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



Vermillion township was surveyed in 1807 and was organized in 1816, by the commissioners of Richland county. The first settlement in the county was made in 1811, by George Eckley. He built a cabin in the locality later known as Goudy's mills. There were no towns at that time nearer than Wooster and Mansfield. Ashland had not made its appearance, and the village of Hayesville did not exist even in the mind of the most hopeful pioneer of the locality. There were two Indian villages, Jerometown and Greentown nearer Mr. Eckley's than were Wooster and Mansfield. Jerometown was the residence of the notorious Captain Pipe.

In 1815, the first public road was laid out through what is now Vermillion township. It ran from Wooster to Mansfield, and was quite a help to the settlement, as it was a direct route from the eastern portion of the state to the western. The lands along the road were bought and settled in a short time. Emigrants traveling west had to camp out at night, as there was no hotel then, and that condition continued until 1817, at which time a public house was established by Linus Hayes, at Hayes' cross roa ds, who provided food for man and beasts. At that time there was neither schools nor churches in the township. In 1816, a small church building was erected by Mr. Eckley, which was the first building for that purpose and at the same place and about the same time a graveyard was laid out, and Constance Lake was the first person buried in it. The church building was used by all denominations and was known as "Eckley's Meeting House."

In the year 1829, a town was projected by Robert Williams, two miles west of the present village of Hayesville and the name of Williamsburg was given it. But it did not thrive and no building marks the place formerly occupied by its plat.

The first school in the township was in the Bushnell district, and was taught by Miss Sedelia Bushnell, in 1821.

STEELING G. BUSHNELL, SR.
Was borne in Hartford county, Connecticut, in 1770, and emigrated to Trumbull county, Ohio, in 1806. He left Connecticut in December, 1805, and journeyed on sleds with his wife and five children. On the route he was joined by a number of other families. The most of the route was through the forest of eastern and northern New York. He passed directly to Albany, and thence to near Buffalo, on the lake. He and his traveling companions generally camped by the wayside at night, scraping the snow aside and erecting a sort of tent or screen of bedquilts to protect their families against the storms and cold. The forests were infested by large numbers of ferocious wolves. To protect himself against these animals, he generally encamped near a dead tree, which he set on ftre. When they reached the Hudson the ice was somewhat weakened by a thaw. Fearing to cross it with his teams, he took the sled and children and hauled it by hand to the western side, leaving his wife and horse to follow.

After he had landed she mounted and followed, and when about midway of the stream, the ice broke with a tremendous roar. Re stood appalled at the sight, expecting to see his wife and horse disappear beneath the floating ice. Fortunately, she floated on a large piece of ice which drifted to the western shore, some distance below him. Watching its approach to land, when it touched the bank, she applied her whip vigorously to the sides of the horse on which she was seated, and aided by this stimulus, it gave a great leap, fastened upon and ascended the bank in safety. Great was his joy over the providential escape. From near the city of Buffalo the whole party kept up the lake shore. By examination they found that the ice was sufficiently strong to bear their teams, and hence, followed it until they reached the northwest corner of Pennsylvania, when they learned from an old Indian chief of the Senecas where they were, and the proper route from there to Trumbull county, Ohio. When he arrived at the residence of his brother, William Bushnell, who had preceded him one year, his wife gave birth to a child about twb hours after his arrival Jonathan Bushnell. Mr. Bushnell resided in Trumbull county about fifteen years.

In May, 1821, he emigrated to near the present site of the town of Hayesville in Vermillion township. When he arrived he was fifty one years old. The township was sparsely settled, and he entered upon pioneer life in. earnest, purchasing eighty acres of land, upon which his son, Thomas Bushnell, now resides, of Joseph Lake, of Wooster, for forty dollars. It proved to be a fine bargain. He commenced improvements upon it by the erection of a comfortable log cabin, in which he resided for many years.

Mr. Bushnell died at his homestead in Vermillion township, August 16, 1846, aged seventy four years. He was the father of the late Dr. William Bushnell and the grandfather of the Hon. M. B. Bushnell of Mansfield, who is vice president of the Richland County Historical Society and a life member of The Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Sociery.

When Mr. Workman came to the country the territory of Vermillion and Montgomery were united in one township, under the name of the former; and Robert Newell and James Wallace were the two justIces of the peace. Mr. Workman was elected in 1817, and was the successor of Mr. Wallace.

