History of Washington 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


WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP

This township was originally named Grayson, by Col. Jesse Wilson, in honor of his native county in Virginia. The township was settled many years before its organization in 1825. The petition for organization was filed with the commissioners in March of that year, and an election of officers was called for April at the home of Joseph Stewart. The election was postponed until September of that year, however, owing to an appeal being taken to the common pleas court on the creation of the township. The township was created from parts of Loramie, Turtle Creek and Clinton townships, and is a small township, containing twenty five square miles, but is possibly the best watered and drained in Shelby county. The Miami river forms nearly all of the township's east border line, besides which it is penetrated by Lorarnie creek, Turtle creek and numerous smaller streams. The Miami and Erie canal with it feeder crosses the township. The feeder enters the canal at Loëkington, the summit of the canal, from which point water flowed both ways. It was a highly important point in the active days of the canal and of distinguishing characteristics. The Big Four railroad crosses the township along the north boundary and affords transportation facilities.

The settlement of what now is Washington township antedates that of any other part of the county, at least James Thatcher, who made actual settlement in the northwest part of the township in 1805, is generally accredited with being the first to take up permanent residence here. The following year, John, Joseph and David Mellinger took up their abode near the present village of Loëkington, and Thomas Earl also came in 1805. In that early period, new arrivals were few and far between, but from the meagre facts available, it is fairly certain that John Wilson settled along the bank of Turtle creek in 1807; Samuel Marshall came in 1808; Samuel McClure in 1810; the Lenox brothers, Richard, James and John, came in 1811. The manner of life they led, the hardships and privations, also their homely pleasures, are handed down in the history and traditions of every newly developed community. That they were men of the right type, brave and hardy spirits, has been demonstrated by their accomplishments as well as those of their progeny, in the years that have intervened. Julia Ann Lenox, daughter of Richard Lenox and afterward wife of William Stephens, has always been accorded the honor of being the first white child born in. Washington township. The first. marriage is supposed to have been that of William Manning and Ruth Julian. In 1816, John Wilson built a brick house, the first of that construction here, and the first sawmill In the township or county was that of Samuel Marshall on Turtle creek.

The following is a list of the justices of the peace of the township and the respective years of their election: William Mellinger, 1835 and in 1838; James G. Guthrie, 1839; John Munsey, 1841; James G. Guthrie, 1842; William Mellinger, 1843; John Munsey, 1844; Robert Dinsmore, 1846; William Mellinger, 1846; Robert Dinsmore, 1849; William Mellinger, 1849; Robert Dinsmore. 1852; Amos Mohler, 1855; Harvey Guthrie, 1855; William Mellinger, 1858; Harvey Guthrie, 1858; William L. Burns, 1861; M. Wilson, 1862; William L. Burns, 1864; Harvey Guthrie, 1865; John N. Stewart, 1867; Robert Dinsmore, 1869; John Johnston, 1870; Robert Dinsmore. 1872; Jacob Everly, 1873; Isaac Betts, 1875; Joseph Johnston, 1876; J. K. Dinsmore, 1878; John Johnston, 1879; J. K. Dinsmore, 1881; J. K. Dinsmore, 1884; John Johnston, 1845; John Johnston, 1888; J. K. Dinsmore, 1888; J. L. Mellinger, 1891; A. D. Williams, 1891; Robert J. Dinsmore, 1894; J. K. Dinsmore, 1894; R. J. Dinsmore, 1897; Charles Adams, 1897; Gordon Parents, 1900; Jacob Everly, 1900; Charles Adams, 1902; A. T. Warwick 1905; A. T. Warwick, 1907; and Jacob Everly, 1908.

Washington township has been fortunate in its schools, each district being provided with a good building and the instruction being of the highest character. This condition was not brought about in a day, but represents generations of progress and improvements. This subject is dealt with more fully in the chapter on education, to be found on another page of this work.

CHURCHES

In its churches also Washington has been fortunate, and of the various church societies few have passed out of being. Those that did, at one time flourished and their records show much in the accomplishment of good. The work of the church in the early period reflects much of the life the pioneers led, as church and social life were closely interwoven.

The Methodist Episcopal denomination was active here long before a church was built. We find missionaries of that faith visiting the immunity at the very earliest settlement. However it was some few years before there were any regularly organized societies. Even then they met for worship first in one cabin and another until they were somewhat more firmly established. No records being kept, such knowledge as we have of the church in those pioneer days has come through the vale of years by word of mouth. In 1825 or thereabout, a class consisting of James Thompson and wife, Jane Thompson, Joseph Caldwell and wife, Jane Patterson, Thomas Plummer and Amos Travers, was organized at the home. of James Thompson, who was the first class leader. After some years meetings were held at the home of John Legg, upon whose property the society built a hewed log church building in 1838, dedicating it as Ebenezer church. The church held its own for many years, but as other more conveniently located churches became established, inroads were made upon its membership until in 1872 it ceased to exist, most of the members joining the Lockington body.

