History of Concord Township, Ross County OH

From: The County of Ross
Henry Holcomb Bennett, Editor
Published by Selvyn A. Brant
Madison, Wis. 1902


THIS township was organized May 10, 1803. Since its organization, the territory has been subdivided, and several townships, in whole or in. part, have been created from territory formerly embraced within the limits of Concord. Deerfield was organized July 7, 1804, from Union and Concord; Twin township, February 20, 1805, from territory originally embraced in Concord, Union and Paxton; August 10, 1807, Concord contributed with Paxton in the organization of Buckskin township, and on March 9, 1808, Paint township was organized from Concord, with the addition of a. small portion from Paxton, thus leaving the boundaries as at present established

Concord tounship, being located in the Virginia Military District, was originally settled by the soldiers of the Revolution, and is now generally peopled by the descendants of those early patriots. The fauns average larger in acreage than most others in the county, owing to the fact that the original grants covered large areas, and this was transmitted, in many instances, without division. Open handed hospitality prevails among these worthy descendants of Revolutionary sires, who are a class of intelligent and progressive citizens, many of whom are highly cultured and intellectual. Concord township is, indeed, a historic location. It was the principal home of the Shawanee Indians in the Scioto valley, many years prior to its exploration by white men, and so continued during the early days of settlement. "Old Chillicothe," on the present site of Frankfort, was their principal town in the Scioto country. At this point the Indians massed their warriors and marched out in 1774 to fight the memorable battle of Point Pleasant. At this point was also organized many of the forays against the early Kentucky settlers; and it was the objective point of Simon Kenton's expedition under command of Colonel Tod, which resulted in the destruction of the town, and general dispersion of the Indians.

Some apparently reliable accounts fix Old Chillicothe, or "Old town," as the point at which Daniel Boone was kept a prisoner after his capture in 1773, and declare that five years later he organized an expedition which marched up the Paint valley and destroyed the town. This statement is discredited by some historians who state that the Chillicothe on the Miami was Boone's objective point on this occasion.

The murder of Capt. Thomas Herrod, an early settler, also occurred on the soil of Concord township, as did the killing of Wawwil-a-way, a friendly and harmless Indian chief, who had been a firm friend of the whites, and had no possible connection with the murder of Captain Herrod. These events, which occurred in 1803, threw the community into a state of turmoil, and hurried the settlers into places of safety, in anticipation of an Indian attack which never came. It is generally believed that Captain Herald came to his death through the jealousy of a disappointed political opponent, who sought to divert suspicion from himself to the Indians, and thus avoid punishment for his crime. Wolff, the man who killed Wawwilaway, subsequently made peace with the sons of the chief, by the purchase of his life with an indemnity, thus being permitted to return from an enforced exile in the wilds of Kentucky. But the assassin of Captain Herrod was never identified. The news of this supposed breach of the Indian peace caused great excitement in the white settlements, the particulars of which were briefly told in the Scioto Gazette. The first article appeared May 21, 1803, under the head: "ALARM! Captain Herrod Killed! Latest from the Indian Outbreak at Old Town." "This morning about three o'clock, an express arrived in town from Old Chillicothe, with information that yesterday afternoon Captain Herrod, while at work in his field, had been shot and scalped by the Indians, and who was not dead at the time he was discovered by his family, but was able to relate some of the circumstances, and died soon after, having had two balls through his head. A body of upwards of forty Shawanees from Sandusky had been for several days lurking between VTestfall and that settlement, and who, immediately after the murder, went to the prairie, drove the horses over the creek, took as many as they wanted, and made off. On the alarm being given, the citizens of this town immediately turned out a company of volunteers, who left about daylight. The alarm through the country being general, we hope to give a good account of them in our next."

