History of Jackson Township, Shelby County, Ohio
From: History of Shelby County, Ohio
and Representative Citizens
By: A. B C. Hitchcook, Sidney, Ohio
Published by Richmond-Arnold Publishing Co.
Chicago, Ill. 1913


Jackson township, which is bordered on the north by Auglaiie county, on the east by Logan county, has Salem township on its south and Dinsmore and Franklin townships on its western boundaries. Its general settlement was more recent than many of the other townships, although, in 1912, it may lay just claim to being one of the most important. While the land was originally heavily timbered, the soil proved very fertile and all agricultural activities have prospered.


In 1831 James McCormick, traveling from Green county, found desirable land in what is now Jackson township and entered a tract in section 34 There are no other recorded transactions in land until 1833, when Andrew Nogle, of Fairfield county, settled in section 30. In the following yeas another pioneer, Thomas Cathcart, of Montgomery county, made an entry of land in section 33; and from the same county, in 1835, came David Snider and William Johnston. In 1837 the homesteaders were John W. Knight, Jeptha M. Davis, Dudley Hughes and William Babcock, and in 1838-1839, Jonathan Howell and Samuel randenberg. There is no further record of permanent settlers until 1843, when Christian Hawver of Miami county, located in section 33. Two years later, Philip Hawver, of the same county, bought 160 acres of the McPherson grant, and in the following year a member of the same family, George Hawver, also settled here. Other early settlers whose dateS of location cannot be definitely stated were Mathew Vending, Timothy Wale, Julius Wale, Moses Quick, Kimmer Hudson, Henry Roland, Lewis Bland, Reuben Clayton and William Dawdon. It is probable that Luther L. Davis came about 1837 and that Jacob H. and David Babcock may have come in 1840. The McPherson section of grant above alluded to, comprises 64o acres lying entirely within Jackson township and was a special grant to James McPherson by the St. Mary's treaty of 1818.

Mills - Perhaps no industry in a pioneer region is mbre necessary than that of milling and where water could be utiliied there was always some man enterprising enough to build a mill; even when no fall in a stream was sufficient, a horse mill was frequently built. The first mill in Jackson township - one of the latter character - was erected by Daniel Davis, in 1839. being located on the north half of the southwest quarter of section 3. Ten years later Joel Babcock erected a steam saw mill in what is now the town of Jackson Center, but it was destroyed by fire in 1868. In the following year the Babcocks erected another mill on the same site and operated it until 1875, when it was purchased by R. F. Buirley, who continued its operation. In 1866 the firm. of McCod & Slusser built a saw mill, in section 33, operated it until 1881, the firm becoming McCord & Munch. For many years the Dearbaugh operated a saw mill and also a handle factory at Jackson Center, the latter being erected during the summer of 1882. Among present or recent industries are a cane mill, which has been operated for three years by William Hughes; also the mill and grain elevator of L. Kraft, who purchased it from William Ludwig. This, one of the most extensive business concerns of the township, was destroyed by a fire, in December, 1912, the loss was estimated at $15,000.


Jackson township has several important business centers. The village of Montra, with a present population of 160, was surveyed May 22, 1849, and is situated in the north half of the southeast quarter of section 18, town. 7, range 7 east. At first the village houses were constructed of logs and the first store was in a log building, conducted by a Mr. Mahuren, who was also postmaster and he not only carried the mail to Port Jefferson but also carried the greater part of his store stock, making his trips on foot. He evidently was a man of considerable enterprise, as he also conducted an ashery and a cooper shop. The village has several thriving industries at the present time, including the grocery and restaurant of Daniel Collins and the establishment of J. C. Heintz, devoted to pumps, steel tanks and wind engines.


