Hamilton Township lies in the southern tier of townships, stretching from Marion Township and the limits of
the city of Columbus to the Pickaway County line, and being bounded on the west by the Scioto River and on the
east by Madison Township. Indeed, the city of Columbus is already encroaching on its territory on the north, and
the Chillicothe pike, which traverses it from north to south and is as handsomely paved as a city street, is closely
built up by gardeners and persons employed in the city. The soil of almost the entire township is as rich corn
land as could be found anywhere. In the Scioto bottoms this cereal attains enormous size and produces extraordinary
crops and the land is so rich that it lends itself most readily to the efforts of the forced production of vegetables
for the city market. In the southern part of the township the corn is invariably a week or two in advance of the
corn in the eastern part of Franklin County and much more than that in advance of corn in the hilly country farther
east. Bisected by the Chillicothe Pike, known in this section as South High Street, is one of the most famous farms
in the country, that assembled and developed by the late Dr. Samuel B. Hartman, who made many millions by the manufacture
and sale of a patent medicine. This farm at one time contained in the neighborhood of five thousand acres and,
although some tracts have been sold, is still of mammoth proportions for this section of the Union. Every branch
of agriculture and stockraising which was feasible was represented at this model farm, which, in its scientific
developments, almost approached the importance of an agricultural experiment station. The Hartman horses, cattle
and poultry were shown at all the big agricultural fairs and stock shows and won their full share of the prizes.
The Hartman mule teams, four, six and eight to the hitch and so trained that they could be guided with a "jerk
line," were the admiration of everybody who loved harness animals. Dr Hartman was anxious to obtain for his
farm the famous twenty mule team used in advertising borax products throughout the country and offered what was
then the enormous sum of $20,000 for the well trained hitch, but the offer was refused. A small village, sufficient
to itself, with every convenience, was built up at farm headquarters and Dr. Hartman constructed an electric railway
south from the southern extremity of Columbus along the Chillicothe Pike to this village and beyond it for the
convenience of his employes and the people associated with the farm life. This electric line, succumbing before
the competition of the gasoline omnibus, was abandoned and scrapped in 1929.
The lands in Hamilton Townhip came into the market in 1800 and the township has always played an important part
in the life of the county. The township originally formed a part of Liberty and Harrison Townships, whose names
and organization were long since lost, and was organized under its present name in 1807. When Marion Township was
formed the two northern tiers of sections in Hamilton were detached and became a part of the new township. Among
the first settlers were John Dill, Michael Fisher, Percival Adams, Thomas Morris, James Culbertson, George W. Williams,
Robert Shannon and his six sons, the Weatheringtons, the Stewarts, the Stombaughs and the Johnstons. Part of the
old Johnston farm on the Groveport Pike was still in the possession of Washington Johnston, a descendent of a pioneer
of that name and a prominent actor in the Democratic politics of the county, until his death a few years ago, and
the Weatherington farm at Valley Crossing still bears its original name and is owned in the family. This farm was
the scene in 1893 of the mysterious death of Frank Shepherd, a young divinity student who had just graduated at
Ohio State University and whose almost destroyed body was found in the ashes of a straw stack that had evidently
been set fire to hide the evidences of the crime.
The Ohio Canal, which ran through the township, gave it advantages of commerce and made Lockbourne, a village of
302 inhabitants on the east bank of Big Walnut Creek near its confluence with the Scioto, of considerable importance
in the days of canal transportation. The canal was long ago abandoned but there are still to be seen small sections
of it near Groveport and its course is still marked with the remains of locks and berm banks. Close to Lockbourne
were formerly the remains of a prehistoric fort which have been almost obliterated by the plow and several Indian
mounds are still to be seen in the township. Between Lockbourne and Shadeville, to the north of a beautiful road
which in its windings follows the old trail along the creek banks, is one of the most impressive cemeteries in
Central Ohio. It is on rolling ground, the highest point of which forms a beautifully sloping hill, and here are
laid many of those iron men of the pioneer race and their wives and children.
