THIS township occupies a position in the eastern tier of townships of Madison County, bordering on Franklin
County, and is the second township from the south line of the county, and is bounded as follows: On the north by
Jefferson Township, on the east by Franklin County, on the south by Pleasant and Oak Run Townships, and on the
west by Oak Run and Union Townships. It was erected much later than most of the others in the county. By the records
we find the following recorded June 2, 1835: “At a meeting of the Commissioners of Madison County, present Burton
Blizzard, Thomas Jones and Jacob Garrard, on petition being presented, ordered, that the following bounds compose
a new township to be known and de&gnated by the name of Fairfield. Beginning at the northeast corner of R.
Means’ Survey, No. 5,046; thence to the northeast corner of John Beck’s Survey, Nos. 11,096 and 12,141; thence
to the line between Madison and Franklin Counties (passing ten poles south of Thomas Durffinger’s house), thence
with said line south so far that a west line will just leave Hiram Tipton’s in Pleasant Township; thence west to
Deer Creek; thence up the creek to the county road from Robinson’s Mill to Jefferson, thence with the west boundary
of said road to the easterly line of D. Bradford’s Survey, No. 3.973, thence with said line to the place of beginning.”
On the records, bearing date December 7, 1841, we find the following change of line between Fairfield and Union
Townships, viz.: “At a meeting of the Commissioners of Madison County, a petition was presented praying for an
alteration in the line between Fairfield and Union Townships; wherefore, it is ordered that said line be established
as follows: Beginning where the lower lihe of John Evans’ Survey, No: 4,124, crosses Deer Creek, thence with said
Evans’ line to his southeast corner (so as to include Thomas Chenoweth), thence with the east line of David Bradley’s
Survey, No. 3,973, to the Jefferson road.”
From the lack of any records of Fairfield Township, we are unable to give any information regarding her early elections,
or any record of her first officials, as there is not even a “tally-sheet “ preserved prior to 1879.
SURFACE, SOIL, ETC.
Fairfield Township is much like Deer Creek Township and in fact much like the greater portion of Madison County
in its surface and soil is very level, with slight undulations, especially along the creeks, as it has no large
stream within its territory. In its original state. as the first settlers found it. there were quite large tracts
of prairie scattered here and there over its surface, which was covered with a heavy sedge, which constituted quite
a sustenance and helped to support the stock of the early settlers. The soil is principally deep, rich and composed
mainly of loam and clay, with a limestone gravel as a subsoil, and being very flat and level and of a nature to
hold water, was originally very wet and much of it, in wet seasons, covered with water; but which in later years
is being ditched and drained, so that it constitutes excellent farms equally adapted for grass or grain. The timber
portion of the township was never what could be called heavily timbered, consisting principally of white and burr
oak and hickory. Like a great portion of Madison County, this township has never held great attractions in the
line of heavy or valuable timber; hence, we would not expect to find any extensive business carried on here in
the way of saw-mills or dealing in lumber, as is the case in some counties. One great attraction to the first settIers
of this township and county was the prevalence of vast numbers of deer and other game, especially of the former,
which were often seen in large herds, and it is said that probably no section of the State contained in an early
day such vast numbers of deer, and held out such attractions to the hunter as did this county. Hence we find many
of the first settlers here were “squatters,” sportsmen, who located temporarily for the purpose of hunting and
killing deer and other game, and they located along the creeks and streams and localities most frequented by these
herds of deer, and there erected their rough and temporary cabins, and for a time gave their great attention to
hunting. Finally, as game became scarce, they removed to other and fresher hunting grounds in the West, their places
being filled here by the permanent settler, who located to make a home and a farm.
Not a hundred years ago this section of country was occupied by savages in their paint and wigwams. Next came the
hunters and trappers following in their trail, with just a degree more of civilization and comfort. Then the pioneer
settler appeared in his rude pole and log cabin, and these supplanted by substantial and comfortable hewed-log
houses; and these again by good, attractive frame and brick houses. And finally, here and there, scattered over
the now thickly populated country, and in the wealthy cities and their suburbs, appear the palatial mansions. What
wonderful changes and progress in so brief a period! And not only is this progress and comfort exhibited in the
dwellings and habitations of our people, but even a greater advance and progress has been made in all the arts
and sciences. The invention of machinery, by which to expedite and carry on the work of agriculture with ease;
the wonderful application of machinery to spinning, weaving and the manufacture of clothing and wearing apparel,
and the astonishing result of application of steam power for manufacturing purposes, and in the transportation
of the people and products of one section of the country to another. And Madison County and Fairfield Township
have experienced and exhibited in their history these vast changes and progress. The log cabin of the pioneer,
with its clapboard roof, greased paper windows and latch-string door are things of the past. The old wooden mold-board
plow has been supplanted by the improved cast-steel and sulky plows. The sickle and the cradle—those implements
so slow and tedious, and back-ache and side-straining tools, are now supplanted with the easy and rapid-working
reaper and self-binder—the acme of genius.
