History of Salem 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


The organization of Salem township took place June 5, 1826, when the county commissioners ordered that all that part of Perry township lying on the northwest side of the Miami river be formed into a new township and named Salem. It lies in the eastern tier of townships and its boundaries are Franklin and Jackson townships on the north, Logan county on the east, Perry and Clinton townships on the south and Clinton and Franklin townships on the west.

While the surface of Salem township is somewhat hilly along the water courses, it may be generally described as rolling. The soil is varied, with clay in some sections and in others rich black loam. The early settlers found here plenty of wood and water, this township being made green and fruitful by an abundance of springs which feed larger bodies of water here, including the Great Miami on the southern border, Ruin creek in the east, Count's run in the central part and Plum creek on the east. This township is noted for its fine gravelled roads, the gravel being found in many places in the township.


The first white settler in what is now Salem township is supposed to have been Charles Weeks, who located in section 20 about 1810 or 1810. He was followed several years later by the Hathaways and Gilberts. Prior to 1810 the following people had come as pioneers: Jesse Jackson, Alexander Jackson, Elisha Kirtland and Caleb Goble: Adam Counts and Jacob LeMasters came in 1810 and within the next two years followed William Roberts, Samuel Taylor, George Morrison, Benjamin Beden, Joseph Donaldson and William Skillen. John Hathaway, in 1814 or 1815, built his log cabin near the spring at Port Jefferson. Alexander Jackson had the distinction of building the first hewed log house and. John Johnston of erecting and living in the first frame one. The first road in Salem township was the Sidney and Bellefontaine road, which was surveyed by a Mr. Thompson. Later surveyors and civil engineers in Salem were Daniel G. Hull and Col. J. Counts.


Of the three towns surveyed and platted within the confines of Salem township, Port Jefferson, Tileton (now Maplewood) and North Salem, one North Salem, platted in 1836, has long since disappeared.

Port Jefferson, situated on the northwest bank of the Great Miami river, was surveyed and platted August 11, 1836, by Jonathan Counts, deputy surveyor for Ezekiel Thomas and Abner Gerrard, proprietors, ands contained '93 lots and fractional lots. It is situated at the head of the Miami extension canal feeder, and was incorporated as a village in 1842. Its first mayor was E. H. West. The first settler here was John Hathaway. The first store was kept by Albert K. Hathaway, who was succeeded by John Ogden, other members of the Ogden family subsequently continuing the business. The present proprietor is Chas. W. Ogden. The first hotel at Port Jefferson was kept by Samuel Anderson and the first physician registered here was Dr. L. A. Davis. The first postmaster was Alexander Jackson and at that day the mail was carried on horseback from Sidney to Marysville. During the palmy days of the canal; Port Jefferson, being situated at the head of navigation, was a booming village and had a most brilliant prospect. Five warehouses were in operation and the cooper and stave shops employed at least 150 men. There was a grist mill, two asheries for the manufacture of potash, which paid seven cents a bushel for ashes, an important source of income to the farmers. There were also five stores doing a flourishing business. With the advent of the railroad, however, all this was changed. The canal as a means of transportation was abandoned and Port Jefferson's hopes of a brilliant future were blasted. The present population of the village is 233.


Although it was not until 1858 that Port Jefferson was organized as a special school district, schools had been maintained in the township for many years previously. At first they were subscription schools, each householder paying his due proportion of the expense. Later taxes were assessed for school purposes. It was a long time before adequate buildings could be provided and even then only through some particular display of public spirit, while at the same time it was often a difficult matter to secure competent teachers. After the organization of the special school district at Port Jefferson, a one story brick structure was large enough to accommodate the students, but later it was enlarged to two rooms, and in 1877 a fine brick schoolhouse was built, at a cost of $7,745, exclusive of furniture. At the time of erection of this building, which was at that time One of the most modern and complete in the county, the board of education was made up of the following members: R. B. Conklin, M. J. Winget, J. B. Nettleship, J. F. Miller, J. C. Ogden and William Manning. An account of the present educational facilities in Salem township, with interesting details in regard to the number of schools, enrollment, etc., may be found in the chapter on education.

Methodist Episcopal Church. The records of the first organized society of Methodists at Port Jefferson have not been preserved but antedate 1830. The earliest church edifice was of log construction and stood near the old cemetery east of the town. Later it was removed to give place to a frame building, which sufficed until 1862, when a new building was completed and dedicated by Rev. R. D. Oldfield, then pastor. A Sunday school was established, which proved an important factor in the growth of the church and the building up of its membership.

