(The following was written by Jack Maurey and compiled by the (Columbus) Historical Publishing Company, and is reprinted from “Reflections II”, a collection of local stories available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the authors.)
Introduction by Jack Maurey
Early histories of the four townships comprising the area served by Southwest Franklin County Historical Society have been given printed space in various newspapers and other publications over the years. If there has ever been a publication that contained them all at the same time, I am unaware of it.
With this in mind, I think it is appropriate to include the histories of Franklin, Jackson, Prairie and Pleasant Townships, the four townships served by the Southwest Franklin County Historical Society.
These histories are recorded in the book: Franklin County at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century Historical Record of its Development, Resources, Industries and Inhabitants, compiled by the Historical Publishing Company, Columbus, Ohio 1901.
Immediately after the formation of Franklin County in 1803, it was divided into four townships of equal size. The southwest quarter, then nearly double the size of the present entire county, was designated as Franklin Township, and it is the only township in the county that bears the original name. Here was begun the settlement of this now populous and wealthy county, for here in August, 1797, was laid out the pioneer village of the county–Franklinton–now annexed to Columbus. The surface features are generally level, the only exceptions being the course of the streams, where it is rolling. The principal water source, the Scioto River, is of some importance as furnishing water power advantages. The Olentangy River is next in size and, flowing from the West, is Scioto Big Run that, with its tributaries, completes the watercourses of the township.The Indians in the facility were peaceable and friendly toward the settlers, and though, when under the influence of whiskey they fought savagely among themselves, rarely did they molest the Whites. When the Indians finally left this Section, one remained, a harmless old fellow who lived on game and help from the settlers; but this poor man was finally killed by a hunter named Daniel Harrington.
The first hotel here was built in Franklinton in 1803, by Joseph Foos; It was a brick, and considered a monster affair at the time, though it would hardly make a respectable kitchen for the hotel of today. Mr. Foos was an active, progressive citizen, served for some 20 years as a member of the legislature, served in the War of 1812 as Brigadier-General and afterward in the militia, rose to rank of Major-General. The second hotel, or “tavern,” as they were then called, was opened by William Domigan, Sr., who came here in 1803. John Huffman, one of the first settlers, established a distillery here in 1801 and some years later he purchased four thousand acres of land in Plain Township, giving in payment therefore, ONE GALLON OF WHISKEY PER ACRE, one debt that may truthfully be said to have been LIQUIDATED by him.
Samuel White was prominent in the pioneer settlement of Franklin Township. He was a soldier in the Revolution and fought nearly seven years in the struggle for independence. At the Battle of Stony Point, it is said, he was scalped by the Indians who left him in the field for dead. He lived, however, to October 1841, when he was fatally injured by a runaway horse. Captain Adin G. Hibbs, who came here from Pennsylvania In 1832, subsequently laid out the village of Shadeville and amassed a great wealth. The first merchandising was by Robert Russell in 1803, and the stock, which consisted of but an armful or two of general merchandise, and was displayed on shelves placed around the sides of a small building design for a ”smoke-house.” A small table in the center served the double purpose of counter and seat for the proprietor, who could easily reach the goods on the shelves from his seat. Several “pack-horse traders” were engaged in business here from time to time. The goods were transported on Horseback from Pittsburgh and Detroit, and consisted mainly of iron utensils, salt and whiskey. A post-office was erected in Franklinton in 1805, and discontinued in 1835;The successive postmasters were: Adam Hosach, Henry Brown, Joseph Grate, James B. Gardiner, Jacob Keller, Joseph McDowell, William Lusk, and W. Risley. The first cemetery in the township was that situated on the bank of the Scioto River, north of the village of Franklinton, and here we’e buried a host of those hardy pioneers who helped to subdue the wilderness. The first meeting house here was built of logs in the twenties, by the Methodists and on its site was afterward built a brick edifice, known as the Union Church. The first school was a little log cabin on Gift Street, Franklinton, 1805.
(The continuation of this story in the next blog entry.)