History of Ohio Township, Beaver County, Pa.
From: History of Beaver County Pennsylvania
and its Centennial Celebration
BY: Rev. Joseph H. Bausman, A. M.
Knickerbocker Press New York, 1904


Ohio township is situated north of the Ohio River and next to the Ohio State line. Columbiana County, Ohio, bounds it on the west. On the north it is bounded by South Beaver town­ship, on the east by Brighton and Industry townships, and on the south by Industry township and the Ohio River.

The surface of the township is broken, the soil is good and is underlaid with oil, coal, fire clay, limestone, and sandstone. Its streams are smalls; Dry Run, Island Run, Bealer's Run, and others rising within its limits near the center, and passing with a very rapid fall into the Ohio River; and Little Beaver Creek, which, after having left the county and the State, enters both again and empties into the Ohio just at the southwestern edge of this township.

(We have several times quoted from Sketches of a Tour to the Western Country, the journal of F. Cumin& who. in 1807. passed down the Ohio River. His book was pub­lished in Pittsburg in 1810 and a note on page 82 says:

This [the Little Beaver] is a valuable stream for water works though wildly and romantically heĽ+med in by vast hills on both sides. There are two grist nulls, a saw mill and a large paper min all within two miles of its mouth; the latter has lately been erected. and is owned by Jacob Bowman, of Brownsville, John Bever of Georgetown, and John Coulter, who resides at the mill. Over this creeks, about a mile from its mouth, a new toll bridge was erected in the summer and fall of 1809, on the road leading from Washington county to New Lisbon. Canton, Forster, &c., state of Ohio. About a mile above Little Beaver, in the bed of the Ohio, and near the northwestern side, a substance bubbles up. and may be collected at particular times on the surface of the water, similar to Seneca oil. When the water is not too high, it can be strongly smelt while crossing the river at George­town: It is presumed to rise from or through a bed of mineral coal embowelled under the bed of the river. The virtues of the Seneca oil are similar to those of British oil, and sup­posed to be equally valuable in the cures of rheuma tick pains, &c.")

Ohio township was formed in 1805 by a division of South Beaver, being part of the southern section of that township. At the same Sessions of the court (May, 1805), the court appointed John Witherow constable for the newly formed township. The population as shown by the United States Census was, in 1880 1376; in 1890 107; and in 1900, 939. The report of the Sec­retary of Internal Affairs for 1900 showed for Ohio township the following: Taxables, 417; number of acres of cleared land, 10,877; of timber land, 3086; value of all real estate, $495,412 of real estate exempt from taxation, $9215; real estate taxable, $486,197. The following villages and post offices are in this township:


This is a village located on the Ohio River and the Cleveland & Pittsburg Railroad, near the southwestern corner of Ohio township. It lies just across the river from Georgetown, with which it is connected by a ferry that has been in operation for over a hundred years, giving the means of communication between the southern and northern portions of the county. Thomas Smith's ferry is mentioned in a road petition presented to the court of Allegheny County in December, 1799, and is described as being in the lower end of Moon township (see page 86i). Thomas Smith came from Maryland about 1790 with his family, Jesse, Thomas, Samuel, and Joseph and Rachel, Ann and Sarah. He was one of the first settlers at Georgetown, and Smith's Ferry was named from this family. Benjamin Dawson owned the ferry sometime prior to and during 1817, (1) when it was bought again by Jesse Smith. Jesse died May 18, x818. His sons Jesse and Thomas ran the ferry after his death.

The first house in the village of Smith's Ferry was built by James Clark, who was killed by the Indians about 1792. He was the first person buried in the old graveyard at Georgetown. The next house was one built by Benjamin Dawson, which stood near the site of the Western Hotel.

Harris's Business Directory for 1837 names S. & S. Smith as merchants and innkeepers in the village.

The post office at Smith's Ferry was established in 1834, and has had the following persons in charge:

Samuel Smith, appointed October 20, 1834; John W. Mc­Farran, November 15, 1862; Jesse Smith, April 6, 1866; George W. McCormick, September 9, 1885; Thomas L. Minesinger, June 4, 1889; Harvey Wallace, July 24, 1893; and William F. Smith, November 22, 1897.

