History of Franklin Township, Ohio
From: History of Mercer County, Ohio
and Representative Citizens
Edited & Compiled by: Hon. S. S. Scranton
Published by: Biographical Publishing Company
Chicago, Illinois 1907


FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP

This township is bordered on the north by the Grand Reservoir, forming a very irregular boundary; it is bounded on the east by Auglaize County, on the south by Marion township and on the west by Butler township. It is six miles long from, east to west, has an average width from north to south of about three and a half miles and contains about 22 square miles. The township was organized. December 7, 1841, and the first election was held December 24, 1841. At the settlement two small bands of Indians occupied a part of this territory. They were known as the Big and Little Chickasaws and from them two streams of the township took their names. These Indians were peaceably disposed and never gave any trouble or alarm to the settlers. The people of this township are a thrifty lot of farmers, it being one of the best farming districts of the county. Corn, wheat, oats and all the grains are grown in abundance. The township has always been represented on the Mercer County fair hoard. The present township officials are as follows: Trustees - J. J. Ulrich, Hy. Filling and Henry Ronnehaum; clerk, A. C. Long; treasurer, John Harrigon; justices of the peace - Walter N. Monroe and John W. Harrison. The population of the township was 1,015 in 1880, 1,240 in 1890 and 1,320 in 1900.

In an early day when the Grand Reservoir was abundant with fish, and wild ducks and geese were plentiful, the principal vocation of the people that lived on the south bank of the reservoir was fishing and shipping ducks, geese and fish. A great many of the best farmers in the township paid for their farms and homes with fish caught from the reservoir. In the good fishing season it was no uncommon occurrence to see from 25 to too teams a day come here to get fish, which in those days sold for a good price.

After this resource of wealth was exhausted, another gold mine was struck in Franklin township, gas and oil were discovered, and more wells were drilled here than in any other township of the county. It proved to be more of a gas field than an oil field, and many large gas wells were put down. So great was the supply that companies were rganized and the towns in this section of the country were supplied from this field. Two pipe lines supplied Celina, Greenville, Piqua, Dayton, Springfield and all nearby towns. The era of natural gas was, however, not long lived, and the people went back to coal and wood. The large towns are yet supplied, but from a different gas field. Celina is now supplied with gas from a field east of Columbus, some 140 miles distant.

PIONEERS.

Among the first settlers of the township were Stephen Sprague, Abraham and John Miller and the Lacey, Beauchamp and Johnson families. The Botkin family settled on Chickasaw Creek in 1829; there were two brothers, Charles and William. Peter Circle came here about 1835. William B. Winter, William Ballinger, Henry B. Bennett, Isaac Brandon, William P. Long, Isaac W. Preston, Thomas McGee, Singleton Buxton, Jacob Selby, Barney Dabbelt, Henry Dammeyer and the Burdges and Trims were all pioneers of Franklin township. Isaac Ellis, who died several years ago, was an early settler of the township and was the fur buyer for all this section of the country. Samuel C. Hyler, 88 years of age, is the oldest resident of Franklin township; he has lived here since 1854.

CHURCHES.

All the churches of Franklin township are located at Montezuma and are three in number: United Brethren, Methodist Episcopal and Church of Christ. There is also a Catholic mission located here, of which Rev. Comas Seeberger, C. PP. S., is pastor pro team.

