History of Pike, OH
From: The History of Madison County, Ohio
Published by: W. H. Beers & Co., Chicago, 1883
THIS township Occupies the extreme northwesten corner of Madison County, and is one of the smallest of the fourteen
townships comprising said county. it is also one of the most regular, in its contour and general form, being nearly
a perfect parallelogram, while nearly all of the other townships of the county are remarkable for their irregularity
in shape. Pike is bounded north by Union County, east by Darby Township, south by Monroe and Somerford Townships
and west by Champaign County. It was one of the early constituted townships of the county, as upon the records
at London we find the following account of its erection, bearing date September 5, 1814: "At a meeting of
the Commissioners, present Joshua Ewing and William Gibson, ordered, that the following bounds compose a new township,
to be known and designated by the name of Pike. Beginning where the State road intersects the north boundary of
Madison County and running from thence with said road, so as to include the same till it intersects the Urbana
road; thence southwardly on a line half a mile east of Littie Darby, till it intersects Jefferson Township line
at Mark's survey; thence to Peter Paugh's, southeast corner; thence westwardly with Deer Creek Township line to
Champaign County line, and with said county line to the northwest corner of Madison County, and thence with the
line between Madison and Delaware to the beginning." In the erection of Union County in 1820, a portion of
the above-described territory was embraced in that county, and consequently the north boundary line was changed
and Pike made smaller in territory. Again, on March 4, 1839, another change was made in the township of Pike, as
follows: "At a meeting of the Commissioners of Madison County, ordered that the following boundaries compose
the township of Pike (as surveyed January 24, 1839, by William B. Irwin), to wit:
SURFACE, SOIL, ETC.
The surface of this township is level, except along the streams and small creeks, much of it being prairie and
oak openings. All that portion between Little Darby and Barron Run extending to the north line of the township,
is very level and a beautiful country; also, all west of Barron Run and between that stream and Spring Fork is
the same. On the Little Darby and along Barron Run and Spring Fork, the surface is quite uneven, arid in a few
places to some degree hilly. The soil of the level and prairie portions of the township consist principally of
a black loam, with here and there a locality of clay and loam. It is very deep and rich, naturally producing an
exuberant growth of grass and vegetation. Along the creeks and streams the soil is principally clay, but very strong
and productive, so that throughout the township we may say the soil is very rich and fertile. The subsoil is clay
and gravel, with usually a third stratum of blue clay and disintegrated limestone. The township from its first
settlement has been peculiarly adapted to stock-raising. and that business has always received a large share of
attention from its most wealthy citizens, and they have given considerable attention to the improving and raising
of fine blooded stock. But as the lands become divided up into smaller farms, as the tendency is from year to year,
and the soil better ditched, tiled and drained, so it becomes better adapted to the cultivation of all the grains.
Tile factories arenow becoming very numerous throughout this county and State, and, in fact all over the country
wherever the soil needs underdraining; the abundant use of tile is producing remarkable results. Much of the low,
flat prairie lands, which a few years ago was almost useless from the great surplus of water in them, and in which
stock would almost mire, and which were never attempted to be plowed or cultivated in grain, are now by this process
of tiling becoming some of the best wheat and corn-growing lands in the county. This township and this county,
which, but a few years ago scarcely produced grain enough for the home consumption, is now exporting vast quantities
of both wheat and corn,, and the time is not far distant when the county will rank among the first grain-producing
counties of the State. The forests and timber of this township are similar to those of the other townships and
the county generally. On the creeks and small streams it was generally heavily timbered. On the creek bottoms were
a considerable quantity of walnut, and back from thecreeks and on the rolling lands were white, black, red and
burr oak, hickory. elm. ash and some beech and cherry. On the level lands were the oak openings, of which the leading
timber was burr oak, with some considerable hickory and a less amount of white oak, elm and a few other varieties.