About 1852, Thomas Elverson, father of W. H. Elverson of New Brighton, with a Scotchman named Samuel Pollock, started what was, perhaps, the first pottery in Beaver County about a quarter of a mile above Smith's Ferry, near a steamboat landing known as Rock Port. They made what is known as Rockingham and yellow ware, and continued the business there until about 1860.

About half a mile above Smith's Ferry, on the north or right hand bank of the Ohio, is a large group of interesting Indian picture carvings. These pictures have been cut with some rude instrument upon the surface of the Piedmont sandstone which is here exposed in the bed of the river at a three foot stage of water. They are scattered over the surface of the rock ledge for a space about forty feet in width and seven hundred feet in length, and represent a great variety of the forms of men and animals, birds, fishes, and reptiles; including the beaver, the bear, the wolf, the turtle, the snake, and the eagle; human foot prints and the tracks of various beasts, as well as inanimate objects, such as the scalp hoop, bows and arrows, etc. There is also a picture of a bison chasing a dog, which is sup­posed to be the only existing drawing of the American buffalo made by Indians.

Whether these carvings or drawings have any significance or not cannot now be certainly known. Some consider them only the idle work of Indians loafing or fishing along the river. They may possibly, however, have some connection with individual or tribal totemism, or be the record of achievements in battle or the chase. It has been suggested that they may possibly mark the boundaries of territory or purchases. Similar rock pictures are found elsewhere in the State. In Venango County, on the left bank of the Allegheny River, five miles south of Franklin (nine by water), is a rock with nine figures cut upon it, which is popularly known as the "Indian god"; and below the dam upon the Susquehanna River at Safe Harbor, Pennsylvania, are two gneissic rocks on which are a large number of pictures, many of them the counterpart of those at Smith's Ferry. The location of the two large groups, and the repetition in them of the forms of the wolf and the turtle, from which well nown tribes of the Delaware Indians were named, would seem to con­nect them with that nation.

Casts and photographs of the most important of the figures at Smith's Ferry have been made by the Carnegie Museum, of Pittsburg, under the direction of Dr. W. J. Holland, and by Mr. James P. Leaf, C. E., of Rochester, Pa. Reproductions of these by the courtesy of the gentlemen named are furnished in this work.

The second Protestant Episcopal Church organized in Beaver County was at Smith's Ferry. Its organization was never per­fected, however, and many removals from the locality brought about its complete dissolution, the church at Fairview receiving many of its members.


Perhaps the most interesting part of the history of Ohio township is that pertaining to its oil, since what is known as the Smith's Ferry Oil Territory is located almost entirely within this township. Long before any borings were made here, oil would ooze out on the Ohio River, and was collected by cloths, and was called "Seneca oil." It still continues to float out on the surface of the water along the Ohio. The first well was bored by Messrs. Pattens, Finlens, Swan & Company, who, in December, 186o, obtained some oil at 180 feet. In the Febru­ary following the Excelsior Company struck a heavy oil at a depth of 72 feet, only a few feet below the level of the Ohio, in a well called the "Good Intent" and in the Piedmont Sand­stone, which is seen in the bed of the Little Beaver above its mouth, and along the Ohio at low water, one mile above Smith's Ferry. This well obtained 400 barrels of 29° oil, when it was completely exhausted. On the 19th of March, 1862, the Emeline Oil Company, composed of P. M. Wallover, I. M. Pennoch, and F. Darlington, got a fair well at the lower edge of Glasgow at a depth of 585 feet. This was a producing well for about twenty five years. By this time the excitement had become intense, wells were bored in every direction, and the territory was rapidly developed. It also became known that the productive oil rock was to be sought from 700 to 730 feet below the Kittanning coal, or about 600 feet below the bed of the Ohio at Smith's Ferry.