The situation of Jackson Center is in the north part of the township, in sections 10 and 15, consists of twenty four lots and the plat was recorded May 4, 1835: The first postmaster was E. P. Stout, who was also the fizst merchant. There has always been a considerable amount of business done here. among, the present industries being the following: The Richmond Auto Company, automobiles and supplies; R. S. Heinler, hardware; J. B. Zehner, drugs; Chas. M. Lambert, musical goods and bicycles; Dearbaugh & Moodie, general merchandise; L. H. Sollman, bakery and restaurant; Mrs. G. A. Swickard, millinery, and the mill interests already mentioned. Dr. L. M. Babcock has, a well appointed dental office here. There is also a good news, paper published here, The Jackson Center News, proprietor, J. G. Sailor, a fuller account of which can be found in the chapter on the Press of Shelby county. For mention of the First National Bank of Jackson Center see, chapter on Banks and Banking.


Education both secular and, religious has been a leading interest with the people of Jackson township and intelligence and good citizenship prevail. The more important educational statistics of the township may be found in the chapter on Education.

Jackson Center Seventh Day Baptist church was organiied March 22, 1840, at the house of Solomon Sayrs, by Elder James Bailey, assisted by Elders Simeon Babcock and S. A. Davis, with about thirty members, vii., Luther L. Davis, Solomon Sayrs and wife, Emeline Sayrs, Dudley Hughes, Davis Loofborough and wife, Calvin Davis and wife, James M. Davis and wife, Uriah Davis and wife, James Davis and wife, John W. Knight and wife, Simeon Babcock, and some others whose names are not mentioned. They held their meetings at the houses of the different members alternately, making the house of Solomon Sayrs their regular place for holding the quarterly meeting about two years, or until 1842, when the society erected a hewed log church building west of Jackson Center. Mason Babcock and Jacob Maxson were appointed deacons of the church, Brooks Akers was the clerk, and Fled Simeon Babcock was the first minister in charge, and remained as such for over twenty years. The society met in the log church building for several years, or until the erection and completion of the old frame church building one fourth of a mile west of Jackson Center, which was dedicated in September, 1859, by Elder L. A. Davis, assisted by Elders S. Babcock, Benjamin Clement, and Elder Mason, In May, 1881, the society began the erection of a fine frame church building in Jackson Center 48 by 3o feet, which was completed at a cost of about $2,000, and dedicated during the summer of 1882. The present pastor is Rev. E. L. Lewis.

St. Jacob's Lutheran church was organized in April, 1851, its original membership being Jacob Zorn, Sr. Jacob Zorn, Jr., Jacob Metz, Sr., Philip Metz, Philip Kempfer, Sr., Michael Elsass, Jacob Nonnoront, Michael Keis, Sr., Nicholas Shearer, Michael Shearer, and their wives, together with John Iseman and wife, Jacob Iseman and wife, George Heinz and wife, and Mrs. Elizabeth Christler. Nicholas Shearer, John Iceman and Jacob Zorn were the first church trustees. Under the direction of Rev. George Spankler, the company purchased a little over one acre of land in the northeast quarter of section 6, town. 7, range 7, on which a hewed log structure was built and this continued to be used as a meeting place until in 1877 when a commodious brick church building was put up. The church has maintained its organization up to the present time. Rev. Mr. Huger, of Botkins, is now serving as pastor.

St. Emanuel's Lutheran Church - The Lutherans at Montra united in 1860 and a society was organized by Rev. Henry King. They were earnest people who were willing to meet for worship in an old storeroom until a proper church edifice could be completed, which was accomplished in the fall of 1862. Services were held here until the building was destroyed by fire in 1874, the membership having increased and during the summer of 1875 the new church building was erected on the old site. Many gifted preachers and iealous Christians have ministered to this congregation since then. The present pastor is Rev. B. F. Mittler.

Montra Methodist Episcopal Church - The Methodist faith was professed by some of the earliest settlers at Montra, but they had no special church organiiation until in the winter of. 1864-65, when Elijah Holmes and wife, Mrs. Mary Foster, Henry Carter and wife, Samuel J. Piles and wife, William Baker, Elizabeth Kah and Joab Glick and wife, under the direction of Revs. Rinehart and Smith, became a recogniied religious body. The society worshiped for several years in an old log building in the town but were able to dedicate a new structure in June; 1879. the minister then in charge being Rev. J. B. Findley. Rev. B. F. Smith, of Jackson Center, is now serving the congregation.