The Montezuma class of the United Brethren Church was organized in 1845 by Rev. R. Gillen. Among the first members were: Elizabeth Buxton, Mary Taylor and William Beauchamp and wife. Until the first church building was erected, about 1862, services were held at the homes of the various members. The present church building was erected at Montezuma in 1879 at a cost of about $2,000, being dedicated by Bishop Weaver on the first Sunday in June of that year. The following pastors have served this church since Rev. R. Gillen: Revs. John Slife, A. Shingledeclcer, Michael Johnston, J. M. Lea, Lewis S. Farber, Elias Counsellor, Wentz and Heistand, D. W. Abbott, J. Ogle, Nicodemus, William Miller, R. W. Wilgus, Thomas Coats, R. G. Montgomery, Reuben Moore, P. C. Bechdoit, E. G. Stover, D. A. Boyd, S. M. Leidy, L. C. Reed, J. F. Miller, C. T. Betts, W. E. Amsbaugh, J. N. Holies, Joseph Kirk and J. P. Hight, who, also serves the Mount Zion class in Center township!, the Old-town class in Jefferson township and the Burnt Wood class in Butler township. The membership of the Montezuma class is 79 and the Sunday school has an average attendance of 65.

The Montezuma Methodist Episcopal Church was organized at a very early day, but for different reasons was at one time abandoned. The organization was revived in 1880 by Rev. Lyman E. Prentiss, of Celina. A frame church was built and furnished at a cost of a little more than $2,00o, being dedicated by Rev. Belt on May 7, 1882. The church now has a membership of 70 with an average Sunday school attendance of 75. The church property is valued at $1,500. The following pastors haye served this church since 1882: Revs. W. G. Wesselius, 1882-83; James G. Day, 1884-85; E. T. Daily, 1888-89; John F. Naugle, 1890; W. J. Hagerman, 1891-92; B. W.Day, 1893; Charles McCord, 1894-95; C. B. Kramer, 1896-97; J. J. Richards, 1898-99; J. M. Longsworth, 1900; F. M. Houser, 1901-02; J. S. Bell, 1903-04; A. H. Weaver, 1905-06; and C. M. Baker, the present pastor, who also has charge of Center Chapel and Copp's Chapel in Center township, and the Coldwater Methodist Episcopal Church.

Rev. J. A. Pressings is pastor of the Church of Christ at Montezuma. There is a Sunday school in connection with this church.

MONTEZUMA

Is situated in the northwest part of Franklin township on Beaver Creek and Lake Mercer. It was laid out in 1835, the plat being recorded on March 12th. Morris Kelly came to the county in 1850; at a later date he engaged in business as a storekeeper at Montezuma. A. J. Platt was for many years a merchant here. Jimmy Johnson at one time owned and operated a gristmill at Montezuma and also distilled whiskey. Montezuma was incorporated as a village in 1894 and its first mayor was William A. Lacey and its second, George Preston. The present village officials are as follows: Mayor, William Cochran; clerk, J. J. Ulrich; treasurer, W. L. Hotel; marshal, Jacob Hoel; Council - L. E. Springer, Cornelius Franks, I. N. Stump, William Roush, G. H. Preston and A. C. Long. William. A. Lacey is postmaster. The population of the village was 210 in 1890 and 317 in 1900.

The boys and girls of the pioneer days in the vicinity of Montezuma obtained the rudiments of an education in an old, round log building, known to the inhabitants of this section as the "Wolves' Den." It was located half a mile south of Montezuma. The first school building erected in the village was loaated in the south part of town and was 12 by 14 feet in size. It was a frame structure; its interior furnishings, seats and desks, were very crude and plain. As the school increased in size new buildings were erected, all of which were one story, frame structures. After two such buildings had been built and outlived their usefulness, the present frame schoolhouse was erected. It had two rooms at first; in 1895 it was remodeled and another story added. As the building stands at present, it is a two story, frame schoolhouse with four rooms. Four teachers are employed. The superintendent of the village schools is R. G. Clark. The Montezuma Special School District was organized in September, 1895. The Board of Education, as at present constituted, is as follows: D. S. Monroe, S. J. Carter, J. J. Beauchamp, G. H. Preston and J. F. Monroe.

The town has a sawmill, conducted by C. P. Heavlin; the blacksmith shop of William Boze; the grocery, meat market and restaurant of A. C. Long; and the general stores of Barney Rohler and W. L. Hoel. Cloid Tobin is the proprietor of a barber shop. Dr. L. T. Arthur is the town's resident physician.

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