The areas of development lie in the vicinity of Smith's Ferry and on Dry Run and its tributaries, and along Little Beaver and Island Run. The wells are all small, none ever having exceeded 25 barrels per day, until March, 1877, when a 50 barrel well was struck near Ohioville by Mr. Smith. Pre­vious to the strike at this well, the estimated yearly production of the district was 35,000 barrels.

Ohioville is a village and post office southeast of the center of Ohio township, near the old oil field. The post office has been served by the following persons since its establishment in 1828:

Joshua Dawson, July 15, 1828; John Clark, April 25, 1829; James P. Scroggs, August 31, 1835; Benoni Dawson, May 1, 1843; Hugh Shields, November 26, 1847; Henry Siberts, Sep­tember 5, 1848; Philip Hill, July 14, 1849; Francis Hamilton, March 11, 1872; John Jackson, August 16, 1872; Harrison Reid, April 14, 1873; Henry Hughes, June 3, 1873; Solomon J. William, December 6, 1875; Eliz. B. Christian, April 8, 1879; Francis Hamilton, October 31, 1879; Clarinda Hamilton, May 26, 1888; Nancy M. Johnston, May 21, 1894; George W. Burt, November 16, 1901.

T. J. Hamilton Post, No. 338, G. A. R., was organized at Ohioville, October 23, 1883. Among its charter members were George W. McGaffick, L. J. Johnston, George W. McKee, Thomas J. Johnston, Joseph C. Irvin, Aaron McCoy, Harvey G. Shaffer, John C. Davis, Luther Barnes, Daniel Blackford, Solomon Mel­bron, Captain J. H. Johnston, Joseph F. Herron, W. T. War­nock, and G. B. Dawson.

Black Hawk post office has had the following in charge: Peter Ferguson, March 2, 1837; Alfred Lyon, February 10, 1840; Henry Briggs, December 27, 1853; William McKey, May 5, 1857; James Badders, July 27, 1858; John Kerr, October 21, 1861; N. I. McCormick, December 28, 1866; Thomas G. Boyd, January 18, 1870; James Parker, January 27, 1888; William Eckles, February 17, 1892.

Esther post office has been served from its establishment by Robert C. Davis, appointed March 14, 1894. This is at the village of Fairview.

St. Paul's Protestant Episcopal Church near Fairview was organized sometime between 1830 and 1835. Ground for a church building was acquired by deed of George Mason and Catherine, his wife, bearing date October 27, 1836. The early members were principally of the families of Masons, Hoges, and Dawsons. After the dissolution of the church at Smith's Ferry the Fairview congregation received many of its members. The pastors of this church have been for the most part those who have served at Georgetown. In 1900 the Rev. Edwin Weary was in charge.

New Salem Presbyterian Church is located one mile west of Black Hawk post office, Ohio township, this county, on the State road known as the " Tuscarawas Road," and close to the dividing line between Ohio and South Beaver townships.

The first recorded appointment for Presbyterian preaching north of the Ohio River is found in the minutes of the meeting of the Presbytery of Ohio at Chartiers Church, near Canonsburg, Washington County, Pa., October 26, 1796, when the Rev. Messrs. John McMillan and Thomas Marquis were appointed to supply "on the northwest side of the Ohio, on the second and third Sabbaths of November, 1796." There were no organized churches in this region at that time, but from the Christian people living there, requests had been sent to Presbytery for supplies, and these men were sent out in answer to such re­quests. This church and the church at Darlington (Mount Pleasant) may have well been organized by McMillan and Marquis at this time. The date of organization is probably, how­ever, before 1798, though it is possible that there never was any formal organization by Presbyterial committee. Some of these earlier churches seem not to have had their origin in the formal action of Presbytery, but simply to have been a natural result of the people in a given neighborhood associating themselves for worship, and being finally recognized by Presbytery as having an ecclesiastical existence.

This church has during its history been connected with six different Presbyteries. These were, first, the Presbytery of Ohio ; second, that of Hartford, to which it was attached in 1808; third, that of Beaver (1833); New Lisbon (1838); Beaver again (1860) ; and in 1870 the Allegheny Presbytery, in which it is now.

