(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).
With the industrialization of the nation and the expansion of Columbus, both for commercial and residential purposes, some of the farmland has been lost. Also gone are the old elegant farm homes that once lined the National Road.
An example of one family to come to Prairie Township and whose descendants are still in the area today is that of John Dougherty. He was born in Derry County, Ireland in 1766. He and two brothers arrived in New York before 1790. At 24 years of age he married his first wife, Mary Morris. His young wife died in 1797, leaving him with three children to raise. At the age of 39, in 1804, John married a girl 22 years younger than himself. Her name was Nancy Ann Gatton. A year afterwards John and Nancy’s first son, James, was born in 1805; and John and Nancy and the baby came to Ohio. They first settled on the banks of the Scioto River in Franklinton. In a short time, John and Nancy moved to Prairie Township and had ten more children in addition to James. Son James married Mary Ann Clover and along with his brothers and sisters continued the heritage of John, who had emigrated from Ireland. Mary Ann was the daughter of Joshua and Rachel Rutan Clover. James and Mary Ann had a dozen children…as the sons married he gave each 70 acres of the land accumulated over the years; to each daughter he gave 35 acres, when she married.
The Daughertys were very religious. James and his son Joshua, who owned a brick and tile mill, were responsible for donating the land building the church called Salem Chapel, and also a school house.
Today, half a century after the death of Joshua and his wife, Cindia Rilla Freeman Dougherty, the Thornapple Golf course–designed by nationally known golf course architect, Jack Kidwell, who is a resident of Prairie Township–is on part of Joshua Dougherty’s beloved homestead.
Few remnants of our ancestors are left except the cemeteries. The Postle Cemetery, once nestled in a stand of trees south on Norton Road, was taken over in the development of some land. There remains a relic family burial ground here and there; the Clover Settlement Cemetery is still visible, located on Alton-Darby Creek Road to remind us of the hardships faced by the pioneers in the early days of Prairie Township.