Jefferson Township lies along the eastern boundary of Franklin County, being bounded on the north by Plain Township,
on the east by Licking County, on the south by Truro and on the west by Mifflin Township. It is exactly five miles
square and, under its present name and boundaries, was established in 1816. For the most part level, the township
is broken up into very pretty scenes by rolling and hilly land along the streams, the principal of which are Black
Lick and Big Walnut, with the tributary of the latter, Rocky Fork. These picturesque spots are attracting the attention
of suburban dwellers and a number of handsome places have within the past few years been developed where not long
ago the land was considered of little value. An orchard industry also has had a start at these favorable locations
for the growth of fruit trees.
The northeastern quarter of this township originally belonged to General Jonathan Dayton, who platted in one hundred
acre tracts and sold most of it to residents of New Jersey, who bought it without first seeing it and then moved
to their new homes Among these early settlers from New Jersey were Daniel Dague, Moses Ogden, Peter Francisco,
William Headley, Michael Stagg, Abraham Stagg, Jacob Thorp, Jacob and John H. Smith, Jonathan Whitehead, Isaac
Baldwin, Joseph Edgar, John Kelso, Michael Neiswanger, S. Mann, Michael Rhodes, Isaac Painter, John Inks, Joseph
Compton, John Davenport, William Havens, and William Armstrong. The crossroads settlements known as Headley's Corners
and Havens Corners, where once postoffices were located, still keep alive the memories of two of these pioneers
and until a few years back the Headley farm was run and operated by a descendant of the original settler. Jacob
Thorp was one of the most active of the pioneers. He built the first mill on Black Lick and was prominent in all
public work. He finally entered the ministry and returned to New Jersey. The Edgars were always prominent in the
community, one of them, Joseph Edgar, being township trustee for forty years.
The Pennsylvania and the Baltimore railroads run side by side, occupying, indeed, the same tracks, from east to
west through the township and parallelling them just south is the Columbus and Granville Highway, one of the main
traveled roads of this part of the state, as it divides with the National Road the traffic between Columbus and
Licking County. On the railroad are located the villages of Black Lick and Taylor Station, neither of which is
incorporated. The section in which Taylor Station is located was bought in 1850 by David Taylor, progenitor of
one of the most prominent families in Columbus, and he laid out the village. It is now a center of a large brickmaking
industry. Black Lick was originally known as Smithville, being named for William A. Smith, who platted it in 1852,
two years after Taylor Station was laid out.
The schools of this township have attained a high degree of proficiency, that at Taylor Station being housed in
an impressive structure. The memory of one of the pioneer teachers, however, still lingers. Miss Worthy Mitchem,
who began in 1824 her quarter century career as teacher in Jefferson Township, made a deep impression on the public
mind and inculcated a sentiment for education which has never been permitted to die out. She was preceded by Joseph
Edgar, who opened the first school in 1816. Those schools, of the rough pioneer type so far as equipment was concerned,
were maintained as elsewhere by private subscription.
A valuable quarry, in which was found a sandstone of a superior quality, was discovered on lands owned by S. R.
Armstrong, east of Black Lick, and was worked for many years. Stone from this quarry was used in the construction
of the blind asylum, the Columbus Union Station, the Panhandle roundhouse and many other buildings in Columbus
There has long been a belief that natural gas or oil deposits underlie parts of this township and lands have been
leased for experimental drilling on several occasions, but the matter has never been fully investigated.
The Catholic sisterhood which conducts the affairs of Mt. Carmel hospital in Columbus, a few years ago bought and
is now operating a big farm on Broad Street in this township and a short distance from the farm headquarters is
a booster power plant for the reenforcement of the lighting system which extends all the way out on this main highway.