The name of this church was probably given to it in affec­tionate remembrance of Salem Church in Westmoreland County, from whose bounds a part of the people had come: that was old Salem, this, New Salem. The first pastor, Thomas E Hughes, was called by this church in connection with Mount Pleasant, April 16, 1798. He served for some nine years, and then re­signed to give his whole time to the Mount Pleasant charge. The membership in 1834 was forty one, and in 1837 forty six. For nearly twenty years after Mr. Hughes's pastorate ceased, the church had only occasional supplies. In September, 1813, Ezekiel Glasgow was installed pastor in connection with Beaver Church, but lived only eight months afterwards.= Among the supplies were Rev. Messrs. Satterfield and Vallandingham, the latter the father of the noted Ohio politician, now deceased.

On April 11, 1820, a call was given to Rev. William Reed. He accepted, and one year later was installed pastor for one half time, the other half being given to Long's Run Church, near Calcutta, Ohio. This pastorate continued until 1860, a period of forty years from the call. Mr. Reed was born in 1785 and died at the age of eighty two. He resided in the Long's Run congregation, having resigned the pastorate of New Salem when he was seventy five years of age. His successor was the late Rev. George N. Johnston, D.D., of Pittsburg, who first preached as supply in May, 1860. He was ordained and in­stalled pastor of this church, September 11, 1861, and remained until 1863. The next pastor was Rev. Albert Dilworth, who was also ordained in this church. His pastorate at that time was short, and in 1866 he was succeeded by the Rev. D. L. Dickey, D.D., this being his first charge also, and his ordination taking place in this church. He remained but one year, and the pulpit was vacant until 1869, when Rev. Alexander Mc­Gaughey became pastor, remaining until 1871. Mr. McGaughey died within the bounds of the congregation, and is the only pastor buried in the church burying grounds.

Rev. John R. Dundas, now deceased, of Homeworth, Ohio, officiated as stated supply for several years; and in 1875 Rev. William M. Kane was installed and served for a short time, being succeeded by Rev. James T. Patterson as stated supply for three years. In 1885 Mr. Dilworth, the former pastor, re­turned as stated supply and remained as such until 1899. He was followed by Rev. Robert H. Allen, 1902, and Rev. James B. Price, 1904.

For the first forty years of the existence of the church there is a total lack of sessional records, but so far as could be learned the following is a list of the ruling elders who have served in it: Samuel Thompson, Robert Bradshaw, James Gorrel, Moses Louthan, these being the first of whom there is any record; George Wilson, James Wilson, Thomas Barclay, John Thompson, William Hunter, Hugh Mitchell, Andrew McClain, Joseph D. Reed, John McConnel, Robert Graham, James McMillin, Joseph Wilson, Robert H. Barclay, Francis Scott, Dr. Cunningham, Dr. T. G. Boyd, Abner Morton, R. P. McMillen, J. M. Hartford, Thomas B. Hunter, William Dunlap, J. F. Bradshaw, W. T. Eakin, and J. C. Warrick.

The first services of this church were held near the Caughey burying ground. Later, a rough log church was built near the site of the present edifice, and in 1822 a hewed log building re­placed it. The lot on which the present church stands was donated by George Foulkes, and, later, John Glass donated additional ground, which includes the spring.

This congregation has given several of its sons to the Christian ministry. Of these two were sons of Rev. William Reed, one of whom died on the eve of entering the work. The other, Rev. David Reed, was long a successful pastor, serving various churches in Ohio.

Rev. Milton McMillin, son of Joseph McMillin, entered the ministry in 1861, and remained in the work until his death in 1876. One of his sons is also a minister.

Two sons of Elder Francis Scott became successful ministers, and, so far as known, are the last contribution of this congre­gation to the Presbyterian ministry.

New Salem celebrated its centennial anniversary on Wednes­day, August 31, 1898.