The pioneer sold his corn at 6¼ to 12 cents per bushel; wheat at 25 to 40 cents, and often hauled it many
miles to market over almost impassable mud roads, to get even those prices. Now, a short distance from his door,
and that mostly over a good piked road, is the railroad station, where he can sell his grain, and it is shipped
t0 distant markets in any part of the country, and he obtains a good price for all he has to sell; and not only
his grain, but for all his stock and products of his farm.
The first settlers spun, wove and made all their fabrics and clothing. The buckskin pants of the hunter, the tow
shirt of the pioneer and the linsey-woolsey for the women, all had their day and were succeeded by the finer and
more attractive cloth and dress goods of the present generation. All this is well and shows the inventive genius
and progress of our people. And as we vew in retrospect this wonderful progress and development of our country
and its people, it is to be regretted that society is rapidly being formed into castes, each of which, possessing
different degrees of intellect or financial ability, is becoming socially isolated one from the other, tending
to produce an aristocracy, a mediocrity and a commonalty, which in their extremes tend to weaken our usefulness
and progress, and produce unhappiness by back-bitings and efforts to pull down the one and build up the other.
In the days of the good old. pioneers, when neighbors were few and far between, how warm and friendly were their
greetings! They would then go miles through the woods to assist one another to erect their log cabins.. They would
exchange help in manual labor, or in the necessary provisions and commodities of life, and cheer and encourage
each other in the arduous duties of opening out and subduing this then wilderness.
Then the tow shirt and linsey dress were ample habiliments in which to mingle in worship in the house of God. The
heart was satisfied; they loved God, and they loved each other. The eye had not learned to long for the gaudiness
of dress, and when they met together to worship, the heart worshiped and not the eye. Mi were sociable and friendly;
all were traveling the same road, with the same object in view—a home, comfort, happiness, peace and heaven. In
the present age of wonderful progress, in all that pertains to the prosecution of the various branches of business
in life, to acquire wealth and the comfort it brings, let the people nor forget the social and moral obligations
they owe each to the other. And while man seems to be approaching Deity in inventive genius, may he advance and
progress in a like ratio in his social, moral and religious obligations to his fellow-man, and let more of that
true love and friendship of the worthy old pioneer be cultivated to the great comfort, prosperity and happiness
of the people.
As mentioned above, in speaking of the surface and soil, this township has no large streana within its territory;
yet, from the flatness of the country and the nature of its soil, it is generally well watered for stock purposes.
There is very little water-power for mill or manufacturing purposes, and very little demand for such, as this is
strictly an agricultural and stockraising township, having but comparatively little timber of value, but possessed
of a deep, rich soil, well adapted to the raising of stock and the cultivation of grain, and these have monopolized
the capital and attention of her people.
The largest stream is Deer Creek, which passes through the southwest. em corner of the township, entering the township
from Oak Run and running in a southern or southeastern course about half a mile, thence it turns south and continues
about one mile and enters Pleasant Township. The next largest stream is Opossum Run, known in an early day as Plum
Run. It takes its rise on the George Hume farm, and takes a general southeast course to near the line of Franklin
County, thence takes a southern course and enters Pickaway County. Its present name was given it by John Phebis
and Isaac McHenry, two of the early settlers who came up the creek from Yankeetown, in Fayette County, seeking
a location. As they were traveling up the stream, they were suddenly startled by a large opossum,
with a large brood of young ones clinging to the old one; these they killed, and on their journey returning they
came upon another which they also killed, from which circumstance they gave it the name Opossum Run, by which it
has ever since been known.
A little southwest of the last-mentioned stream is Lubbergut Creek it takes its rise in the southern portion of
the township, and runs in a southeastern course and enters Pleasant Township. Its name originated as follows: A
large fleshy man by the name of Mantle, who weighed 480 pounds avoirdupois, and who lived near the creek, was accustomed
to altnost daily cross the creek on a foor-log. Two neighbors thought they would have a little fun with the ponderous
and weighty Mr. Mantle, so they sawed the foot-log from the under side nearly through, and the next time Mr. Mantle
attempted to go across on the log, down went the log, Mr. Mantle and all, and gave him quite a wetting in the creek,
since which incident the creek has ever been known by the euphonious name of Lubbergut Run or Creek. West of this
is a small stream called Tortle Run, which rises on or near F. L. Young’s farm, runs southwest and enters Pleasant
Township. There are no other streams of any size within the limits of the township.
Enoch Thomas came from “High Knob,” Va., and settled on Opossum Run on land now owned by John Heath, in 1807.
