr. Smith. Subsequently Mr. Alkire removed to Sangamon County, Ill., became wealthy, and there resided till his death. Some of his children still reside in that county. Mr. Smith subsequently rebuilt the grist-mill and attached a saw-mill; finally he sold the mill to Otho Williams and William Leach; they were succeeded by William D. Wood, and he by Elijah Atkins, who died, and the mill is now owned by his heirs. This was one of the first and, doubtless, the first grist-mill erected in Pleasant Township. Mr. Smith resided where he first settled till about 1831, when he removed to Iowa, where he died about 1879, at the advanced age of nearly one hundred years. He was a very active, robust man, shrews and quick in business, taking an active interest in all the secular affairs of his community and filled some of the township offices prior to moving West.

Forgus Graham, a native of Virginia, married Elizabeth Trimble and emigrated to Kentucky, thence, about 1806, came to Pickaway County, Ohio, and, in February, 1807, came to Madison County and settled on the place where his son robert now resides, and here he lived between fifty and sixty years and removed to Indiana, where he died at an advanced age. His wife died while living in Madison County. They had twelve children, one dying in infancy – James, Washington, Joseph, Walker, Jane, Margaret, Malinda and Eliza – all married, moved West and settled in Indiana and Illinois. The balance of them married and settled here. John, married Lydia Alkire, and settled on the west side of Deer Creek, just above where Robert now resides. They had ten children – Harrison, Betsey, Caroline, Forgus, robert, John, Milton, Emeline, Margaret, Maria and Mary, who died in infancy. John lived to be eighty-three years of age. He served as a Captain in the war of 1812; was a blacksmith by trade, which, in connection with farming, he followed through life. Polly married Isaac Alkire; had eight children – Betsey, Forgus, Jackson, Cynthiann, Lucinda, W. H. Harrison, George and Martha, all living. Robert, married Anna Davidson; have had eight children, of whom Margaret, Emily, Robert B., William H. H. and Taylor are deceased. F. M. Trimble, Elizabeth M., James and John are living. Mr. Graham still resides upon the old home place of his father, where he has spent all his life since two years of age, except two years, during which he resided in Franklin County. he is now seventy-seven years of age and has resided seventy-three years on this farm. He has lived to see this country, from its wild and primitive state as they found it, with Indians and wild beasts all around, brought up to its present fine state of improvements and comforts.

In the early years of their residence here, he saw groups of Indians, as many as fifty at one time, who would bring in wild game and other articles of traffic for milk, corn meal and other articles, products of the farm. But we must now revert again to the father and old pioneer, Forgus Graham. He was an earnest worker in the Christian Church and a minister in the same for many years. He and George Alkire organized the Christian Church of Pleasant Township, known as the Antioch Church, whose history is written in another page of this work. Mr. Graham was one of the principal pilars and support of this church during his long residence here. His house was a preaching place for several years prior to the building of a church edifice, and his "latch-string" was ever out for the admission of the ministers, brethren and friends of the Christian work. He began life poor, gave largely and liberally and labored earnestly all his life for the Christian cause; yet he prospered financially. He owned about 500 acres of land, and always had an abundance for all home comforts, notwithstanding he traveled much and endured many hardships in his various journeys to preach the Gospel and establish the truth as he understood it. He died and passed away as a sheaf fully ripe and ready for the gleaner, and, although his death was a great loss to the church, yet it was doubtless to his lasting gain and eternal happiness.

Another early settler and pioneer was the old Virginian, William Creath, who emigrated to Kentucky; thence, about 1808, came to Ohio and settled in this township, one mile north of Mt. Sterling, where he and his wife Margaret lived and died. They had seven children – James, John, George, William, Samuel, Margaret and Jane M. James, the eldest, served in the war of 1812, who, with William, Margaret and Jane, married and settled and died in this county. George, moved West and settled where he resided until his death. Samuel has been thrice married – first, to Miss MIller; second, to Miss Alkire, and his third and last wife was Mrs. Jane Dennison, who is also deceased, and Mr. Creath is the third time a widower, and now resides with his youngest son in Oak Run Township. Thomas Anderson, a native of Virginia, emigrated to Kentucky in an early day; thence, about 1805-06, removed to Ohio and settled on Opossum Run, in Franklin County, and, about 1811, removed to this township and settled near Mr. Sterling, on land now owned by Mr. Loveberry; here he remained through life, devoting his attention to farming. In the war of 1812, he served as a Lieutenant. He married Rebecca Cochran, of Virginia, by whom he had eight children; three now survive – Elizabeth, now Widow Cochran, residing in Allen county, Ohio; Nancy, wife of John Devoll, residing in Fayette County, and Stephen, whose biographical sketch is contained in this volume. Of those deceased, Effie, John and Thomas married and moved West, where they died. Margaret married John Berry, and settled on the farm of Stephen Anderson, where she died. Sarah married Samuel Buzick, and also died on Mr. Anderson's farm. Mr. Anderson was a member of the M. E. Church, an earnest and devoted Christian worker and class leader for many years.