One noticeable and peculiar feature of the timber of this township, which appears to be a common condition of most
of the country composed largely of prairie and. timber, where the general course of the streams is south, southeast,
is, that for a short distance on the east side of the creeks, the timber was of a much heavier and denser growth
than it was westward from the creeks. And on the east side of the Darby, in particular, was where the beech and
a few other varieties were found and not much in other localities. It is quite probable the prin cipal reason of
the timber being less heavy and dense on the west side of the creeks, was in consequence of the yearly fires which
swept over the prairies, which destroyed the undergrowth and more or less checked the growth of the larger timber;
and as these fires usually raged from west to east, these streams or creeks served as a barrier which the fire
could not overleap; or, if it did, it was so checked in its power that it would burn with much less violence and
destructive power until it would get some distance again from the creek, when, from being fanned by the breezes
and increased combustible matter, it would again sweep forward with great velocity and violence until again checked
by another stream, or the want of combustible matter to keep up the flame.
Oliver and Harris Jaynes settled on the Little Darby, near where Henry King afterward settled. It is believed
they were among the first who came into this township. Farther up the Darby, near the northeast corner of the township,
settled a family of Keyes. Two brothers, Edsel and Samuel Carr, settled on Barron Run, near where Newton Hunt now
resides. Samuel was quite an active man, and, it appears, a very moral and upright man, and a leading, active worker
in the Methodist Church in its first organization in this township. A family by the name of Whitman, the head of
'which it is believed was Solomon, settled on Barron Run, on land now owned by Charles Phellis. He never purchased
land there, and, after a few years' residence, moved away. Samuel, Isaac and Daniel Allen, three brothers, settled
on Barron Run, where they subsequently purchased small tracts of land. Samuel was a local preacher in the Methodist
Church and quite a prominent man of that day. About 1830, it is supposed, they moved into Union County. A Mr. Burrell,
a blacksmith by trade, was also a very early settler on Barron Run, but soon moved away. A Mr. Dockum, believed
to be a native of Canada. settled on the Aaron Weaver place, near the mouth of Barron Run, at a very early date,
and there he resided till his death, and his body was interred upon the place, and was probably the first person
buried in what is now known as the Weaver Burying Ground. The following were his children: William, who married
Nancy Jones, and settled adjoining the home place, but subsequently moved West, where he died; one daughter married
Mason Jones, and finally settled near Califor. nia, this county. where she died; James married a Miss Clement,
and settled in this township, thence removed to Darby Township, Union County, where he died; Boardman married Miss
Tullis and settled in this township and resided till his death; and one other daughter, who married Allen Jones,
and resided in this county several years, thence moved West. John Rathburn was an early settler on Barron Run,
and was a Methodist preacher; also practiced as a steam doctor. It is believed he was the organizer of the Methodist
Church that in an early day existed on Barron Run for several years, of which he was a main pillar and support.
He had the following children: Charles, whn is now a resident of the West and is a practicing physician; Levi,
who was for some time a merchant in Mechanicsburg, thence removed West, but one of his daughters is still a resident
of Mechanicsburg; Nelson, who is now a minister and resides in Iowa; Abigail, died single; Sarah. married Luke
Clemens, and settled in the south part of the county; and Harmon. who settled in Iowa. where he still resides.
George Van Ness, a native of New Jersey, married Eleanor Van Lear, a native of Holland; they emigrated to Ohio
prior to its becoming a State. and settled in Butler County. In January, 1813-14, they Pemoved to Madison County
and settled on the Little Darby. in the northwest corner of this township, on the place now owned by John Van Ness,
and here he resided until his death, March 22. 1832. He was a true pioneer and experienced the rough side of life.
Indians were his neighbors, and deer, wild hogs and game of all kinds were in abundance. About 1820, Mr. Van Ness
erected a grist-mill, a three-story frame, run by water-power. The mill only ran about three years, when the dam
washed away and was never repaired or used afterward. Mr. Van Ness served through the war of the Revolution. and
was with Gen. Washington at the memorable Valley Forge. He was the father of the following children: John, who
married Rachel Nichols. and settled near the same place, but subsequently moved West and died in Iowa; Susannah,
married Stacy Storer, and settled in Highland County, Ohio, where she died, aged nearly one hundred years; Catharine,
married John Payne, first settled in this township, thence in Highland County, and. finally in Illinois, where
she died; George, married Sarah Britton, settled in Butler County, on the old Van Ness farm, thence removed to
Seneca County, Ohio, thence moved West and is now a resident of Indiana; Judith, married William Storer, and settled
in Highland County, where they now reside; Peter, married Polly Neff, and settled in Logan County. Ohio, and died
there; Cornelius, married Rebecca Bower, and settled on the old home place of his father, where he still remains,
and has now spent seventy years of his life on this farm; Daniel, married Elizabeth Yearns, and resides in Logan
County, Ohio; and Mary, married Henry McCumber. and. soon moved West and settled in Illinois. where she died.