He was a man of excellent Christian character, a great worker in the United Brethren Church, and was the leading
active man in organizing the church, which has since been known as the “Thomas Chapel.” His house was ever open
to their minisLers and his hospitality never exhausted. He lived on the place where he hrst settled till his death,
September 31, 1851, aged seventy-nine years. Ele married Jemima Phebis, who died June 17, 1822, aged forty-five
years. He married for his second wife Mrs. Foster, née Dorcas Clark. She died ‘October 23, 1842, aged sixty-one
years. At a very early day, Mr. Thomas erected a brick house, which, it is said by some, was the first built in
John Phebis, a native of Kentucky. who was an early settler at Yankeetown, Fayette County. Ohio, from whence he
came to Madison County and settled on the land where Judge E. O. Fitzgerald now lives, in 1807. Mr. Phebis was
a great hunter and devoted himself principally to that occupation; was a lively, jovial man, yet a very sociable
neighbor and a good citizen. But as this county became settled up and the game scarce, he desired better and more
extensive hunting-grounds, and he removed West to the Ozark Mountains in Missouri. He subsequently, became a settler
in Indiana, where he died, and some of his children still reside in that State.
David Dennison, in 1807. settled on the land now owned by B. W. Noland, on Opossum Run. He died October 1, 1823.
Jonathan Benjamin settled on land now owned by D. D. Downing; was a native of New Jersey. Isaac and Daniel Long
settled where W. B. Fitzgerald now lives, about 1808; the latter was a preacher in the New Light Chureli. William
Ware came from Kentucky and settled on the tract of land now occupied by the village of California, about 1810
or 1812. He served as Sheriff of the county and was quite a leading, prominent man of that day. James Blair, better
known in former days as “Big Jim,” came from Kentucky and settied here about 1813. He died September 20, 1816,
and his remains rest in the Fitzgerald Cemetery. Robert Thomas, a native of Virginia, settled on a tract of land
just east of California, about 1815; the land is still in the possession of his descendants, and his history with
a large family of the Thomas name is fully written in the biographical sketch of his grandson, Robert Thomas, in
this work. Thomas Dennison settled where William D. Pringle now lives in 1815. Charles Henderson, a native of Virginia,
came to this county with a surveying party as a chain-carrier, and became a settler of this township very early.
Richard Newland settled here about 1818. Joseph Jackson came from New Jersey to Cincinnati in 1818. In 1819, settled
near London, this county, and, in 1820, settled in Fairfield Township, on the land where his son Amos now lives,
where he resided till his death, in January, 1861, aged eighty-three years. He was a suecessful hunter; knew just
when and where to hunt; and yet he never let hunting interfere with his other business, and made hunting quite
profitable. He fully experienced the hardships of pioneer life. He worked for 25 cents per day, sold corn from
10 to 12 cents per bushel, bacon for $1.25 per hundred pounds, and chopped and split rails for 25 cents per hundred.
William Cartmill was a pioneer from Kentucky, and, in the spring of 1813, came to Franklin County, Ohio, and, in
1824 or 1825, located in this ‘county. John F. Chenoweth was born in Mason County, Ky., September 15, 1793. in
1799, settled with his parents in Ross County, Ohio, and, in 1800, they settled on the Big Darby, Franklin County.
He married Margaret Furguson March 21, 1811, and lived on his father’s place till 1820; he purchased land in Madison
County, where he has since resided. Edward and Lewis Godfrey settled here about 1825. The former died June 8. 1833,
aged forty-seven years. The latter died June 3, 1838. aged fiftytwo years. James Byers, a native of Pennsylvania,
settled in Ross County in 1806. In 1826, settled in the north part of Fairfield Township, Madison County. He was
an excellent man, whose life and history is preserved in this volume.
George Hume and his wife, Ann (Scott) Hume, settled here in 1826. Mr. Hume died March 20, 1856. Mrs. flume still
lives and resides with her daughter, Mrs. Edwards, at Lilly Chapel, now eighty-eight years of age; for a full history
of their pioneer life, see sketch of Samuel H. Edwards. A. Q. Bennett settled about the same year with Mr. Hume.
Judge Edward O. Fitzgerald and William B. Fitzgerald settled where they still reside, the former in 1829 and the
latter in 1828. Judge Fitzgerald is well and favorably known throughout Madison County and several adjoining counties.
He has been identified with this county in its growth and progress for more than half a century, and is one of
her most honored and respected citizens. Jeremiah Joimson settled on land now owned by J. C. Byers in 1831; he
was a native of New Jersey; in 1855 or 1856, he removed to Warren County, Ill., where he now resides. Wesley Lilly
settled north of Lilly Chapel in 1830, and has been closely identified with the growth and progress of the northern
portion of Fairfield Township.
John Shepherd was born in. Virginia, and with his wife Judy came to Ohio soon after the war of 1812, and settled
in Ross County. About 1831, came to this county and settled near California, on land now owned by Richard M. Johnson,
and here resided till his death, August 18, 1850, aged sixty-five years. His wife died about 1869. aged sixty-eight
years. He was a soldier in the war of 1812. He was a prosperous farmer, a worthy citizen and a devoted member of
the M. E. Church. Daniel C. Freeman was born in Belmont County, Ohio, July 28, 1802, his ancestors being from Ireland.
In 1833, he became a resident of Fairfield Township,. and has been thoroughly identified with her growth and interests.