Indian Neighbors.
His nearest neighbors were Johnnycake and his squaw. He was a quiet friendly neighbor, and Mr. Workman took his first lessons in hunting wild game of this Indian.

John Scott immigrated to Verniillion township March 22, 1819, having purchased two hundred and twenty acres on the west line of the township.

On the 7th of January, 1831, Mr. Scott opened the first stock of goods ever offered at Hayes X-Roads.

As evidence of the integrity of his customers at that time, Mr. Scott says that, during the first four years of his business life in Hayesville, he has no recollection of having lost a dollar by bad debts. With reference to girls who supported themselves by weekly wages, he generally gave credit when it was asked, and the money was always promptly paid, according to promise.

Not until several years after Mr. Palmer came (in 1811) to the country, was there any church building in the township. The first clergymen were Presbyterian missionaries, who, in traveling to and from their missions among the Senecas and Wyandots, made it a practice for many years to preach at the house of Mr. Palmer and others. The first church building erected in the township stood upon land now owned by Joseph Boyd, and occupied the place near where Mr. Boyd's mill now stands. It was a very large building for the time, belonged to the Methodist denomination, was made of unhewn logs, and erected in about 1818. To aid in raising the building, persons came from Mansfield and other places equally distant. When quarterly meetings were held in this building, they were generally attended by people from a great distance. So utterly unable were residents of the neighborhood to entertain their friends from abroad, that the latter would often bring with them their supplies of food, cooking utensils, bed clothing, etc., and during the intervals when the church was not used for divine service, the capacious wooden fireplace would be used by the women, cooking food for themselves and families, in fact, converting the building into one for eating and lodging, as well as for religious purposes. This necessity was the result, not of any want of hospitality, but of the absence of food and house room existing in the vicinity.

Mr. Palmer said the sight of a physician to the people then residing here would be as great a curiosity as a wild Indian among the present generation. Their coarse, wholesome food, and active lives, secured the health of the inhabitants, and obviated the necessity for physicians.

William Karnahan emigrated from Jefferson county, Ohio, April 16, 1815, with his family. The country at this date was very sparsely settled, his nearest neighbor being Mr. Emerine, located one and a half miles distant. About this distance from where he erected his cabin, on the farm later owned by Mr. Stoufer, a den of rattlesnakes was discovered, near the entrance to which as many as twenty five were killed in a single day. Another den, on or near the farm later owned by Robert Cowan, as many as seventy five of these reptiles were killed in a single day. On one occasion the family were assailed by a panther, who approached the house on an evening within a few rods, and only disappeared after the family had secured the doors and windows of their cabin, and kindled a brilliant fire.

John Farver immigrated to Vermillion township, with his wife and two children, on the 29th of April, 1817, and commenced improvements on his farm, being the west half of the northeast quarter of section 2.

The nearest mill at this time was Shrimplin's on Owl creek. The trip occupied from four to six days, and was made with four horses and a wagon, which would carry from forty to fifty bushels.

There was no wheat raised or for sale in the county at this time. Corn would bring eighty and one hundred cents. The animal food was principally venison and other wild game. About 1819 and 1820 the county began to raise a surplus of agricultural products, and from this time forward until the completion of the Ohio canal, produce would hardly bear transportation to market, (which was then Sandusky City). Mr. Harper on one occasion took a load of flour to market and exchanged his flour for salt, giving two barrels of flour and half a dollar in cash for each barrel of salt. The first substantial encouragement given the farming and industrial interests was the market afforded by the completion of the Ohio canal to Massillon.

At a meeting of the Ashland Pioneer Society held in 1876, Thomas Bushnell being called upon, responded by giving a short history of his life and stated that he was born in Trumbull county, Ohio, in 1815. His father removed to Hayesville in 1821 and settled on the same place which he (Thomas) then owned.

The first wheat, within the recollection of Mr. Bushnell, offered for cash, was about 1822 or 1823, at the mill built by Lake and Bentley, and at the time referred to owned by Lake and Larwill, and which mill was better known in recent times as Goudy's mill, in the southeast part of Vermilion township. One hundred bushels were offered on this occasion for twenty five dollars.

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