History of Gibson 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


GIBSON TOWNSHIP

Which is located in the southwest corner of this county, was originally in Darke County, Ohio, and became a part of Mercer County in 1849. It is bounded on the north by Recovery township, on the east by Granville township, on the south by Darken County and on the west by the Indiana State line. It is six miles long from east to west and has an average width from north to south of three and a half miles, the only variation being on the northern line, which corresponds to that of the old Greenville treaty line, which bears northwest until it strikes the Wabash River at Fort Recovery, where it diverges to the southwest, continuing in this direction until it reaches the State line. The township has no streams of any, considerable size. The Wabash River has its source in Hog Prairie, four miles south of Fort Recovery and perhaps half a mile east. From there, only a small ditch in size, it runs south and east for quite a distance and winds around to" the north and west until it arrives at Fort Recovery, within four miles of its source, having traversed a space of 60 miles in its meanderings. The land is for the most part rolling, although some portions are a little hilly. There are good gravel banks in the section of the township that is near the town of Fort Recovery. Farming and stock raising are the principal pursuits of the citizens of the township. The farming lands are nearly all cleared and dense woods are a thing of the past. Groves that are left for shade and wooded pastures are all that are left to remind one of days that are gone. A thorough system of ditching and tile drainage has reclaimed all the swales and low swamp lands and converted them into fine fertile farms, and water is no longer found in pools along the roads for the greater part of the year, as was formerly the case. The mud roads of by gone days have been macadamized. Large frame barns and granaries are now found on farms that not many years ago had old log barns and other pioneer buildings. The churches are for the most part modern structures, principally constructed of bricks, and the same can also be said of the schoolhouses. There is a large German Catholic population in the eastern part of the township, while in the western part are. English speaking people, the Germans in this section being Protestants.

Gibson township has 4,309 acres of cultivated land; 4,494 acres of pasture land; 2,371 acres of woodland; and 515 acres of waste land, as reported to the county auditor by the assessor in 1906. The population of the township was 1,462 in 1880; 1,658 in 1890; and 1,568 in 1900. The township officials at the present time are the following: Trustees - R. E. McClung, James Z. Mott and John Hildhold; clerk, A. A. Kolp; treasurer, John Isenhart; justices of the peace William Reichard and James Sanford Watkins.

PIONEERS.

The southern and western part of Gibson township was largely settled by people from Southern Ohio and Pennsylvania, who originally came from Virginia and North and South Carollina, although a few came from Delaware. Among the early settlers in this section were the families of James Cummins, Henry Denney, Benjamin Clark and William F. Denney, who came from Gallia County, Ohio; the Clarks, who came from England; Wateman Hastings and Solomon Collins, who came from the State of Delaware; and Robert Hunter, James Alexander and David Hays who came from Fairfield County, Ohio, all of these settled in Gibson township about the same time. Nathan S. Scranton settled on a farm in Gibson township in 1849; the Scranton family, who were originally from the State of Connecticut, came to Mercer County from Medina County, Ohio. Near the town of Fort Recovery and north of the first neighborhood, Robert Travis, Edward Jones, Sylvester Schutt, Jacob Schaffer, Jacob Stuber and Joseph Clark and their families settled. In the eastern part of the township, around Sharpshurg, Aaron Rood and wife and his sons, L. B. Rood and Alpha Rood, who were Yankees in every sense of the word; the Jones and Hall families and the families of Thomas Rockwell, Jacob and George Meyers and William Snyder, all of whom came from Butler County, Ohio, settled at an early date. In the same section of the township also settled John L. Fox, David Johnson, John Hedrick and Abraham Mott, Sr., Abraham and James Z. Mott, sons of the last named pioneer, still live in the township. The Lowry family came in at a later date and its representatives are still living in the township. Samuel Briner, Samuel Keller, David F. Blake (who went to Missouri in 1857), George Sigler, M. W. Diggs and George Painter were early settlers in the southern part of the township. Other early settlers were James Watkins, Daniel Brock and John McDaniel.

SCHOOLS.

It seems to be a settled fact that the older the country, the fewer the country schools. This is true in Gibson township to day: The schools outside of the town of Fort Recovery are not as large as they were 35 years ago, when the writer had a very personal knowledge of them. Then there were six district schools, maintained on an average of eight or nine months in the year, and each one of these schools had an average attendance of not less than 50 pupils, and at least three had from 75 to 100 pupils each. At the present time it takes three of these same school districts combined to maintain one school, and this one with only about 30 pupils in attendance. The Board of Education think it both cheaper and better to hire a man to haul the pupils back and forth from their own district to a school in some other district than to hire teachers for each school district. Special school districts have been created that take the place of sub districts.

SHARPSBURG

Is a small place in the 'southeast part of Gibson township, which for many years has had a general merchandise store, formerly owned and operated by George Zenz, but now conducted by his son John. There was a postoffice here, known as Violet, until it was displaced by the introduction of the rural free delivery of mail. St. Paul's Catholic Church is located here.


Also see:

Fort Recovery, and Churches of Recovery and Gibson Townships.

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