The Miami Christian Church In 1849 Rev. James Skillen and Joseph Warbleton organized the Miami Christian church at the home of John Mulford, the first members being Amos and John Mulford and their wives, Jacob Near and wife and Samuel Wiles. Much interest was manifested in the society and its membership grew rapidly. The first place of worship, a log church, was built in 1852, on land in Logan county, owned by Jacob Near, and continued to be used until it was destroyed by fire in 1871, when a frame structure was erected on Henry emp's land. This church has had an important influence on religious development in the township.


Salem township has never had any disturbances concerning its government. Its present trustees are: H. J. Stockstill, John Stout and S. M. Snoop, while H. L. Haney, of Port Jefferson, is township clerk. Its justices of the peace who have served in the interim between 1836 and 1911 have been representative men, as follows: A. K. Hathaway, 1836; S. Gamble, 1837; A. K. Hathaway, 1839; Theodore McGinnis, 1840, resigned in May, 1842; James Gilfillen, 1840; Thomas Robbins, 1842; Elias LeFevre, 1843; A. Knox, 1844, resigned, 1845; Silas A. Thompson, 1845; Vincent Guerin, 1845; Vincent Guerin, 1848; Joseph Comer, 1849; Vincent Guerin, 1851; Reason Butt, 1852; James Haney, 1852; George J. Mitchell, 1853; George J. Mitchell, 1856; Joseph Corner, 1858; Daniel Ferree, 1858; H. M. Stout, 1859; William Shinn, Jr., 1861; H. M. Stout, 1862; J. P. Forsythe and William Shinn, 1864; G. J. Mitchell, 1865; Robert Simpson, 1866; J. P. Forsythe, 1867; G. J. Mitchell, 1868; Robert Simpson, 1869; John P. Forsythe, 1870; Jacob LaFevre, 1871; William Dunlap, 1871; H. M. Ailes, 1872; W. H. Mitchell, 1872; Robert Simpson, 1873; F. L. Manning, 1873; H. M. Ailes, 1875; A. A. Dunson, 1875; R. B. Conklin, 1876; S. L. Manning, 1878; A. A. Dunson, 1878; R. B. Conklin, 1879; B. McCormick, 1881; S. L. Manning, 1881; S. L. Manning, 1884; J. F. Thompson, 1884; S. B. Redinbaugh, 1887; James Haney, 1890; A. S. Retter, 1890; Albert Clark, 189o; James Haney, 1893; Jacob Epler, 1893; James Haney, 1896; A. S. Retter, 1896; James Haney, 1899; A. S. Retter, 1899; E. L. Harrison, 1900; Jacob Epler, 1903, appointed to fill vacancy caused by refusal of W. E. Smith to serve; E. B. Honnell, 1903 to 1906; A. S. Retter, 1903; John Reeves, 1904; A. S. Retter, 1906; A. S. Retter, 1908; John Reeves, 1908: John Reeves, 1911; A. S. Retter, 1911.

Stokes Lodge No. 305, F. & A. M. This lodge was organized March, 1858, under the name of Stokes Lodge, in howor of Horace M. Stokes; who at that time was grand master of the state. The lodge worked under dispensation until October, 1858, at which time the following officers of the grand lodge were present, viz.: Wm. Fielding, W. G. M.; W. C. Fielding, Depot G. M.; W. W. Skillen, S. G. W.; F. A. Pool, J. G. W.; Alex. Green; S. G. D.; Irwin Nutt, J. G. D.; H. O. Sheldon, W. G. C.; T. E. English, G. T.; J. S. Read, G. S.; and Jacob Young, T.

Earl Lodge No. 365, I. O. O. F. A charter was granted by the grand lodge of the state of Ohio to W. B. Sandoe, Coiner, E. H. Hopkins, J. F. Black, Wm. Dunlap, and Isaac Strahlem, May 15, 1861, to organize Earl Lodge No. 365, of I. O. O. F.

The first meeting of the lodge was held at Port Jefferson, July 13, 186r. G. M., W. F. Slater took the chair. The following officers were elected: W. B. Sandoe, N. G.; E. H. Hopkins, V. G.; Wm. Dunlap, R. S.; Joseph Comer, treasurer. After election they proceeded to the Methodist Episcopal church, where Grand Chaplain D. E. Thomas delivered an address, and the officers were installed by the grand master. The lodge room at this time was over the store of Joseph Comer. Some time later another lodge room was secured, which was afterwards burned, together with nearly all the furniture of the lodge. Meetings for a number of years were held in a room over the store of S. T. Thirkield. In the fall of 1832 the lodge secured the privilege from E. L. Kraft of building the second story, on his new store building for a lodge room. This room they finished and furnished at a cost of about $1,600.

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