History of Marion Township, Franklin County OH

From: History of Franklin County, Ohio
By: Opha Moore
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka - Indianapolis, 1930


Marion Township, which lies east and south of the city of Columbus, is fast going the way of the political divisions abutting on that municipality. It has already lost most of its territory to Columbus and the suburban city of Bexley, and the rest of it is going rapidly. Only the southeast corner remains as a distinct political entity, as the city of Columbus recently reached beyond Bexley and incorporated into its own municipality a large territory east of that suburban city.

The township was originally bounded on the north by Clinton and Mifflin Townships, on the east by Truro Townships, on the south by Hamilton Township and on the west by the Scioto River. Now it is hemmed in on the west and north by Columbus and Bexley. The latter, a residential community of the highest and most exclusive type, is now a city, having, according to the 1930 census, a population of 7412. The township was settled along Alum Creek, which was originally a handsome stream, but has become polluted by city sewage, and the problem of clarifying and purifying it is just now being worked out. The first settlements in the township were made in 1799, when David Nelson, Sr., located his home south of where Columbus now stands. Nelson Road, the beautiful thoroughfare running along the west bank of Alum Creek within the city of Columbus, is named for the family, which for many years operated a grist mill on the creek, about where Long Street crosses that stream. The old Nelson home was long remarkable for an enormous sycamore tree which stood in front of it, but was sacrificed to the exigencies of traffic.

William Hamilton, another early pioneer, settled close to Mr. Nelson, and the farm which he owned is in part still in the hands of his descendants. John White, a veteran of the Revolution, settled on what is now Livingston Avenue, and the last remnant of his big farm was a few years ago platted and sold at high figures as city lots. It was in the possession then of Mrs. J. C. Campbell, a direct descendant of the pioneer.

Colonel Edward Livingston, a member of the prominent New York family of that name, came to Marion Township about the same time as the aforementioned, and bought a large tract of land on Alum Creek. One part of that tract is still in the possession of a descendant. The street and main traveled road known as Livingston Avenue got its name from Colonel Livingston. That gentleman married a daughter of David Nelson, Sr., took an active part in public affairs, and was made associate judge of the Franklin County courts.

William Merion and William Palmer came to Marion Township in 1807 and both founded families and large estates. The Merion family at one time owned about 1800 acres of land in this county. It was divided by inheritance and sale, but a large tract of highly valuable land on South High Street was farmed up to within a few years by Captain Charles Merion, a descendant of the pioneer. Merion road was named for the family, and it has been claimed that the township got its title from them, but it was in fact so named in memory of the Revolutionary general who, as the "Swamp Angel," was such a thorn in the British side during the Revolutionary struggle in the South.

The first starch factory in the West was built on South High Street, in Marion Township, by Julius J. Wood, a prominent citizen who died in the early eighties. Mr. Wood was prominent not only in Columbus, but throughout the nation as well. He was at one time national Republican committeeman from Ohio and was during the Civil War a close friend and adviser of President Lincoln. His handsome old residence on South High Street is still standing, being used as an office building by one of the numerous corporations operating there. South High Street, in fact, both inside the city limits and just outside, and all the adjacent territory in the township, is a hive of big industry, and farther south is a continuous series of highly developed market gardens.

In the southeastern part of the township is located the Franklin County infirmary and for some years a tuberculosis hospital was maintained just south of the infirmary. Still farther south was the model farm owned by the Josephinum Catholic College, and just across the road from the infirmary is the only orthodox Jewish cemetery in the township.

Another public charitable institution, the County Children's Home, is situated in Marion Township, and Bexley, formerly a part of the township, can now boast two colleges, the Lutheran College on Main Street and a new institution of learning on Broad Street erected by the Catholic diocese of Columbus.

The township was originally rich in churches, but the inroads of the city have alienated the residents from their rural associations and most of the church going inhabitants are now members of city congregations.

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