History of Orange Township, OH
From: The History of Ashland County, Ohio
By A. J. Baughman
Published By The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1909


Orange township was surveyed in 1807 and settled in 1814. It is one of the best agricultural townships in the county, and is well supplied with water. The township was surveyed by Maxfield Ludlow and was organized by the commissioners of Richland county in 1818. The Jeromefork and several tributaries, while they afford very little water power, are living streams and waters a majority of the farms in the township, rendering the land particularly valuable for stock growing.

Of the early residents of Orange township, the following names are recalled:
Wesley Richards was born in Loudon county, West Virginia, August 9, 1793, came to Orange township in an early day and died September 12, 1882, aged eighty nine years, one month and three days. - Mrs. Mary Rickett, born in West Bethlehem township, Washington. county, Pennsylvania, December 21, 1796, came to Orange township in 1822 and died in the winter of 1883, aged eighty five years, eleven months and eleven days. She was the mother of fifteen children, had forty five grandchildren and sixty one great-grandchildren. Valentine Vance, born in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, December 18, 1797, and in 1814 came with his father to Canton, Ohio, thence to Richland county near Mansfield, thence to Orange township where he died November 20, 1882, aged eighty four years, eleven months and eleven days. Mrs. Margaret Heiffner, wife of John Heiffner and daughter of Ludwic Clime was born in Montgomery township, March 23, 1818, was married to John Heiffner, July 7, 1835, and died in Orange township December 15, 1882, aged sixty six years, eight months and twenty two days. John Richey was born in Virginia in 1801, in 1804 came with his parents to Columbiana county, Ohio, and in 1833 came to Orange township where he died February 23, 1883, aged eighty two years. Mrs. Eliza Thomas, wife of Josiah Thomas, whose maiden name was Zimmerman, was born in Union county, Pennsylvania, December 25, 1809, came to Montgomery township in the spring of 1829, and died in Orange township, March 25, 1883, aged seventy three years and three months. Mrs Mary Donley, born in America, her parents came from Ireland in 1776. She lived to be about one hundred and four years old and died in Ashland on Sunday, October 1, 1882, and was buried at Orange.

Vachel Metcalf and Amos Norris were the first settlers in Orange. They removed into it from Bunn's Settlement, in Mohican township, in the spring of 1814. Jacob Young and Jacob Crouse emigrated from Columbiana county, during the same spring, without their families. Young built a camphouse within a few rods of where the bridge crosses the Jeromefork of the Mohican, on the road now leading from Ashland to Orange.

The total number of white families in Orange township, during the winter commencing December, 1814, amounted to five. In addition to these, however, Solomon Urie and his two sons, Samuel and Thomas, were in the township.

In the spring of 1815, Thomas Green, Mordecai Chilcote, Martin Hester, Patrick Murray, Christian and Nicholas Fast, and Henry Hampson removed to the township with their families. During the same year, John Bishop, an unmarried man, came into the township.

In the fall of 1815 Martin Mason commenced the erection of a mill on the site of the one now owned by Samuel Leidigh, two miles west of the present village of Orange. The stones were "hard heads" and would grind sixty bushels per day. The mill commenced operations in March, 1816. That the settlers in Orange and adjacent townships appreciated the advantages of this mill, may be understood when it is stated that, prior to its erection, the nearest mill was that of Stibbs, one mile east of Wooster. While the millwrights were engaged in the erection of the watermill, they would employ their evenings in aiding Mr Mason's family to work the handmill in producing the necessary supplies for the following day.

The Messrs. Mason, Young, Crouse, and Joseph Bishop all appeared with their families in October, 1814.

William Patterson made his first visit to Orange township in the spring of 1815, and entered at the federal land office the northeast quarter of section 7, Orange township. During the same year, he returned to his native place, in Washington county, Pennsylvania, and in 1818 revisited the country with a view of making the land he had entered the place of his future residence. In that year he "tomahawked," to use a current phrase of the country at that time, ten acres of his land. By this term "tomahawked," the unsophisticated of this time will understand to mean, that he cut down, with his axe, from that number of acres, the timber of eighteen inches in circumference and under, and arranged the brush around the base of the trees that were above that size.

During this winter, the families of Martin and Jacob Mason, having exhausted their supplies of breadstuffs, availed themselves of a deep snow that had fallen, and left home on sleds for Stibb's mill. The only road to Wooster led by way, of the old Indian village called Jerometown, near where Jeromeville now stands. On arriving at the mill they were grievously disappointed to find its operations suspended by the ice. This winter, it may be here observed, was one of remarkable rigor, the snow, during a period of forty days, remaining upon the ground to the depth of at least a foot. Realizing the necessity of immediately supplying their families with something in the form of breadstuffs, they procured a few bushels of shelled corn and started on their way home. The families were without meat, butter, milk, or potatoes. Their only cow, a noble animal, and which had been the main reliance of the family of Martin Mason for food, had died a short time previously from "browsing" upon Buckeye buds. The sole dependence of the families, therefore, was upon their corn. Of this they made hominy, and with the single exception of salt, and the meat of a raccoon, the two families subsisted upon this food a period of two weeks. They were indebted for the coon mentioned, to an Indian named James Lyons, who had tracked and treed the animal, and offered the meat to his white friends if they would secure it and give him the skin. His offer was gladly accepted the tree (an immense one) cut down the animal killed and dressed, and its meat divided between the two families. A few days after this, two other Indians, Jim Jerk and Billy Mature, came into the house of Martin Mason with a bear, for the meat of which he paid them eight silver dollars. This meat Mr. Mason divided with his brother's family, and the honiiny being cooked in bear's oil, made sumptuous fare, and in a few days the weather relaxed so that they were enabled to procure cornmeal from Stibb's, and venison and other wild meats from the Indians. During the spring some bacon was purchased of Roberl Newell, for which twenty five cents per pound was paid.