In the next issue of the Gazette, May 28th, it was stated that doubt was felt as to the murder of Captain Herald having been committed by the Indians, and that it was, more probably, the work of a white, who did the scalping to throw suspicion on the Indians. An account was also given of what happened on May 23, two days after the death of Captain Herrod. "Mr. Wolff, living a short distance from Old Chillicothe, apprehending that some disagreeable consequence might come from the death of Captain Herrod, took with him Mr. Williams, Mr. Ferguson and two lads, for the purpose of driving up his cattle from the prairie; they had not been long on the search, when they discovered an Indian coming toward them, they soon met, after some conversation, Wolff introduced the subject of the murder of Captain Herrod; the Indian appeared alarmed, and was moving off; some suspicions arising with Wolff and Williams that he was intent on mischief, agreed to fire on him; they rode up, Wolff shot and the Indian fell, but instantly rising he shot in turn at Williams and he fell, the ball passing through his body. Wolff and the Indian clinched, each having a knife; fortunately for Wolff, one of the lads coming to his assistance, the Indian retreated about two hundred yards, where he was found dead the next day. Williams died the same night, but Wolff, though severely wounded in the thigh by a stab with a knife, will recover."

The various Indian tribes, through their chiefs, disclaimed in vehement language, any connection with, or knowledge of, the murder of Captain Herrod, and their interesting letters, published in the Gazette at the time, show great respect and friendship for their pale faced brethren. The unhappy difficulty into which David Wolff had gotten himself in killing Wawwilawav, was finally settled according to the Indian idea of redressing wrongs, in the manner described in the Scioto Gazette: "We are authorized to inform the public that the difference between David Wolff and the Indians is amicably settled. On the 20th [May] Major Manary and Capt. Joseph McCoy, with about twenty citizens of Ross county, met the Indians near the Old Town, in order to heal that unhappy breach occasioned by the death of Wawwilaway. The Indians observed that they had been informed that Wolff had manifested a desire to bury the tomahawk, and that he was willing to give something in testimony of his friendly intentions. Wolff presented them with a horse and a rifle. The Indians accepted the presents, then took him by the hand and addressed him 'Brother, we receive your presents, not as the price of our brother's blood, but as a token of your sincerity, and testimony of friendship. We now adopt and receive you, in the place of our brother, Wawwilaway- (he then pointed to that glorious luminary of heaven whose cheerful rays give animation to the world) and then proceeded thus: So long as the great spirit, who presides over the earth, shall manifest through that glorious orb, we will bury all former animosities in the dark and silent grave of forgetfulness. Wolff embraced them as his brethren, and promised fidelity and friendship."

Concord township is traversed by the north fork of Paint creek, a stream of considerable size, on each side of which are broad, level tracts of land of the rich black loam variety, which is exceptionally fertile as corn land. The hills, which at some points confine the bottom lands to narrow limits, and at others reach back beyond the township boundaries, are picturesquely beautiful with their settings of wooded belts and diversified surface. The terrace lands, and even most of the hillsides, are strong and fertile clay soil, which yield abundant returns under proper cultivation. Being abundantly watered from the many springs which abound, these lands are especially valuable for grazing purposes, the stock raising industry being a source of profit as well as pleasure. The principal streams which are large enough to be dignified with names are, from the south, Herrod's creek, Whetstone creek, and Little North fork; and from the north, Waugh's run or Hay creek, Oldtown run, and Carey's creek. These, with many spring branches or runs, constitute the drainage of the township, as well as the water supply. With the advantages before enumerated, it is not strange that a large majority of the farmers are extensively engaged in the stock business, and many of them feed the entire grain product of their farms to stock, reared by themselves, while others are buyers and shippers. The yearly growth of this industry is a feature which distinguishes the township from a really agricultural community.

Extensive fruit growing is another profitable industry which commands large investment and correspondingly large returns. There are those who have kept abreast of the onward march of horticultural science, and in the scientific propagation and culture of the varieties best adapted to the soil and climate have realized abundant returns.