George Weaver, also a native of Pennsylvania, settled on the place now owned by Aaron Weaver about 1817-18,
as we find his deed recorded in January, 1818. He was married to Elizabeth Hempleton. Their children were Jacob,
who married Polly Nagley, and settled on the home farm where he resided till his death; Solomon, married Lydia
Niles, and settled near the home place, but subsequently removed to Illinois and settled near Clinton. where he
now resides; one daughter married David Morris, but is now deceased; John, married Elizabeth Morse, and settled
and resides in this township: Elizabeth, married John H. Surfus, and settled here first, but subsequently removed
West and now resides in Illinois; George, married a Miss Morse, and resides in Illinois; Joseph, tnarried a Miss
Cobbler, and settled in the West; David, settled in the West; Mary, married John Sterritt, and settled in Monroe
Township, but subsequently removed to the West. Mr. George Weaver, the father of this large family, was one of
those industrious, thoroughgoing Pennsylvanian farmers, who knew how to make money and how to invest all his surplus
capital. and the result was that he became owner of 3,000 acres of fine land.
These families of whom we have given the above history embrace the majority of the early settlers of Pike Township. Many others have come in and settled at a more recent date, some of whom are among the leading business men of the township, and who have taken a leading and active part in the progress and improvements of the township, and who are fully identitled with its interests. Among these we mention Charles Phellis, Esq., who is the largest land-owner and stock-dealer in the township, a man of high and marked ability, whose honor and character stand untarnished, and is one of the township's best and most worthy citizens. In the biographical department of this work will be found the history of many of the present prominent and enterprising families of Pike Township, to which we would refer the reader for further information.
TOWNS AND BUSINESS.
There is but one town, or, more properly, village, in the township. But before writing of it the business interests of the past will carry us back to about the year 183 1-32, when one Capt. Andrews, of Chillicothe. located on the Worthington road, just west of John Weaver's place, where he purchased about 1,300 acres of land. ITe was quite wealthy, and soon after locating he erected a building, purchased a stock of goods and opened out a store, which was the first ever in the township. His place he named the Rosedale farm, taking its name, we presume, from the post office, which he obtained the establishment of at his place about 1832, under the name of Rosedale Post Office, of which he became the first Postmaster. Subsequent.. by, Capt. Andrews died, and he was succeeded by A. Simpkins; finally, he was succeeded by Fox & Snodgrass, with Mr. Fox as Postmaster. About 1836, Darius Burnham surveyed and laid off some lots for a town; had the town duly platted, which was recorded at the Recorder's office in London May 19, 1836, under the name of Liverpool. There were two small log houses on the ground when the town was laid out, after which Mr. Burnham erected the first frame house, a part of which was used for a dwelling and the other part finished up for a storeroom, into which John and David Snyder put in the first stock of goods and commenced trade. They continned business a few years and moved away. The next store opened here was by Foster Griffin, who commenced trade by putting in a small stock of goods and running a moderate trade; his leading business, to which he gave most attention, was dealing in cheese. Finally, Mr. Henry Bnruham entered into partnership with Mr. Griffin, but remained only a short time, when he withdrew, and L. D. Mann entered into partnership with Mr. Griffin, but in a short time MR. Mann withdrew, and Mr. Griffin continued business for several years. About 1837-38, Mr. Griffin became Postmaster, the office being moved from the country, where it was first established, to Liverpool, but retaining its original name, Rosedale, and has since remained permanently located in the town. The first blacksmith to locate in the town. was a Mr. Creamer. The first physician was Dr. Curl, the next, Dr. Jeremiah Converse; then another Dr. Converse; then Dr. William Adams, Dr. J. C. Kaib and then Dr. Carter. The first shoe-maker was Edsel Carr. The first saddle and harness shop was a branch of MaGruder & Reed, of Mechanics burg, Ohio. The town now contains a population of about seventy..five persons, with the following business houses: One general store, by J. P. Carter; one blacksmith H. C. Yeazell; one shoe-maker, Andrew McBride; one harness and saddle shop, George Glass, and one physician, Dr. F. M. Carter.
