(The following was written by Nola Freeman, and is reprinted from “Reflections”, a collection of local stories available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum).
Prairie Township lies in the Virginia Military Land Tract. In consideration of military service performed by officers and soldier of the Virginia Line, on Continental Establishment, they were to obtain title to certain lands lying northwest of the River Ohio, between the Little Miami and Scioto. Over a period of time from the earliest survey in July of 1796 to the latest in July of 1829, these officers and soldiers were given the original warrants to land in Prairie Township. A Patent on 56 surveys on 48 warrants was given to 33 men. Many of these lands were never settled by the grant holders of Prairie Township.
The Clovers came from Virginia and settled here in 1813. The township was formed on December 28, 1819. Some of the pioneers had settled in Franklinton. As they wanted to buy a larger tract of land on which to raise their crops and families, they came west to Prairie Township. In the early days before 1836 the National Highway was nothing but a dirt road.
Prairie Township was so named because it was covered with the tall grasses familiar to the prairie. Most of the township has been farmed or grazed; and the prairie grass, once tall enough to hide all but the head of a man on a horse when he was riding, is gone, as well as the forested areas.
Settlers came from Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New York, and a few from as far away as Germany, Ireland, Scotland, England, France and Wales.
In the late 1800’s and 1900’s the descendants of the settlers tiled and ditched Prairie Township, and it became productive farmland. The farms were located in the township like pieces on a quilt, with a small gathering of persons and business establishments in the Galloway, Alton, and Rome areas. The township consisted of approximately thirty square miles of farming community located on both sides of the National Road.
After the road was built, progress later brought a railroad to the north and south of it, the interurban streetcar, and–finally–the utilities.
(The conclusion of this story in the next blog entry.)