Concord township, like the entire area of the Scioto and Paint valleys, is rich in relics of the prehistoric period. On many farms are still to be found well preserved mounds belonging to some of the various classes described in the chapter on Ross County Antiquities. But many others, less pretentious in character, have been leveled and obliterated by the successive plowings of a hundred years. The inquiring investigation has revealed some interesting relics in exploring these mounds, and valuable collections of curios have been preserved. Three of the various kinds generally found have been explored in Concord, viz.: Sepulchral, Temple and Mounds of Observation. There is a. defensive mound within the limits of the town of Frankfort, which originally enclosed about fifteen acres, and was connected with another one of similar dimensions in the same field. Vestiges of these still remain, and are the most interesting relics of the prehistoric period in, that locality.

Traditional history at best is unreliable, but becomes especially so when transmitted to the third or fourth generation. No written record exists as to the first settler in Concord township; neither have we the names of all of the first officers of the townhip Herewith is presented the names of some of the earliest settlers, early business men, and officials: About the year 1796, a man named Popejay kept a small tavern north of Oldtown, where the land seekers could be accommodated with food and shelter. It is also related that this was often the scene of disorderly carousals, where both blood and whiskey flowed freely. About 1800, Hendrick Roseboom built a house which became "The Indian Queen" tavern, and was operated as such by Roseboorn and Samuel Devault Andrew Ten Eyck later succeeded to the proprietorship of "The Indian Queen," and operated it for many years. In 1799, James and Michael Bush came from Virginia and put up a mill and distillery near the site of the old Union church. This being the first test of the water power at that location, it was found to be insufficient, and the mill was moved to a more favorable point, where it continued to do good service for many years in grinding grain and sawing lumber. The proprietors of the mill also established a general store, and did a thriving business. This was one of the first mills in Concord township and about the first venture in general merchandising. Jacob Debart built a mill on an island in the North fork soon after the Bush mill was established. This was later known as the Haynes mill and was operated by William M. Haynes until quite recently. John McNeil and Isaac Pancake established the first general store, in 1808.

Capt. Robert Hoddy came to the Scioto valley with his father's family in 1796 from Harper's Ferry, Va. Richard Hoddy, father of Robert, was a Revolutionary soldier. Chillicothe boasted of but one cabin when Richard Hoddy landed there. Two thousand Indians, from Oldtown, were encamped on the bank of the Scioto, where the upper bridge now spans the river. Richard Hoddy entered five hundred acres of land on Paint creek, four miles below Oldtown, and there erected the first grist mill and saw mill in the valley. He died on his farm in 1830. On the death of his father Captain Hoddy succeeded to the business, and added a distillery to the diversified milling interests, though it is understood that the distillery business was taken up many years before the father's death, since it is mentioned in the "Pioneer Record of Ross County" as the "first distillery in the valley." Captain Hoddy served as adjutant under Col. William Clark during the war of 1812. He was also commander of the post where British prisoners were confined after the war, holding that position until they were released. In civil life, he served as land appraiser, assessor and tax collector of Concord township; and in every phase of his eventful life he deported himself and discharged his varied duties with great honor to himself and satisfaction to his constituency. Captain Hoddy married. Elizabeth, daughter of Peter Putnam, who was also a very early settler of the Paint creek valley, coming from Hampshire county, Va., in 1809. Peter Putnam was a lineal descendant of the same stock which furnished us such men as Gens. Israel and Rufus Putnam. Both the Hoddy and Putnam families have many descendants in Ross county at the present day.

Col. A. Hegler was a commander of the militia in 1812 and an early resident of Concord. He served two terms in the State legislature. A blockhouse was located on William Cochran's farm, the necessity for which would prove him a very early settler. Rev. Nathan Carey was the first Baptist preacher in the township. Felix Wells accompanied his father's family from Kentucky in 1799, and located in the Scioto valley in 1800. He served fifteen years as justice of the peace in Concord township. Thomas Somerset emigrated from Kentucky in 1796, and died in Frankfort in 1834. He served in the war of the Revolution, and his son Henry was a soldier from Concord in the war of 1812. Their numerous posterity still live, for the most part, in Ross county.