At the organization of the township, in 1835, he became the first Clerk He is now eighty years of age, and has
been a resident of this township nearly half a century. George Noland, a native of Virginia, settled where William
Giliham now lives about 1833, where his wife died October 2, 1862, aged sixty-two years; in 1868, he removed to
Missouri, where he died, November 4, 1878, aged seventy-four years. J. C. Strain settled where Henry Luse now lives
in 1834, and has remained a resident here forty-eight years; is a leading and honored citizen of the township.
James D. Truitt, a native of Maryland, became a resident of Madison County in 1811, and of Fairfield Township in
1836, settling in the north part of the township.
John Creath became a settler of this county with his parents, near Mt. Sterling, in 1811. In 1838, he settled in
Fairfield Township, where he resided till his death, January 15, 1881, an honored and worthy citizen. Valentine
Recob settled here in 1846. William D. Pringle settled in this township in 1848, and he and his worthy family have
been fully identified with her business interests, improvements and progress since, and their valued and important
lives are reflected in biographies of William D. Pringle and J. Alfred Pringle. Daniel Thompson settled on Opossum
Run quite early, and built one of the first saw-mills in the township.
For many years there was no church edifice within the territory of what now comprises Fairfield Township, but
the venerable pioneers here, as in other localities, were not long without the dispensing of the word of God in
their midst. Probably the first place in this township where the Gospel was preached was at the house of the worthy
pioneer, Enoch Thomas, on Opossum Run. He was an earnest and devoted Christian of the United Brethren faith, and
very soon after his settling here, in 1807, preaching was had at his house, and continued to be dispensed there
and in the primitive log schoolhouses in the neighborhood, till, at a later day, as the country became more thickly
settled, a class was organized and a house built for church purposes, near Mr. Thomas’, but just over the county
line, in Franklin County, in accomplishing which Mr. Thomas was the chief actor and leading support, to honor whom
the church was called the Thomas Chapel.
The Methodist Episcopal Church at California.— Here, as elsewhere, we find the Methodists with their itinerant
system early in the field, and, as soon as the settlements demanded it, their preachers were soon on the ground
and held meetings, first at private houses, and thence, as soon as schoolhouses were built, they were used as places
of worship. We find a class early organized at Spring Hill, about three miles northeast of California, and another
class at the Bales Schoolhouse. At the latter place, preaching was held regularly every two weeks. These meetings
were generally conducted by a number of Methodist preachers, one after another, as they came on to the circuit,
till after the town of California was laid out, when, in 1852, they decided to erect a church in that town. Robert
Thomas gave and deeded them a lot, and, in the summer of the above mentioned year, the present frame house was
erected, and they organized with the following members: John F. Chenoweth, Charles Henderson, Charles Warner, Moses
Ellsworth, Hezekiah Ohenoweth, Andrew White, John Callander, Thomas Corder, Richard Johnson and their wives, Rachel
Bales, Sabina flume, with, perhaps, a few others, whose names are not now remembered. Charles Warner and Hezekiah
Chenoweth were class leaders for many years. Among the first ministers were Revs. Hurd, Wolf, Smith, William Sutton,
Stewart and Young. The church has had many precious seasons of revivals, and in former days seemed to possess more
vitality and earnestness than of late years. The church building is becoming old and dilapidated, and a new one
is very much needed. The present membership is nearly one hundred, with Rev. J. W. Waite as their minister. The
class leaders are Charles Warner; Lucy Minshall and Minnie Higgins. The church and community are abundantly able
to erect a good house, and, whenever the Spirit and God's grace shall pervade the hearts of the people, as it did
the forefathers, she will arise in her might and strength, a new and beautiful house will be built, Zion will prosper,
God honored and the people blessed.
Dennison Chapel (United Brethren Church). About the year 1849, a class was formed at the old log schoolhouse which
stood on the farm of Lemuel Lawrence, with thirteen members, some of whom were as follows: John Creath, James Dennison,
W. Estep, Elizabeth Dennison, Michael Robey, Jesse Timmons, with Joseph Timmons as class leader. They had preaching
every three weeks in the schoolhouse. The first minister was Rev. Jesse Bright. Subsequently, they held their meetings
for awhile at the house of William Peel, who then lived on the Lawrence farm. About 1852 or 1853, they built a
log house for church purposes, by each person furnishing a specified number of log6. It was built on the same lot
where the present church stands. This house was quite large and commodious, and within its walls much good was
done. This building was burned down in 1860. But they went right to work, and, in 1861, the present frame house
was erected, and was dedicated, in the fall of 1861, by Rev. Joseph M. Spangler, Presiding Elder of the Winchester
District, in the Scioto Conference. The church prospered and increased in membership quite rapidly under the faithful
and earnest labors of Rev. William Ferguson, James Ross, and others, and at one time her membership was one hundred
and forty to one hundred and fifty. Subsequently the church declined very much; and one among the various causes
of her decrease in members was a large emigration West; forty-three persons among the most efficient members moved
to the State of Missouri. Her present membership is about sixty, with F. Reibal as their minister, and Henry Bowers
and Samuel Watrous as Class Leaders. During the existence of this church, they have generally had a good and prosperous
Sabbath school. James Brown is its Superintendent at the present time.