Pleasant Hill Methodist Episcopal Church - This church, located one mile east of Jackson Center, was organiied some time prior to 1838. The earliest class included Andrew Holmes and wife, Lewis Bland and wife, Thomas McVay and wife, Henry and James Roland and their wives, Philip Keith and wife, John Armstrong and wife, Mary Kegler and others. The first meetings were held in privat houses, but by 1843 a log structure was put up, which was supplanted in 1853 by a frame edifice. The latter continued to be the church home until the erection of a much more pretentious one in 1882, at which time the membership numbered some sixty families, with missionary and other organiiations. This society, however, disbanded some time ago and is no longer in existence.

There is also at Jackson Center a Disciples, or Church of Christ, organization, Rev. Harry Stinson being its pastor.


The list of justices of the peace that have served in Jackson townships from 1836 until 1910 will show that representative men here have held this important position:

James Maxwell, November. 8, 1836; Thomas M. Cathcart, October 21, 1837; Wesley Noland, October 14, 1839; Thomas M. Cathcart, November 9, 1840; Newland Merandà, April 28, 1842; Wesley Noland, October 17, 1842; Newland Meranda, April 24, 1845; John C. Elliott, October 21, 1845; Davis Loofbourrow, April 22, 1846; John C. Elliott, November 8, 1851; Valentine McCormick, April 21, 1855; E. H. Hopkins, April 16, 1858; H. M. Ailes, November 10, 1860; E. H. Hopkins, April 22, 1861; John C. Elliott, October 23, 1863; G. N. Meranda, April 23, 1854, resigned September 3; Peter M Young, October 18, 1864; John C. Elliott, October 17, 1866; P. M. Young, October 15, 1837; John C. Elliott, October 18, 1839; John Moodie, October 19, 1870; Alfred Ailes, October 12, 1872; John Moodie, October 20, 1873; Alfred Ailes, October 20, 1875; John Moodie, October 18, 1876; Alfred Aisles, October 14, 1878; John Moodie, October 18, 1879; Alfred Ailes, October 19, 1881; H. P. Ailes, March 18, 1882; J. C. Babcock, 1884, resigned March 9, 1886; H. P. Ailes, 1885; John Moodie, 1886; H. P. Ailes, 1888; Louis Applegate, 1889, resigned same year; James M. Hussey, 1889; H. P. Ailes, 1891; James M. Hussey, 1892; H. P. Ailes, 1894; J. A. Leininger, 1894; H. P. Ailes, 1897; H. P. Ailes, 1900; A. A. Davis, 1900; H. P. Ailes, 1903; A. A. Davis, 1903; C. F. Babcock, 1906; H. P. Ailes, 1906; H. P. Ailes, 1900 (appointed); C. F. Babcock appointed January 22, 1909, resigned April 5, 1909; J. G. Sailor, 1909; H. P. Ailes, 1910; W. E. Baker, 1910.

The present township clerk is Gee. P. Staley.

Trustees - William Schneeberger, Jacob Helmlinger and J. M. Houghs.


Jackson township has several flourishing fraternal organiiations. Lodge No. 736, Odd Fellows at Jackson Center, has about one hundred members. Granite Camp No. 15573, at Jackson Center has an active membership of thirty one.

Epler Lodge, No. 458, F. & A. M. was organiied at Montra, Shelby county, Ohio, on the 25th of November, 1871, and began working under dispensation, with officers as follows: T. W. Epler, W. M.; H. S. Ailes, S. W.; A. A. Davis, J. W.; J. E. Elliott, treads.; J. C. Grafton, sec.; D. Glick, S. D.; G. W. Elliott, J. D.; E. V. Ailes, Tyler. The charter members were C. M. Davis, J. M. Carter, H. Arnett, B. F. Wren, and H, M. Stout: They received their charter on the 16th of October, 1872. Their place of meeting was at Montra until December 17, 1877, when they moved to Jackson Center, where they have since held their meetings.

Poplar Knob Grange is an active and flourishing society, with W. C. Baker and Sidney Ailes, trustees.

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