The following names are among the list of patriots who responded to the call to arms during the second war with Great Britain, all being residents of Concord at the time of enlistment, or returning and making homes there immediately after peace was declared: David "Maddox, Thomas Robinson, Levi Cargold, John King, Elihu Wheeler, Ephraim Watson, James Dennison, Richard Donahue, David Dooley, Stephen Cory, Nicholas DeBolt, C. McElroy, M. Fmmitt, Joseph Morse, George Vinsant, Daniel and Jacob Shob, and Andrew Cochran.

William V. Vinsant served twelve years as a justice of the peace in the early days of Concord. John McNeil came to the township in 1798, and located on a farm near Frankfort. His descendants still occupy the land just north of the town. Samuel and Joseph Briggs came from Virginia also in 1798, and located on the North fork, near the mouth of Herrod's creek, where the family name is still maintained. James and Michael Bush, before mentioned, settled near the Briggs family, on land still held by their descendants. Stephen and Nathan Carey came from Virginia between 1797 and 1800, and settled about a mile and a half east of Frankfort, where the family name is still perpetuated. Samuel Wiley, R. Stewart, J. Sutherland and Francis Wells (father of Felix) were early settlers in the vicinity of Oldtown.

Frederick Besley, a noted Indian spy, and hero of three wars, was an eccentric hermit who ended his days in Concord townships. During his career he was often in the company of Kenton, Boone, Wolf, Boggs, Slover, Hughes and Wetzel. He was three times taken prisoner by the Indians, of whom he had killed nearly a hundred, during this life on the frontier, and three times "run the gauntlet." His military services were conspicuous, having been a soldier in Lord Dunmore's expedition, in the war of the Revolution, and in the Indian war of 1791. He died at the age of one hundred and one years.

Andrew Cochran came from Pennsylvania in 1802, and settled near the Deerfield line. Luke Welkins came from Maryland in 1815, and settled in the same neighborhood with Andrew Cochran, where his descendants still live. Nimrod Wolf, Joseph Walls, Samuel and Martin Powers, and James Shepard were among the pioneers of the first ten years. Jacob Fisher located in the township in 1800. Adam Mallow and his son Adam came from Virginia in 1806, and some of their posterity still live in the neighborhood of Herrod's creek, near the North Fork. Dr. D. A. Miller was a surgeon in the Revolutionary war under Gen. Rufus Putnam, and witnessed the battles of Brandywine and Cowpens. His grandson, Daniel A. Miller, was an early settler of Concord, and lived for many years at Roxabel. He was a successful physician. Jesse P. Shepard was an early merchant, and a representative from Ross county in the State legislature.

Frankfort is the principal town in Concord township, and the fourth as regards population in Ross county. It was laid out in 1816 by John McNeil, who owned much of the land where the town now stands. Until 1827, the town was given its Indian name of Chillicothe Oldtown, but on the incorporation of the village by the legislature in the year last named, the name was changed to Frankfort. The postoffice was established early in the century. The first town election was held in April, 1827, resulting in the choice of William Staggs for mayor, and John M. Wisehart for recorder.

Early in the history of the North Fork settlement, religious services were held at different residences by visiting clergymen and lay preachers of different denominations; but no regularly established church existed until 1800, when Peter Sperry and Rev. Nathan Corey organized a Baptist church. They personally assisted in building a log house to be devoted to the service of God. It stood one mile east of Oldtown, where the first burial ground was established, which is still known as the Baptist cemetery. In 1827, the congregation erected a brick church in Frankfort where they worshipped until about 1860, when the membership was transferred to Roxabel, where the church organization has since been maintained.