Methodist Episcopal Church at Lilly Chapel- From the best information we can get, this church was organized about
1828. The class embraced the following persons: Philip Durfiinger, Isaac Morris, George Bell, Amos Morris, Stephen
Morris, William Tway, David Sidner, David Crane, Daniel Durflinger, Samuel Tway, with their wives. For many years,
their meetings were held at private houses and in schoolhouses. Among their first ministers were Rev. David Kemper
and Willidm Westlake. The present church edifice was built about 1850, and received the name of Lilly Chapel Methodist
German Lutheran Church.- In 1867 a few persons of the Lutheran faith convened together and organized a church at
Lilly Chapel, embracing the following persons: Louis Gierich, Charles Greassle, John Mantz, Michael Bellman, Lawrence
Miller, Charles Stark, Jacob Schwartz, Jacob Cowling, with their wives and some of their children, nuñibering
twenty or more persons. They held their meetings in the schoolhouse, with Rev. Henry Horst as their minister, who
continued as such about three years, when, from having several other appointments at other places for preaching
he was compelled to make his appointment for preaching at Lilly Chapel on a week day, and, from the pressure of
work and business matters, the people were unable to attend services with regularity, and preaching was discontinued
and the organization ceased. In 1878. 'they again re-organized, with the same members, except Jacob Cowling, who
had moved away, with the following additional persons: Henry Wise, Martin Straus, Mrs. Young and John Gierich,
with Rev. Heiiry Peters as minister. Services were held in the schoolhouse till in May, 1882, they obtained privilege
to hold serv. ces in the M. E. Church. On December 25, 1880, a subscription was commenced to raise money to build
a house for church purposes, and their efforts have been continued till they have an amount raised sufficient to
justify them to commence the erection of the house, and, July 2, 1882, is appointed as the day to lay the corner
stone, after which the work will be pushed forward to completion as rapidly as possible. The church now has a membership
of twenty eight, and it is hoped the church will prosper and ncrease in numbers and usefulness. Mr. Peters, their
former minister, received a call to preach at Yeagerstown, Penn., which he accepted, and resigned his charge here
in the summer of 1881. He was succeeded here by Rev. W. H. Brown, who is still their minister.
As the pioneers penetrated the forests and the unsettled portions of our country, disease, sickness and death
met them every-where, and it very soon became necessary to have a place to inter their dead. And as they always
advanced ahead of the organizations of .townships and counties, there could be no provision made by their authority;
hence with them every neighbor. hood and often each family had to provide for their Own dead. Hence we ftud in
all localities, where the first settlers located, family and neighborhood burying grounds some of which have been
fenced in and carefully protect.. ed, and a few have since become the property of the townships, and enlarged and
improved until they have become beautiful and pleasant places, fitting depositories for the bodies of our dead,
while others again have been neglected, and all headstones and marks or inscriptions obliterated, and the grounds
again thrown into the open fields, and the Plowshares tear the soil, or the stock roam at will above their sleeping
The first burial-place in Fairfield Township, and. in fact One of the first in Madison County, was the Fitzgerald
or Opossum Run Cemetery. This was first used as a family and neighborhood buryIng ground when the tract of land
was owned by John Phebis. It was dedicated by receiving the body of a man, name now unknown, who came here from
Ohillicothe to settle, and, while cutting down timber to build his house, was killed by a falling tree. This it
is believed occurred about 1808. The next to receive burial here, as shown by the tombstone, was Isaac Woods, who
died October 16, 1812, aged twenty-five years. He was a soldier, and had been with the troops out toward Sandusky,
and they were returning home, having had a successful and prosperous trip, were rejoicing over their successes,
when he was accidenafly shot and killed. Another pioneer deposited here was James Blair, who died September 20,
1816, aged thirty six years. Some others, prior to. 1825, were Joannah, wife of John Clark, died May 31. 1819,
aged thirty six years. David Dennison died October 1, 1823, and Richard Newland died May 11. 1825, aged thirty
years. From this time forward, this was a general burying-place for the neighborhood, and accessions to this "city
of the dead" were frequent and numerous. After Judge E. O. Fitzgerald became the owner of this tract of land,
he set apart and fenced in one acre of ground devoted to burial purposes. which remained thus till in the spring
of 1880 the. Trustees of the township received and took charge of it and purchased three-fourths of an. acre more
and added to it, and the township now has a deed for one and three-fourths acres of ground, which is high and dry
and well adapted to cemetery purposes.
Dennison Chapel Cemetery. - This burying-ground immediately joins on the west side the lot upon which the church
is built, and was -appropriated to the burial of the dead at a much later date. It is well inclosed and preserved,
and within its inclosure are evergreens and shrubbery, giving it an appearance of care. It has received many of
the dead of this church and. neighborhood. The first person to be buried here was Cyrus Nichols.