The Lockington Methodist Episcopal church was organized at the home of Wilkinson Post, in December, 1847, by Rev. Jacob W. Young, the first members being: Wilkinson Post and wife, Isaac W. Legg, who was the leader, Mrs. Patten, Mrs. Munson and Mrs. Harper. A subscription was taken for a church building in 1848, but owing to an epidemic of cholera it was not until 1850 they completed their frame edifice, which was dedicated in June of that, year by Rev. Michael Marley. It was a good substantial building and has been remodeled and enlarged twice since, in 1881 and again in 1812. Rev. Mr. Stafford is the present pastor.

The United Brethren church in Washington dates back to 1844 when Rev. James Winters organized a society at Rock Run, the original members' being Francis Bailey and wife, Sarah Rasor, William Dunlap and wife, John Bower and wife, and Blakeley Dunlap and wife. Francis Bailey was the leader. Although they kept up their organization for years, they never built a church and the members gradually joined with other societies which had churches. In 1850, the society at Lockington was formed by the Rev. Henry Toby and for two years or more they worshipped in a schoolhouse. In 1851 they erected a new church, which was dedicated in 1854 by Rev. Henry Cumler. The first leader was. Jacob Rasor and the following were the members: William Valentine and wife, W. Furnce and wife, C. Beadle and wife, Abram Rasor and wife, Jacob Rasor and Stephen Alexander and wife. The building served them well until 1887, when the present edifice was erected. The present pastor is Rev. J. H. Mayne.

The Disciple church in Lockington was organized in 1871 by Elder John M. Smith, with the following members: Joseph T. Wilkinson, John P. Johnston and wife, S. A. Johnston and wife, C. Johnston and wife, Joseph P. Barkalow and wife, William Beauchamp, Henry P. Johnston and wife, Mrs. Molly Mellinger, Harriet Johnston and Sarah A: Johnston. For a year they held meeting in a schoolhouse, at the end of which time they bought the building and remodeled it. The first elders of the church were Joseph T. Wilkinson and Christopher Johnston. The first deacons were William Beauchamp and S. A. Johnston.

LOCKINGTON

Lockington, once known by the name of Lockport, was a flourishing little place and a point of much interest in the old days of canaling. The last census accorded it a population of 166. It was surveyed by Jonathan Counts, in 1837, for its owner David Mellinger, and the plat recorded on December 18, of that year. Upon petition to the county commissioners, Lockington was. incorporated as a village on September 9, 1857. Its first municipal election was held April 1, 1858, and the following officers elected: W. S. Burns, mayor; G. A. Gillespie, recorder; Jacob Rasor, treasurer; John Agenbroad, marshal; and W. B. Valentine, F. Whitby, D. K. Gillespie, Thomas Wilson and N. B. Boust, members of the council. The present mayor of Lockington is Thomas Bailey, an old and respected resident of the village.

About all of the industrial activity of Washington township has been centered at Lockington. About the year 1830, a man named Steiriberger started a small flour mill on Loramie creek near where the village now is located, and in connection operated a sawmill which a man named Aldrich had previously built near by and abandoned. John Brown became the purchaser of these mills in 1837, and in addition conducted a woolen mill. It was sold to Robert Ewing, who in 1844 built a new flour mill and ran it until 1859. It was subsequently operated successively by D. K. Gillespie, John Johnston, John. Fuller and O. C Horton, the latter having it in 1872 when fire destroyed it. Rasor & Brother; having bought the site, erected a new mill the following year, which continued in operation until some fifteen or sixteen years ago.

The first sawmill in Lockington was built by William Stephens about the year 1845, and was later sold to Reed Brothers; who closed it down after a few years. The site was sold in 1860 to Daniel and Jacob Rasor, who erected a new mill, with a corn crusher and chopping burr attached. They operated it until 1873, then sold out to the Summit Paper Mill Company, who sold it a few months later to Francis Bailey and two sons. They continued the business until 1876, when it was sold to J. T. and H. P. Bailey, who operated it with success for years. The mill was burned down some eight or ten years ago and was never rebuilt.

At the present time there is located in Lockington the grain elevator of C. N. Adlard, which was established by D. K. Gillespie and came into the hands of the present proprietor about eight years ago. With respect to storing capacity this elevator is one of the largest in the state. It is a modern building in every respect and was substantially improved by Mr. Adlard in 1912.

Vogler & Hershey conduct a general store here and keep a wagon on the road, selling and buying produce.

G. A. Pope, who is postmaster, also conducts a general store, and in summer has a. good ice cream business.

The Buxton Pattern Works were established here about four years ago, Mr. Buxton devoting his personal attention to the designing of special machinery.

Lockington Tent, No. 68, Knights of the Maccabees, is also located here.

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