Services of the Methodist Episcopal church in Concord township date from about the year 1803, at which time the Deer Creek circuit was formed, embracing Frankfort, Clarksburg, Bourneville and Salem. The first meetings were held at the house of James Shepard, and later at the home of John McNeil. In 1840, Concord circuit was organized, which embraced three appointments, besides Frankfort. A substantial church was erected in 1853, and the congregation has been prosperons from its inception to the present day. Numerically it is the strongest church in the town. In 1820, Thomas Somerset, under the auspices of the Methodist church, organized the first Sunday school in Oldtown. From that day to this, the church has never been without a Sunday school organization. In the early times the church had to rely upon traveling ministers and laymen for a great part of the public services, and many distinguished men have thus occupied its pulpits. Rev. David Reed was the first regular pastor, and Rev. Michael Marley, the first presiding elder. The colored people of Frankfort and vicinity also maintain a church of this denomination.

The Presbyterians also maintain a strong and prosperous organization in the township, their missionaries being among the first to visit the community in the interests of christianity. The Concord church was organized June 23, 1805, with John McConnell, William Anderson and John McLean as ruling elders. In October of the same year, Rev. Robert B. Dobbins was installed as the first pastor, thus the Presbyterians were among the first to establish a church with its christianizing influences, in the wilderness. This organization continued with varying degrees of success for many years; but by reason of deaths, removals and other causes, it has waned until too weak to support a regular pastor. A Presbyterian church was organized in Frankfort in 1836, Robert Stewart and Robert C. Galbraith being the active movers in the matter. A building was erected, principally at the expense of these zealous workers, and when nearly completed, the work was abandoned for several years, though finally temporarily furnished, while still in an uncompleted condition. Services were held, irregularly, for several years, when the movement was abandoned and the building sold. In 1850, Rev. John Rankin, the famous anti slavery prophet, organized a church at Frankfort under the auspices of the "Free Presbyterian Synod of the United States." Numerically the organization was weak, but very strong in religious fervor. William Ross was elected ruling elder, and Rev. A. L. Rankin, on of the founder, was installed as the first pastor. In the early sixties, the creed of the church was modified in conformity with the New School Presbytery of Ripley, where it remained until the fusion of the two schools brought it into the Presbytery of Chillicothe. Rev. R. C. Galbraith, a talented and scholarly gentleman, and longtime resident of the county, served as pastor of this church under the new regime for many years, though now on the superannuated list, living at Chillicothe.

In. the eastern part of Concord a Union Church was built in 1827 for the use of all worshipping people, and it was thus occupied without regard to sect or creed. The first trustees of the Union church were Samuel Briggs, Adam Mallow, John and Solomon Bush, Abraham Hegler and Martin Peterson. The building was erected on land donated by John Bush, on the Frankfort and Herrod's creek pike, four miles west of Frankfort. It was first occupied in 1828, thus centralizing a series of religious meetings held from house to house, for a number of years previously. In 1862, the house was sold to the United Brethren and Dunkards, who occupied it as a house of worship for a number of years, when it was finally abandoned.

The denomination known as Dunkards is quite numerous in the western part of the township, but their church edifice is located just over the line in Fayette county. Roman Catholic services were conducted occasionally at Oldtown many years before the organization of a church there, the house of John Mcially, a most devout and upright Catholic, being always open for that purpose. The early priests were of the Dominican order, but, since 1843, the Jesuits have assumed control. Regular services were held at Frankfort after the organization of the church at Chillicothe, in 1837, from which point that field was supplied. In 1871, John McNally, as the crowning effort of his life, erected a church in Frankfort, which he placed at the disposal of people of the Catholic faith in that community.