The Thomas Cemetery.- This is located a little east of California and just east of the schoolhouse, and was appropriated
for this purpose by Rob. ert Thomas, who owned that tract of land and was dedicated by the reception of his body,
who died August 9, 1831, since which it has received the bodies of many of the early settlers and people of the
neighborhood. These embrace all the burying-places that are preserved, and now have a visibleexistence within the
territory of Fairfield Township.
The education of the children of the early settlers of Fairfield Township received their prompt attention, and.,
although like all new settlements. they labored under great disadvantages, yet they did what they could, and. we
find them early establishing schools, and, though the first schoolhouses were rude structures, and the qualifications
of their teachers, and the privileges generally very limited yet they served as a beginning; and the earnest efforts
of the people, the sacrifices and self-denials they made in that early day to give their children the much needed
instructions, deserve the admiration and gratitude of their descendants and all lovers of learning and progress.
The first schoolhouse built within the limits of this township was erected in the southeast corner, on Opossum
Run. It was a rude structure- round-log cabin, puncheon floor, slab-seats and greased paper for windows. This was
built about 1811. The first teacher was Thomas McCafferty, who was crippled by one useless arm. One of his pupils
was John F. Chenoweth, who still survives and now resides in London. This cabin served for school purposes several
years. About 1836, a good hewed-log house was erected twenty feet square, with shingle roof, large and commodious,
on the ground now embraced in the Fitzgerald Cemetery. There was also another of those primitive log schoolhouses,
chinked and mudded, built very early, where Mrs. S. Bowers now lives where some of the children of the early pioneers
obtained some of the first rudiments of an education. One of the first teachers in this cabin was Judathan Waldo,
a Yankee, who had a very limited ability. His qualifications would not at the present day be considered sufficient
for a Road Supervisor. These early schools were supported by subscriptions, and generally the teacher was paid
from $8 to $10 per month About 1867, the present frame schoolhouse was built, and has continued in use to the present
time. This now constitutes District No. 7. known as the Cartmill District. The enumeration is now about forty-five
scholars. Teachers' wages in summer, $25 to $30; in winter, $40 to $45; per month. The present Board of Directors,
Alfred Cartmill, Edward Fitzgerald and J. W. Puckett.
District No. 1, Byers Schoolhouse. _ The first school building was a log of the most primitive kind, as described
above, erected about 1830. This was succeeded by a comfortable frame house, erected about 1853. In 1878, the present
neat and comfortable brick house was erected. Enumeration, sixty scholars. Teachers' wages, summer, $30 to $33;
in winter, $45 to $50. Board of Directors, Joel M. Byers, Samuel Truitt and J. C. Byers. District No. 2, Bales
Schoolhouse- The first house was a small frame, built about 1825, and the next built was the present house. District
No. 3, No land School, organized in the fall of 1836. First house, a hewed log, built by D. C. Freeman in 1837.
The first school opened January 1, 1838. The first teacher, D. Wald; the second was D. C. Freeman. This house was
used about twenty years, and was also used by the Methodist and Christian denominations for preaching. The second
house was a frame, erected on the same ground of the first, about 1857. Then, in 1879, the present large brick
was built. District No. 4, Lilly Chapel-The first schoolhouse in this vicinity was a rude log of the most primitive
style, and stood on land now owned by William Durflinger. This was in an early day, and was the first schoolhouse
in the northern part of the township. This was succeeded by another log house, erected on the ground of the present
frame house, just east of the village of Lilly Chapel. Then this was succeeded by a small frame house, and this
again by the present frame that is now in use. But by the rapid growth of the village of Lilly Chapel, and the
consequent increase of the number of school children, this house soon became inadequate to accomniodate all the
scholars, and, in the fall of 1881, they began the erection of a good brick house just east of the frame, on the
same lot, which is now (July, 1882) being completed. The frame house is to remain for the primary department, and
the new brick used for the more advanced scholars. This district now enumerates about one hundred and thirty. Board
of Directors, S. H. Edwards, George Durflinger and Albert Lilly. District No. 5, Pringle School, situated on the
California & Lilly Chapel pike. The first schoolhouse here was a rude log house, and, being Jocated near the
center of the township, the first township elections were held at this schoolhouse. About 1850, a good comfortable
frame house was built. Then, in 1877, the present brick house was erected. Enumeration of scholars, thirty-two.
Board of Directors A. J. Henkle, H. Gilliland and J. A Prin- gle. District No. 6, Dennison Chapel-First, a log
house located on Lemuel Lawrence's land, which was probably built about 1847. Next, about 1858, a frame house was
erected on the same lot where the church now stands. Then, in 1880, the present large and commodious brick house
was erected. Enumeration of scholars, about seventy. Teachers' wages, $45. Board of Directors, Allen Dennjson,
William Strain and Lemuel Lawrence. District No. 8, California- This district was formed from Districts No. 2 and
3, and was organized in 1854, and the same year a frame house was erected. First Board of Directors were J. H.