John riddle, a native of Pennsylvania, born near Mifflintown, emigrated to Ohio and settled at Staunton, near Troy, Miami Co., Ohio, one of the pioneers of that county, and served in the war of 1812 as a teamster, and was surrendered to the British by Gen. Hull at Detroit; but they were subsequently recaptured, and his team returned to him. Thence, about 1815, he removed to Madison County and settled in this township, on land now owned by John Puckett, and a few years after moved to what is now the north part of Mt. Sterling, on the London road, where the spot is still marked by a few old apple trees that yet remain. He remained a resident of this township the balance of his life, and died at Mt. Sterling January 9, 1858. He was twice married; by his first wife he had seven children, three now survive – ruann, married Elijah Smith, and resides in Salem, Oregon; Mary and David (twins), the former married Gabriel Alkire, and the latter is unmarried and resides at Mt. Sterling. Of those deceased, William married Elizabeth Warner, of London, settled in Mt. Sterling and entered upon the mercantile trade, and was fully identified with the business interests of this place for many years; thence he moved to London and engaged extensively as a stock-dealier. He was active and prompt in business and successful in all his undertakings, and, at the time of his death, in the summer of 1882, his estate was valued at $50,000. He had three children – Sallie, wife of Mr. Robison, druggist at London; Mary and William; the latter is now a partner of Mr. Robison; Abner, married Rachel Ferrin, settled at Mt. Sterling and has been engaged in farming through life, and had two children – John and Mary; the former is now of the firm of Riddle & Snider. Mr. Riddle died just one day prior to his brother William.

The above persons, of whom we have endeavored to give as full an account as is accessible to obtain at this late day, after a lapse of more than three-quarters of a century since their settling here, embraces most of the real pioneers. William Ware, who was a very early settler and a prominent man, and was the first Justice of the Peace of Pleasant Township after its erection, was, if we are rightly informed, a settler in what is now Fairfield Township, and hence he is written of in that township as one of its pioneers. Also, Judge E. Fitzgerald, of the early Justices, now belongs to that township. There was, however, a family of Grants, who settled here prior to 1812, and might with propriety be classed as pioneers. They are several persons whom we desire to mention, although not pioneers, yet they were early settlers, and many of them have done much pioneer work, and whose lives and labors have been identified with the growth, progress and improvements of this county; some of them even more so than some of the first settlers. George Kous, a large land-owner and wealthy farmer, is well and favorably known throughout this community as an old settler, and a valuable citizen of Pleasant Township. David Heath is another old and much esteemed citizen, a wealthy farmer, enterprising, and giving aid and support to everything that tends to the elevation of man and to the general public good, whose character and integrity is beyond reporach, and whose life and associations have been a blessing to the citizens of this township.

John Puckett, an old settler and a pioneer of the Methodist Church, "whose sands of life are nearly run out," deserves more than a passing notice; not that we desire to place upon the enduring pages of history every man's life, or that each subject of whom we speak deserves especial praise, for the best and most divine instruction we have teachers, that with the best of men, after they have done all in their power, they are unprofitable servants; but we do desire to place before the rising generations the lives, examples and teachings of such men as have some stamina of character and moral integrity in them, as beacon lights to the wayfaring youth of years to come. Mr. Puckett's early life shows first, industry and frugality. At quite an early day he engaged in the tanning business. He erected the first and probably the only tannery ever in the vicinity of Mt. Sterling. This he carried on for several years, and at a period in the history of this country when it was an important branch of industry to the comfort and convenience of the people of the community. This, with the honest occupation of farming, he has devoted the energies of his physical powers, and he has been quite successful. But the shining mark of his life has been his devotion to the Christian work. As early as the year 1831, we find his house the appointed place for the organizing of a class and society in the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he and wife were among the constituent members; and his house continued to be a preaching place until 1834, when a church edifice was erected, and through his life Mr. Puckett has given freely of his means and influence for the church and all worthy objects of Christian and moral progress.

Robert Abernathy and Isaac Moore, were two early settlers and substantial and reliable farmers; the former is now deceased. The latter is a resident of Mt. Sterling, a prominent, active member of the Methodist Church, and who kindly furnished us with the history of that society from its first organization. Although now quite aged, yet his mind is clear and his recollections of the past vivid and conclusive, and of him we may truthfully say he is an esteemed and valued citizen.