Four Mile Square United Presbyterian Church. - March 28, 1811, application for preaching at this place was made to the Associate Presbytery of Ohio (organized 1808) at a meeting of that body at Greersburg, now Darlington, and Rev. David Imbrue was appointed to preach.' Services were held by him in the woods on the farm of George Barclay, now owned by his son, A. S. Barclay.

Again, at a meeting of Presbytery, February 13, 1812, as shown by the minutes, Mr. Duncan was appointed to preach at Anderson's on the second Sabbath of March. It is believed that the Anderson here named was the same who owned the land now in possession of D. W. Scott and others, for although he was a Presbyterian, he is said to have offered the new con­gregation ground on which to build their church. For some reason his offer was not accepted.

Mr. Imbrie was again appointed to preach at this point on the first Sabbath of July, 1812. In this month and year the congregation is believed to have been organized, though the exact date is not known. The first communion was held at that time by Mr. Imbrie, assisted by Dr. John Anderson of Eudolpha Hall, and they are thought to have effected the organization.

The name of this church, Four Mile Square, or simply Four Mile, as it is usually called, was given to it from its being near that part of District No. 1 of the Depreciation lands which was surveyed by Alexander McClean, and which, on account of its shape and dimensions, was later familiarly known as "Four Mile Square."' The first church building of this congregation a brick structure 40 x 45, erected about 1831 at a cost of $900, was on the farm of John Hunter in Brighton township. This was used until 1872, when the present building was erected at a cost of $4000. It is situated about eighty rods from the site of the old one, and is in Ohio township.

Among the first members of this congregation were two fam­ilies named Graham, two named Johnson, with others named McLaughlin, Herron, and Ingles. Soon after these came the English, Rhodes, and Slentz families, the Camerons, McCulloughs, Andersons, Vances, and Scotts.

There are no records showing who were elected as elders at the time of the organization, but the first session is thought to have been Hugh Graham, Hance Johnson, and Robert Herron. In 1831 the session was composed of Hugh Graham, Robert Herron, William Scott, Barnard Anderson, Robert Barnes, An­drew Ingles, John Hunter, and William Vance. In after years the following appear: John A. Scroggs, 1838; James Graham, John Shane, Alexander Ewing, and John S. Herron, 1844; William Galley and George Barclay, 1852; and in 1855, Jesse McGaffick; in 1860, William Edgar; 1861, Joseph Niblock; 1866, N. I. McCormick; 1869, Samuel Gibson, John Slentz, and William H. Laird; 1875, David W. Scott, David Hammond, and Samuel Anderson; 1881, J. C. Wilson; 1893, John Johnson and Joseph Gilliland; 1900, C. A. Hunter and D. H. Gibson, in all, thirty three elders, of whom only six are living.

If any pastoral relations existed between 1812 and 1823 the names of the ministers have not been preserved, but it is thought that during this period the church had mainly Presbyterial supplies. November 1, 1820, Elijah N. Scroggs was ordained by Ohio Presbytery and installed pastor of several churches, one of which was Four Mile Square. He continued with this church until April, 1849. Mr. Scroggs was the youngest son in a fam­ily of twenty one children. He died December 20, 1851, while pastor of West Union, Ohio. Rev. John A. McGill was his successor, remaining in the charge from October 7, 1851, until November 15, 1853, when he resigned. The United Presbyterian Church of Beaver was organized by him, while principal of Beaver Academy. The pulpit of this church was vacant, except for occasional supplies, from this date until June 11, 1861, when Rev. David H. A. McLean became pastor of Beaver and Four Mile Square. He resigned the latter charge, September 25, 1866, becoming in the following year principal of the Beaver Ladies' Seminary. The pastoral succession since has been John C. Evans, September 17, 1867-June 13, 1871; Josiah Thompson, January, 1875-November, 1876; J. A. Edie, 1881-1886; J. S. T. Milligan, 1892-96; D. M. Davis, 1901-03; and A. L. Hazlett, 1904, - in all, nine settled pastors since the or­ganization, six of whom are still living.

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