Gardner, Dr. Simmerman and Henry Watrous. The present brick house was built in 1879. Enumeration of scholars in
the district, si'ty-five. Teachers' wages, $30 to $45. Present Board of Directors, Dr. C. W. Higgins, W. H. Hill
and George Corder. District No. 9-The last erected, was organized about 1868-70, and was formed from territory
taken from Districts No. 3 and 5; a frame building erected, which is still occupied for school purposes. Thus it
is seen that Fairfield Township now supports nine schools, but, as stated above, there being no books or records
of this township to be found, we are very much limited in means by- which to give official statistics of either
political or educational matters. The latest enumeration of scholars in possession of the Township Clerk is that
of 1878, when the total of the township was 556. Educational funds, $4. 500. Tax levy in the spring of 1882: For
township purposes, 2-10 mill, $93.20; for road purposes, 1 mill, $807.25; for poor fund, 1-4 mill, $116.86.
There is not now, and, we believe, never has been, a grist or flour mill -within the boundaries of Fairfield
Township, and but few saw- mills. One of the first saw-mills we gain a record of was built by Daniel Thompson,
on Opossum Run, located near the Thomas Chapel. This was first a stationary mill and run by water-power. Subsequently,
it was run by steaai power, and finally was converted into a portable mill, and moved from place to place as occasion
required. It is now located on Judge E. O. Fitzgerald's farm. There is also another portable mill on the same farm,
owned by Dickinson & Bowers. The other mills are located at the villages of California and Lilly Chapel, and
are fully mentioned in the history of those towns.
About 1870 to 1872, the pike from London to California and Mt. Sterling was built. This was the first pike built
in this township. The next built was the London & Lilly Chapel pike, and the third was the Mt Sterling &
Jefferson pike. These constitute the main business roads of the township, thosa upon which are the most travel
and. heavy hauling. They embrace eighteen to twenty miles, and are a valued improvement. This summer (1882) they
are building a pike on the Jackson road, which, when completed, will make this township well supplied with good
roads and thoroughfares.
There are three villages within the limits of this township. The first was laid out in the spring of 1849, by
Thomas Chappel, Robert Thomas and. William D. Pringle. This was about the time of the great excitement over the
discovery of the rich gold mines in California, and this town was laid out in the midst of a very rich country,
possessed of an excellent soil, and they gave it the suggestive name of California. Near this town were the large
prairies known as the "Big Plains," and in establishing the post office of this town, as there was an
office elsewhere called California, they gave this the name of Big Plains. Dr Holmes erected the first house in
the place, and was the first Postmaster and also the first physician located in the town. Prior, however, to the
laying-out of the town there was a Dr. Davis, a practicing physician, located about three miles northeast of California,
who was, perhaps, the first physician resident in the township, although it is said that he never had a very extensive
practice. Peter Trout is said to have built the second house. The first store was kept by James Parks. William
Riley was the first blacksmith. This town for a time grew rapidly, and there was quite an extensive business carried
on here, and, in fact, from that day to the present time, there has been an active mercantile trade here for a
village of its size, as it is snrrounded by a beautiful country and a wealthy and thriving class of people. It
now has three good general stores, three blacksmiths, three physicians, one steam tile factory and saw-mill combined,
one church-Methodist a good brick schoolhouse and a good brick town house, erected in 1877.
Warnersville.- At the south line of Fairfield. bordering on Pleasant Township, is a small village known as Warnersville.
receiving such name from the fact that the tract of land was owned by Mr. Warner, where a cluster of eight or ten
houses now stand, embracing a population of forty to fifty persons. About 1867, David Lane, a huckster by occupation,
opened a small store here, which, in 1872, he sold to R. Watrous, who continued trade here till 1881, when, in
January, of that year, he sold out to J. S. Bowers. He carried on business one year. and sold to William Watrous
& Bro., who are now conducting a general merchandise trade. In the fall of 1874, a post office was established
here by the same name of the village, with R. Watrous as Postmaster. This office existed until 1879. when, as it
was not self supporting, it was discontinued. But again, in the spring of 1881, it was re-established under the
name of Kiousville, with J. S. Bowers as Postmaster. In January, 1882, William Watrous became Postmaster, and is
now its present incumbent. Jesse S. Bowers built the, first house and was the first blacksmith in the village.
He was succeeded by Henry Bowers, who is the present incumbent.
Gilroy or Lilly Chapel- In 1871 and 1872. the Short-Line Railroad, from Springfield to Columbus, appeared in prospect,
and, in the latter year, Mr. Thomas Durflinger opened a store here in anticipation of the railroad and the establishing
of a station at this point. In 1850, the Methodist Church was erected here on land owned by, Wesley Lilly, which
was given the name of "Lil]y Chapel." In 1873, the railroad was completed and a station established and
called Lilly Chapel. In 1874, Henry Gilroy and Henry Lilly laid out the town, which was named Gilroy. in honor
of Mr. Gilroy. But as the station and locality had previously been designated as Lilly Chapel, in consequence of
the church erected bere and given that name, and as, in 1873, Henry Lilly originated a petition for a post office
under the name of Lilly Chapel, which was granted by the Department on the establishing of a postal route over
the railroad, the town has ever been known and recognized by the name of Lilly Chapel. The first Postmaster was
Thomas Horn. He was succeeded by C. L. Bales, and he by George Leiter, the present incumbent. Thomas Horn built
the first house after the laying-out of the town, and engaged in mercantile trade, and was the first local agent
of the railroad company. David Wright was the first blacksmith; he opened a shop in a house built by Henry Lilly.
