Perry township was surveyed in 1807 by Jonathan Cox. The township was organized September 14, 1814, and had
jurisdiction over the territory of Jackson until 1819. The population of the township in 1820 was five hundred
and fiftyeight; in 1860, one thousand nine hundred and eleven. At the first election, in April, 1825, Daniel Williams
and Daniel Smith were elected trustees, and William Spencer, clerk. Rowsburg is the only town in. the township
and was laid out April 15, 1835, by Michael D. Row. At the time the plat was recorded, there was not an inhabitant
within the limits of what now forms the town. A public sale of lots was held in May, 1835, and the first lot was
sold to Jacob Carr for thirty four dollars. The population of Rowsburg in 1860 was two hundred, but the village
has increased materially in size since that time.
The first church in the township was a Presbyterian organization and was under the care of the Presbytery of Richland
for several years. It was known as the Muddyfork church, so called from the branch of the Mohican by that name,
near to which the house of worship stood. In 1831, by request of the congregation, the name of the church was changed
to Mount Hope. In 1822, a Methodist church organization was formed at the house of John HeUman, since then the
Lutherans, the Albrights and the United Brethren have organized congregations there.
For a number of years there was no demand for farm produce, except by newly arrived immigrants. To them wheat sold
at fifty cents; oats about twelve and a half cents; corn twenty five cents; salt twelve dollars and fifteen dollars
per barrel. A small gristmill on Killbuck creek, constructed of beech poles, covered with split boards called clapboards,
was built previous to 1820 by John Naftsinger. The bolting was done chiefly by hand.
There was an abundance of ginseng root in the forests. There were many who made it a business to gather it' in
the spring of the year. It was worth twenty five cents per pound; and as 'it was one of the few productions of
the country that commanded cash, large quantities were annually gathered.. Michael Row, Sr., under the impression
that the current rates paid by merchants in the country were much below its intrinsic value, transported a load
to Philadelphia, in a one horse wagon, and found it a paying trip.
Deer, raccoon, and wild turkey were plenty. Domestic linen and woolen goods composed the principal material for
male and female dresses. The men were often dressed in buckskin pantaloons. In such attire the early settlers and
their families enjoyed as much true happiness and independence as "Cesar with a senate at his heels."
Indian wigwams were numerous, built with small poles, front partly open, and covered with black ash or white elm
bark, peeled from three to five feet long. Small troughs were made of the ash or elm bark to. save or catch sugar
water, as numbers were to be seen about large sugar trees that had been notched a number of years previous, the
notches being covered with a new formation of wood amounting in thickness to two or three inches. Many trinkets
or jewelry were found on cultivating the land. In the fall of 1822 there were nine Indian men and three squaws
came in and encamped near the same ground for the purpose of hunting and trapping.
A pioneer said: "Day wages were about fifty cents in trade in harvest; fifty cents or a bushel of wheat for
reaping; little cradling done in harvest. Grain was threshed mostly with horses, though some was done with the
flail. Flax was raised for the lint. Every housewife and maiden could spin flax or wool, and nearly one half of
them could weave. The price of spinning was a shilling a dozen, or by the week seventy five cents, and twelve and
a half cents for weaving linen, such as was worn for shirts; weaving of coarser fabrics, less. Muslin shirts were
not worn. Female apparel consisted chiefly of home made linen, linsey, or flannel, each endeavoring to excel in
quality as well as variety. When muslin was first used among laboring men it cost twenty five cents to thirty eight
cents per yard."
In 1815 or 1816, (about twenty years before Rowsburg was laid out) an effort was made by John Raver to establish
a town on the Wooster road between the present site of Rowsburg and the Muddyfork.
Beyond the naming of the village, which was called Elizabethtown, and the offering of some lots at a public sale,
no progress was made in building up the proposed town, and the scheme was abandoned.
There were two churches in the township in 1824: one Presbyterian, called Mount Hope, near the northeast corner
of the township; the other a Lutheran, on the south side of the township. The size of each was about thirty by
thirtyfive feet, and both were built of hewn logs.
The first person who died in the township was James Campbell. His body was removed to Wooster for interment.
The first grist and sawmill in Perry township was erected by John Raver, in 1818, on the present site of the mill
owned by Arthur Campbell, about onefourth of a mile north of Rowsburg, on what is known as Raver's Run. This mill,
when built, was not only the first in the township, but aiso the first within what is now the limits of Ashland
county. Prior to this, corn and corn meal were obtained on Owl creek, at Odell's, and at Stibb's, near Wooster.
It is supposed from the large number that were discovered and killed in the vicinity, that a rattlesnake den existed
in a ledge of rocks near the northwest corner of land later owned by Mr. Cory.