Today is going to be a short history lesson on the part our family played as early settlers in Ohio. While not the first to settle this area they soon became prominant in the early developement of the young county of Monroe, owning large tracts of land and serving as public officials. From their earliest times in this new country, history shows they were always involved in local politics. While this is longer than most of my posts, placing these excerpts together will hopefully help the reader keep the history relevant, and retained more easily.
These excerpts were all taken from The History of Monroe County Ohio published in 1882 by H H Hardesty publishing. Hardesty published what was an encylopedia of state and county histories. This book, as well as many other histories and atlases published by Hardesty were either written or co-written by Hiram H Hardesty himself.
Courts, Judges, County Officers -
Page 208, paragraph 7-8
Arthur OKEY was the first Sheriff, by appointment in 1815. Since then the following persons have been elected in the order named: William D. HENTHORN, Noble RAYLE, William DEMENT, William MASON, Elliott HOLLAND, Joel F. RANDOLPH, Cornelius OKEY, Japheth SMITH, Thomas MITCHELL, William D. PATTON, Marshall MORROW, Willaim READ, Courtland M. MORROW, Geo. W. CARROTHERS, Joseph MYERS, George CALDWELL, Thomas O. LITTLE, William READ and Christian LUDE, the present incumbent.
War Record -
Page 211, paragraph 7
116th OHIO VOLUNTEER INFANTRY. -- This regiment rendezvoused at Marietta, August 25, 1862, and was mustered into the service September 18th. Companies A, C, D, E, and F were from this county (Monroe). James WASHBURN was commissioned colonel, and W.T. MORRIS, major. The company officers were: of Company A, Charles W. RIDGEWAY, captain; Robert WILSON, first lieutenant; William M. KERR, second lieutenant. Company C, Fred'k H. ARKENOE, captain; James P. MANN, first lieutenant; David M. LUPTON, second lieutenant. Company D, William MYERS, captain; Henry OKEY, first lieutenant; Richard CHANEY, second lieutenant. Company E, John VARLEY, captain; Peter DILLION, first lieutenant; John C. HENTHORN, second lieutenant. Company F, Matthew BROWN, captain; Henry McELFRESH, first lieutenant; Wilson F. MARTIN, second lieutenant. This regiment was mustered out of the service on the 23d day of June 1865
Page 211, paragraph 9
In giving the history of the several townships in the county, in place of giving them in alphabetical order, it is thought to be more appropriate to give them in the order of their organization. As has already been said, four townships were organized at the first session of the commissioners, to-wit: Salem, Seneca, Centre and Jackson. Before this county was erected, Salem township was one of the townships of Belmont county, under the territorial government, and at the first term of the court of that county, November 24, 1801, the boundaries of the township were fixed as follows: "To begin on the Ohio river, at the southeast corner of York township, thence with said township line west to the western boundary of the county, (being the present county line between Belmont and Monroe); thence south fifteen miles to the southern boundary of the county; thence east with said boundary line to the Ohio river; thence up the river to the place beginning, to be called and known by the name of the township of Salem." The court, on the 24th of February, 1802, ordered the election to be held for Salem township at the house of James HENTHORN, at the mouth of Sunfish.
This township was organized July 19, 1815, and if, in giving its history, more space is allotted to it than to other townships, it must be remembered that larger and more numerous early settlements were made in it than in any other part of the county, though not at an earlier date. This was, probably, owing to the fact that Sunfish creek is the largest stream emptying into the Ohio river within the county's limits, and therefore furnished greater attractions to settlers. Below the mouth of the Opossum creek an improvement was made by Cornelius VANDEVANTER prior to 1802. John VANDEVANTER and the HURDS made improvements about the same time on the farm now owned by Vachel GAMBLE; Thomas HOWELL on the farm now owned by Levi BALDWIN; and a few years later Francis MARTIN made an improvement about a mile up the creek. His son, John MARTIN, Esq., still lives a mile or two below its mouth. William Mc LAIN, an old pensioner, Aaron HOWELL and Martin BOUGHNER, made improvements farther up the creek.
About 1798-9, James HENTHORN settled at the mouth of Sunfish creek. He moved from the old fort on Wheeling creek. His sons were James, John, Henry, William and Adam, and his daughters Ann and Mary. He made his improvements where Clarington now stands.