The first physician was Dr. Taggart, who located here in 1880, but remained only a few months. In the spring of
1881, Dr. Schofield located here. who has since remained the practicing physician of the place. The town now contains
over two hundred inhabitants, and is rapidly growing and increasing in business. There are now three general stores,
one grocery, two blacksmith shops, employing four workmen, with a wagon and buggy shop combined with them. There
are two steam saw-mills, one of which runs two engines and is doing a large business, saws a large amount of material
for the manufacture of buggies and wagons. But the largest and 'most attractive business of the place is carried
on by two grain elevators, one built by Pringle Bros., in the fall of 1877, and the other by the "Farmers'
Association," which is now conducted by J. C. Byers & Co., both of which are doing a large business. In
1876, prior to the erection of these elevators, four farmers, Henry Lilly, John Horn, Thomas Horn and Thomas Gorby,
erected a corn-sheller and elevator for a neighborhood convenience,for shelling and shipping corn. This proved
so successful and beneficial in it operations that it resulted in the building of the above-mentioned elevators.
These now receive grain from a large scope of country, in some directions from fifteen to twenty miles distant,
and are a great convenience and. source of profit to this section of country.
In 1878, a large tile factory run by steam power was erected, and is doing a large and prosperous business, and
is probably one of the best in Madison County. This town is just in its infancy, having seen but eight summers
since its natal day. It is the only railroad station and shipping point within the township, and is located in
the midst of a rich and productive country, and must necessarily become an extensive shipping point.
During the year 1881, the following number of full car loads of products were shipped from this section, viz.:
232 cars of corn; 44 cars of hogs; 15 cars of logs; 18 cars of cattle; 2 cars of staves; 2 cars of spokes; 167
cars of wheat; 19 cars of sheep; 11 cars of wool; 5 cars of lumber; 2 cars of hoop poles and 1 car of tile; total
number of cars, 508.
Lilly Chapel Grange, No. 583. -Was instituted February 14, 1874, under the supervision of Mr. Creamer, Deputy
Master, with the following twenty-six charter members: J. Hardwick, A. Jackson, H. Lilly, T. 'Durfinger, T. Horn,
Jr., William Sidner, James Lilly, J. Fogle, J. H. Gardner, William Culumber, Benjamin Thacker. H. Kennedy, Calvin
Durflinger, John Byers, Thomas Gorby, Albert Lilly, Lewis Sidner, T. Horn, Sr., T. R. George, M. A. Lilly, Josie
Byers, Rebecca Hardwick, William Kennedy, Mrs. A. Jackson, Catharine Sidner and Wall Moler, and were officered
as follows: J. Hardwick, W. M.; H. Lilly, W. L.; T. Horn, Jr., W. A. S.; J. Lilly, W. T.; B. Thacker, W. G. K.;
M. A. Lilly, W. P.; A. Jackson, W. O.; J. H. Gardner, W. S.; T. Gorby, W. C.; A. Lilly, W. Secretary; Rebecca Hardwick,
W. C.; W. B.. Kennedy, W F., and Josie Byers,. W. L. A. S. This society continues in a good, flourishing condition,
and now numbers --- members. Present officers (July 1, 1882) as follows: A. Durfinger. W. M.; D. C. Postle, W.
L.; Henry O. Bryan, W. A. S.; Henry Lilly, W. T.; Robert Fullerton, W. G. K.; Mary Durflinger, W. P.; George Durflinger,
W. O.; F. V. Durflinger, W. S.; Jennie Durflinger, W. C.; Jennie Fullerton, W. Secretary; Laura Sidner, W. C.;
Ella Fullerton, W. F., and Ella Durflinger, W. L. A. S.
Gilroy Lodge, No. 695, I. O. O. F. -Was instituted July 8, 1880, by H. P. Gravatt. M. W. G. Master, with the following
fifteen charter members: G. A. Ogden, George Gardner, A. Harst, C. L. Bales, T. J. Clifton, W. Gardner, J. Truitt,
T. W. Preston, A. Jackson, D. W. Byram, W. H. Bailey, J. R. D. Bennett, H. Lilly, G. A. Bostwick and W. Peddicord,
with the following officers: W. A. Ogden, N. U.; Thomas Preston, V. G.; G. A. Bostwick, Secretary, and J. R. D.
Bennett, Treasurer. The lodge is in a flourishing condition, and now (July 1, 1882) has fifty-nine members. The
present elective officers are: G. A. Bostwick, N. G.; C. L. Bales, V. G.; J. H. Gardner, Recording Secretary; John
Shaffer, Permanent Secretary, and George Leiter, Treasurer.