The Davidson family were also early settlers. Elijah Bragg and G. W. Ingrim, two valued citizens, were quite early knwon and identified with the progress of this community. The Timmons family was another early and well-known family. Drs. Samuel and William McClintick are and have been two prominent and well-known physicians of Mt. Sterling. Dr. D. E. McMillin is the oldest physician of Mt. Sterling, having been in practice here most of the time for forty-five years. Other names of prominent early settlers might be mentioned, but, as the object of our work is to rescue from oblivion the names, characters and incidents of the oldest and most distant memories and matters of by-gone days, time and space forbid us extending our remarks upon present men and matters further in this chapter, but refer the reader to other portions of this work upon churches, schools, societies and th elist of officials of the township where many names, characters and incidents will be more fully brought out down to the present time.

This was one of the original and first erected townships of the county. Although the boundary lines are now different from what they were at its first erection, as part of the territory which was at first embrace din this has been taken off to help form Fairfield and Range Townships. but we here give its first and original boundaries as found upon the records at London, which there appears as follows: April 30, 1810, "Ordered, that all that tract of country comprehended in the following boundaries compose a township, to be known and designated by the name of Pleasant, and is bounded as follows: Beginning at the southeast corner of Union Township, on the Franklin County line, thence to the corner of Pickaway County line; thence with the Pickaway County line to the corner of Fayette county, thence with the Fayette County line to the corner of Stokes Township; thence with Stokes Township line to the place of beginning." The erection of the townships of Union, Jefferson, Deer Creek, Stokes, Darby and Pleasant, although occurring on April 30, 1810, were not recorded for nearly five months, the commissioners' record book reading as follows: "The above was recorded in this book the 4th day of September, Eighteen hundred and ten – 1810."

Subsequent changes in the township are as follows; June 1, 1818, "Ordered, that hereafter the boundaries between Range and Pleasant Townships be as follows, viz.: Beginning on the North Fork of Paint Creek, at Fayette County line, thence eastward along said line to Duff's Fork; thence up said fork to the crossing of the Federal road; thence northward to the line between Union and Pleasant townships, so as to make the upper line of Range Township one mile and one-half, extending along Pleasant Township." March 2, 1824, change in Range and Pleasant Townships, "Ordered by the Commissioners of Madison County now in session, on petition being presented, that part of Range Township be, and is hereby attached to, Pleasant Township: Beginning at the county line between Fayette and Madison Counties, where the same crosses Duff's Fork, running west one mile with said line; thence a north direction to where the Federal road crosses Duff's Fork in the line of Pleasant Township, all that part hereby stricken off of Range Township to be attached to Pleasant Township." Change in Pleasant Township, December 1, 1851: On petition, the line between Pleasant and Fairfield Townships were changed as follows, viz.: "Commencing at a point in the county line near James Adams', thence south with the county line to the lower line of R. Means' Survey, No. 5,766; thence west with said survey line and the line of Edward Fitzgerald's land to the northwest corner of Henry Fleshour's Survey, No. 5, 190; thence to the northeast corner of the Hardin & Gray's Survey, No. 5,799, and with the north line of said No. 5,799 to the county road near Levin Jones' house; thence with said road to Deer Creek; thence up the creek to the present corner of Fairfield Township."

From Atlas of Madison County by J.A. Caldwell, Condit, Ohio (1875)

This is the south-east township of the county, and bounded on the south by Fayette County, east by Pickaway County, north by Fairfield and Oak Run, west by Range Townships. The village of Mt. Sterling is in the south east, is a place of considerable business, and in a good farming and stock growing country. This township is well watered by Deer Creek, Bradford's Fork, Sugar Creek, Mud run and Opossum Run, and it has a great many fine springs. A few of the Pioneers of this township [sic]. The first settlement of this section was commenced as early as 1808 by Wm. Woods, James Hughey, the Martin family, Courtney Tanner, John Pheves, John Matle, a tanner by trade, and John Oxford, the latter who settled at the mouth of Oppossum Run, and in 1809, John Robison who came from Tennessee with his brothers Wm. adn Thomas Robison, who first settled about three miles north of where Mt. Sterling now stands, Mr. John Robison was born February 1793, and is still living at the age of 83, enjoying reasonably good health. The same year Messrs. Isaac and John Alkire, John J. Smith, Esq., Joseph and Samuel Powell, John and Abner Riddle and others. The first mill was built by John Alkire, a small log one, John J. Smith, Esq., rebuilt the same with a good substantial frame building. This township like the rest of the county, was oak openings and prairies, and was covered with sedge grass, which made it a good place for herding cattle in the early settlement of this part of the county. This township is well improved by good substantial farm residences, and a fair prospect of a railway from the mineral regions of southern Ohio towards the northwest. Surveying commenced here as early as 1796.

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

Pleasant township fills the southeast corner of Madison county, being bounded on the north by 0ak Run and Fairfield townships; on the east by Pickaway county; on the south by Fayette county, and on the west by Range and Oak Run townships. It was organized in 1810, and was put into running order by an election held by order of the commissioners of the county at the home of Forgus Graham; but who the officers elected were is not known as all the records of the township prior to 1869, have been lost or destroyed by fire.

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