The first meal making implements of which nearly every family had one. were hominy blocks, a hole burned in a stump, with a sweep so fixed that twc men could pound corn into meal; the sieve was a deerskin stretched over a hoop, with small holes made therein by the point of a hot iron.

Philip Fluke came to Orange township in 1816. Although Mr. Fluke had previously resided in an old settled country, he referred to his experience in the wilderness of Orange township as embracing the happiest period of his life. The health of himself and family, with the exception of ague attacks during the first year, was good. He realized from his first year's tillage sufficient wheat and corn to subsist his family and stock, and to supply, to a limited extent, new neighbors that came in. Prosperity attended all his efforts, and the accumulations of this world's goods, and the exchange of his old cabin home for the fine brick dwelling in which he for many years resided, did not, according to his own testimony, add to his stock of happiness.

Jacob Hiffner, Jr., emigrated with his family, consisting of his wife and three daughters, from Franklin county, Pennsylvania, to Orange township, in November, 1817. Four families from Pennsylvania traveled in company, and settled in Orange township at the same time, namely, those of his father, Jacob Hiffner, Sr., of his brother, Frederick Hiffner, and of his brother-in-law, Ridenour.

Mr. Hiffner erected a temporary cabin upon the land of his father, which afforded shelter for his family during the winter of 1817-18. In the meantime he had constructed a rude cabin upon his own place, and in April. 1818, removed his family and scanty stock of household effects into it, and engaged in the imprOvement of his land. When he commenced housekeeping, his cabin was without a door, chimney or floor, the fire being made upon the ground in the center of the cabin, and the smoke finding its way out chiefly through an open place in one end of the roof designed fOr the future chimney of the cabin. Mr. Hiffner averred that the best pone he ever ate was made of soft and rotten corn, purchased at Stibb's mill, and eaten with an appetite sharpened by a long fast and severe bodily toil. Being skilled in the use of the rifle, his family never suffered for want of venison or other wild meat. Good breadstuffs, however, were not in the country, and the most miserable quality, which the swine of this day would reject, could only be obtained at a great distance, and at one dollar per bushel. His severest trials passed away with the first year.

In the early settlement of the township the milling was done at Beam's, on the Blackfork, and down on the White Woman. The trip to the last named mills was made in canoes. It generally required thirteen days to make it, and, in the first years of immigration, very little corn being raised, it was purchased at the mills at one dollar per bushel. In later years purchases of salt, leather, iron. etc., were made at Sandusky City, or Portland, as it was then called. Coffee sold for fifty cents, in specie, per pound.

Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Fast came to Ohio from Pennsylvania when their son Wilson Fast was a small boy. During the Civil war Wilson was a Union soldier in the One Hundred and Second Ohio Infantry, and was on board the ill fated Sultana on his way home when that awful disaster occurred, but he successfully battled with the waves, and at last reached his home, where he was warmly welcomed by his relatives and friends.

The first schoolhouse, in 1820, was on the old Crouse farm, built of logs, and taught by the late Sage Kellogg.

The first four blacksmiths were Solomon Urie, 1816, and Peter Biddinger, 1818, Robert Lincoln, 1818, and John King at a later period.

Robert Ralston, Sr., was the first carpenter and cabinet maker, in 1820. Alanson Walker and Robert Russell learned the trade of him.

The first wheelwright was George Hall, in 1822.

The first wagon maker was Jacob Young, in 1815.

The first gristmill was erected by Martin Mason, in 1815.

The first Methodist Episcopal church, at Orange, was a frame structure, built in 1829, by Robert Williamson and John P. Anderson. The church was erected under the preaching of Rev. Haney and Hazzard, local preachers.

The first Presbyterian church was the old Hopewell, west of Ashland one and one half. miles. Rev. Matthews and a few members built the church. There was also occasional preaching near Philip Flukes', in Martin Hester's house, in 1828.

The first Baptist service was at the house of Christian Fast, in the west part of Orange township, by John Bigdon, in 1825.

The first turner in wood was Jacob Fast, in 1817.

The first coopers were Thomas and Solomon Urie and John Y. Burge who also made wooden moldboards for plows, as well as plows themselves, from 1820 to 1830.

The first regular wagonmaker in Orange was Fred Nichols, in 1829.

The first doctors in Orange were: John Hannah, 1834; Wiffiam Deming, 1836; Dr. Alden, 1839; John Lambert, 1848; A. McClelland, 1850; J. Deal, 1862; J. Hahn, 1865; and Dr. Crowell, 1871-80.

The first stores: Isaac Cutter, 1828; Cutter, Metcalf, Norris & Co., 1829; Thomas Smurr & Co., 1833; Charles R. Deming, 1835; George W. Uric and Daniel Campbell, 1841.

The first tanners were: Christian Rugh, 1834; Philip Fluke, Jr., 1838; Isaiah Crouse, 1840 to 1845.

The first postmaster at Orange was Vachtel Metcalf, in 1828.

The first tailor in Orange was Brown, in 1829, who made buckskin breeches, moccasins, etc., and Mrs. John Murray, who also made gloves and moccasins of deer skins.

The first shoemakers were C. Biddinger and Philip Biddinger, in 1820-21.

The first gunsmith was Peter Biddinger, who had a shop north of Orange two to three miles, at Culberson's corners.

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