It might be properly said that most of the first settlers were squatters; that is, a family moved into the county and settled on Congress land, and when the head of the family found himself able, he would enter the land upon which he had squatted or settled. It was considered a very mean trick, in those days, for another person to "enter out" a squatter who was doing his best to raise the means to pay for the home he was making for himself and family; and scarcely any one would do it without the consent of the squatter, who was frequently paid for the improvements he had made, when he found he was unable to enter the land himself. At the time these early settlements were made, the Indians were, as a general thing, peaceable.
A correspondent writes: "One Sunday in the summer of 1801, a bear was seen swimming the river opposite Sunfish. William HENTHORN and John GILMORE, both nearly young men, concluded to capture it. They got into a John-boat and rowed out to meet it, intending to halter it with a chain and tow it to shore. As HENTHORN was about throwing the chain over the bear's head, it put its paws on the side of the boat and deliberately crawled in. No sooner was it in than the boys were out and swam to shore. The bear took a seat on the seat-board and quite contentedly floated down the river. William's uncle, John HENTHORN, and a Mr. TWIBLE hastened down the river, and on a hurriedly constructed raft, paddled out into the river and shot it. For a long time afterward when these young men felt disposed to do any bragging, their companions would tell them they had better capture another bear. That was sufficient.
"Dr. N.E. HENTHORN, recently deceased, in a letter to John B. NOLL, Esq., says: "In 1831, I was returning home from Cincinnati by land, and stopped over night in the town of Reading, twelve miles from the city, at Jackson's tavern. When the landlord ascertained where I was from, he said his father and an old Indian would like to talk to me. I went to their room and Mr. JACKSON, sen., said he knew my grandfather at the old block-house at Wheeling; that at the time BOGGS was killed at Bogg's Island, the Indians were pursued by the whites, and that he (Jackson,) wounded this Indian, and when about to kill him with his tomahawk, the Indian told him he was the medicine man of the tribe, and if he would spare his life he would cure a cancer on this (JACKSON's) nose, which he did; that the Indian had lived with him ever since, and was with him in the war of 1812, under General HARRISON. the Indian told me that the Indian name of Sunfish creek was Buckchitawa, and Opossum creek was, in the Indian tongue, Eagle creek.
The farm where the village of Clarington is now situated, was willed by James HENTHORN to his son William, and by him sold to David PIERSON, who, in 1882, laid out the town and called it after his daughter Clarinda, now the wife of Thomas FORD, of Woodsfield. Elam PATTERSON and David PIERSON kept the first store, about the year 1815. The first and only post office in the township was established in 1824 at Clarington -- Asahel BOOTH, postmaster, and, for many years, was known by the name of "Sunfish."
The first mill in the township was built by Jonathan RUTTER and John VANDEVANTER about 1805-6, on Sunfish creek, about 200 yards below where is now the old Jones mill. The mill stones were of blue rock from the adjacent cliffs. A few years later John JONES built his mill on its present site, and used burrs brought from Cheat Mountain by John HENTHORN.
The first marriage in the township was that of James HENTHORN, junior, and Nancy BOMAN or BOWEN, in the Spring of 1800. Wm. HENTHORN married Susan PARROTT, of the opposite side of the river, in 1807; and the records of Belmont county show that John PREBLE and Susan ARCHER, were married December 2, 1804, by David RUBLE, justice of the peace. The writer has no information as to the birth of the first child in the township.
Ohio Township -
Page 215, paragraph 1, 2, 5
The settlements in this township were made at quite an early period in the history of the territory now within the limits of the county. The time is fixed by the fact that Samuel Mc ELDOWNEY, now deceased, was born on Buckhill bottom, in 1794, and was four years old when his father, Robert Mc ELDOWNEY, moved to Fishing creek bottom, in Wetzel county, West Virginia, then Ohio county, Virginia. The next settlement was made on what is known as Frail farm, below Baresville. There was an improvement there with a log cabin upon it, into which Abner MARTIN moved about the year 1802. Buckhill bottom is so called in the United States surveys, made in 1801. A very large buck was killed near a mound on this bottom at an early date, by Wm. HENTHORN and a Mr. TWIBLE -- reported to have weighed 387 pounds -- hence the name, as is believed, Buckhill.
While most research reading can be "dry", I find that the type of writing found around the turn of the 20th century more colorful and resourceful in the telling. I hope you have enjoyed this as I know I do everytime I re-read it.