The township is bountifully watered by the Scioto on the west and the Big Walnut, originally known as the Gahanna
River, in the southeastern corner. Both these streams at time of freshet overflow the surrounding country, carrying
away crops occasionally, but the richness of their bottom lands more than counterbalances this occasional loss.
Despite the fact of its being thickly populated, the township has but two incorporated villages, Lockbourne and
Shadeville, the latter with a population of 201, according to the 1930 census. The Hocking Valley and the Norfolk
and Western Railroad cross the township and at their intersection, which is an important transfer station, there
is a considerable hamlet, Valley Crossing, but it is not incorporated.
The richness of the soil early attracted pioneers to the township after the first settlers had established the
proof of its value for farming and among these was Alexander Harrison, Sr., who had served throughout the War of
Independence and was one of the guards at Independence Hall, Philadelphia, at the time of the adoption of the Declaration
of Independence. Samuel Purse11, who arrived from Pennsylvania in 1809, was famed as a "mighty Nimrod,"
and was one of those who furnished game for the neighborhood. Asa Dunn, another early arrival, settled where Shadeville
now stands and started a corn mill and distillery, both of which met a need of the times. Michael Stimmel and his
wife, with two children, came from Virginia in 1810 riding the entire distance on horseback, each carrying a child.
Their descendants formed an influential and well known family and are still represented in the county's life. The
name is preserved as the title of one of the well traveled highways of the township. Sarah Fisher, wife of Michael
Fisher, was the mother of the first child born in the township. The birth was in the year 1800 and the child afterward
became the wife of Arthur O'Harra, another name that has been carried down through the years. There were doubtless
earlier burials in the beautiful Walnut Hill burying ground, mentioned above, but the earliest that is marked with
a stone was that of John Hornbacker, who died in February, 1811.
The first road was naturally laid out along the trail between Chillicothe and Franldinton, now known as South High
Street, and on this a tavern, the first in the township, was built by George W. Williams. Schools, when first established,
were long held in private log cabins, the teachers being paid under the old subscription plan and including men
and women whose names are still remembered. Among them were John Lusk, Samuel Clark, Andrew Armstrong and Ellen
The clerical was represented before the medical profession, although in the river bottoms the ague took its toll
of suffering before the forests were cleared off and the land drained. Rev. James Quinn, a circuit rider of the
old, enthusiastic type, was piloted into the wilderness of Ezekiel Hills in 1804 and established a Methodist society.
Rev. M. Foster, of the Evangelical Lutheran denomination, came in 1812 and remained two years, holding meetings
at the cabins of the settlers. In 1812 Rev. Charles Henkel of the same sect entered the community and in 1821 under
his leadership a church of logs was built. This organization has been kept up ever since and is now represented
by the St. Matthews Evangelical Lutheran Church. The Methodists put up a frame meeting house in 1833 and in 1856
a Methodist congregation was organized at Shadeville. In 1843 the United Brethren built a church at Lockbourne,
but later, meeting much opposition from the rougher element which was attracted by the canal system, disbanded
and the church building became the Lockbourne town hall. Among the long line of physicians who have practised in
the township may be mentioned Dr. Jeremiah Clark, the first on the scene; Dr. Holbrook, the first practitioner
in Lockbourne; Dr. J. R. Marshall, who represented the county in the General Assembly of the state from 1866 to
1868; Dr. Davis, the first in Shadeville; Drs. N. Boales, Carl, H. L. Cheney, Carney, R. G. McLane, I. N. Robinson,
H. C. Blake, M. A. Boner, W. I Scott, O. P. Brinker, M. M. Stimmel and W. H. Blake.
The little village of Shadeville was laid out by A. G. Hibbs, and named in honor of his wife, whose maiden name
was Shade. The name of the village, in the days of the speaking theater, was used frequently on the stage by topical
singers of visiting vaudeville troupes according to an ancient custom of the class. Shadeville has a pretty location
and for many years was able to boast an excellent tavern.