It is believed that the tirst grist-mill ever erected in the township was in the northwest corner of the township, on the Little Darby, built by George Van Ness, about 1820. This was a three-story frame, quite an imposing structure at that early day, and was, of course, run by water-power. but it continued in use only about two years, when the dam was washed out and never rebuilt, and consequently the building was never used again for mill purposes. About 1825, Messrs. Lockwood & Nelson erectAd a gristmill on the Little Darby, in the northeast part of the township, on land now owned by Mrs. Hampshire. Subsequently, these men were succeeded in the ownership of the mill by James Snodgrass, and he again by Albert Lombard, who was succeeded by L. D. Mann, who was the last to run the mill, after which it stood idle and went to decay. About 1830-31, George Weaver and his son John built a saw-mill on the Little Darby, on lands now owned by Joseph Weaver. This saw-mill was run about ten years and then went into decay. These appear to have been, the principal early mills. In later years, there have been a few other mills, principally of the portable kind, which have been moved from place to place as timber and occasion required.
PIKES AND ROADS.
This township is small in territory, and containing several large stock f arms, which usually contain many "by-roads," which lead from one point to another and from one road to another, makes the number of pikes and gravel roads somewhat limited in number. The main pikes are the London road and the Mechanicsburg & Liverpool pike. The northwest corner of the township is crossed by the Springfield & Delaware Branch of the C., C., C. & I. R. R., which has a length of about one-half a mile within Pike Township. This is the amount of her railroads.
This township being small in territory does not, of course, require as many schoolhouses as some of the larger townships. It has four regularly established subdistricts and one joint subdistrict. Most of these have frame houses, the citizens generally taking a fair interest in the subject of schools and education. The total school funds of last year were $1,592.67. Total expenditures, $1,426.28. . Enumeration of the districts as follows: No. 1, males, 36; females, 40; total, 76. No. 2, males, 14; females, 15; total, 29. No. 3, males, 7; females, 12; total, 19. No. 4, males, 18; females, 9; total, 27. No. 5, males, 8, females, 6; total, 14. Total, males, 83; females, 82; total, 165. Township board of Education: District No. 1, James P. Carter, President; No. 2, William P. Patrick; No. 3, Pearl M. Keyes; No. 4, J. M. Bradley (sub-joint); No. 5, J. S. Van Ness.
At the present time we are not aware of a single church organization within Pike Township. This condition arises
probably from various causes. It is not, we presume, because the people are morally so good and perfect that they
have no need of the restraining and salutary effects of churches; neither is it because they are so far the reverse
of this that they repel them from their midst. Butthere is no town of any magnitude that forms a center and a nucleus
upon which to lay the foundation and draw from the surrounding country the necessary support. The township, as
has been stated, contains several large farms, and hence is rather sparsely settled; and it is quite probable that
among the scattered population there is quite a diversity of opinions on doctrinal points, and in consequence a
limited number of any one faith and doctrine-too limited to secure and support a denominational church. But we
find there have been church organizations in the township, and it comes within our province as historians to record
upon these pages such facts as we can glean of their history in by-gone days.
There were several family burying grounds in this township in an early day, as in other townships, and as in
every early settled country. The principal ones of this kind were one near the Little Darby, on the Weaver farm,
and known as the Weaver Burying Ground; one on Barron Run, where Mr. Dock-am and others of the early settlers of
that neighborhood were buried; one on the land of Charles Phellis, Esq, Opposite John Weaver's residence; but this
is now, like many others, all in open pasture, and no mark left of its former sacredness; and one on the Guy farm,
on Spring Creek, known as the Guy Cemetery. This was first appropriated by Mr. Guy as a family burying place, and
was dedicated to the purpose by the reception of his son, Lewis F., who died November 14, 1843, after which it
received the bodies of one or two others, when Mr. Guy deeded it to the Trustees of the township and their successors
as a permanent ceme tery for general interment of the dead. Subsequently, an addition of onethird of an acre was
made, and the whole substantially fenced and the grounds ornamented with trees and shrubbery, constituting it a
fit anJ pleasant depository of the dead.