Previous to 1877 interments were made in private burial grounds, established on nearly every farm, the occupants of which found a place of interment to be a sad necessity. But about the date last written a beautiful site was selected half a mile west of the city, and Green Lawn Cemetery was established. Various religious sects have also burial places in connection with their churches. The patriotic spirit of the inhabitants, who are mainly descendants of soldier ancestors, prompted the erection of a soldiers' monument in memory of the sons of Concord, who sacrificed their lives on the battlefields of the Civil war, or in the prison pens of the South. This is a block of Italian marble, located in the old burial grounds southeast of the town, and is appropriately inscribed to the "Memory of the Gallant Dead" who fell in defense of their country. It bears the names of sixteen men as Concord's contribution to the field of carnage. The names are as follows: Lieutenant W. W. Blacker, Marshall Blacker, E. Finnemore, John Mowbray, Henry Purcell, Sergeant John Peairs, Sergeant John T. Davis, Corporal Josiah Timmons, and Corporal Royal S. Augustus, all killed at the battle of Stone River; Isaac Hanawalt and Corporal William A. Speaks, who fell at Chickamauga; William A. Wisehart, killed at Kenesaw Mountain; Corporal Jacob Stoucb, killed at Piney Creek, Alabama; William Shepard, killed at New Madrid, Missouri. Sergeant Augustus Gibson lost his life as the result of a fifteen months' imprisonment at Andersonville. On the west face of the monument is a scroll, surmounted by a laurel wreath, upon which is inscribed: "They gave themselves for their country."

Frankfort is a progressive little city of over seven hundred inhabitants, carrying on extensive lines of business in almost every avenue of trade. Much wealth is centralized there, and many of the wealthy and influential citizens are retired from the active pursuits of life. The town is located in the center of a rich agricultural district, which insures the merchants and general business men reliable and continuous support.

The Merchants' and Farmers' bank is a monetary institution of high standing in the financial world. It is capitalized at fifty thousand dollars, though the personal responsibility of the stockholders is well up toward the half million mark. The deposits are heavy, thus evincing the confidence in which the institution is held by the people of the community.

The only newspaper in the town is the "Frankfort Sun," a weekly journal which has a liberal circulation in the community as the exponent of local news and the medium employed by progressive business men in placing their business before the people.

At the head of the various social and beneficial orders as regards membership and length of years, is the Masonic fraternity. Frankfort lodge was instituted in 1855. One of the prime movers in effecting the organization was John M. Wisehart, who had joined the fraternity at Chillicothe some eight or ten years before. The society has had a growth almost phenomenal in a town the size of Frankfort, and today a large number of citizens have passed into the higher degrees of the time honored fraternity. The lodge room is an ideal one, evincing both interest and superior wisdom in the selection and fitting.

On the 3d of June, 1875, the "Brethren of the Mystic Links" effected an organization in Frankfort, where men were taught the principles of "friendship, love and truth" in their literal meaning, as applied in "relieving the distressed, burying the dead and educating the orphan." Among the charter members of this Odd Fellows lodge were T. B. Lawhead, W. A. Gage, H. V. Rittenhouse, M. J. Timmons, and D. A. Goldsberry.

On February 21, 1889, Frankfort lodge, No. 326, Knights of Pythias, was duly instituted, with a long list of the best young men of the town as charter members. There were thirty one names placed upon the charter as organizing petitioners. These elected the following as officers for the first term: John T. Cline, G. H. Irons, F. A. Painter, John B. Long, E. B. Roseboom, Malcomb Porter, and C. S. Miller. The lodge was incorporated under the laws of the State, in 1896. On the first of January, 1902, there was a membership of one hundred and eight in good standing. They own their fine hall and equipage, and have enjoyed a season of prosperity seldom equalled. As a social function, as well as in the dissemination of the principles of a. boundless charity and brotherly love, the Knights of Pythias Lodge at Frankfort stands second to no other organization.

Frankfort is justly proud of her excellent schools. The youth of the town and surrounding country have the advantages of a most excellent high school, which prepares them for entrance at the State university, should they desire higher education. The independent district embraces considerable territory outside of the town limits, while tuition for those not residing within the hounds of the district is based upon the "average cost per scholar," for teachers' and contingent expenses. A handsome modern school building adorns a sightly location overlooking the town, while the instructors are selected with great care, and retained as long as they render efficient and conscientious services. Some of the graduates of Frankfort high school, without further educational advantages, are occupying important official positions in the county and State. Some sixteen excellent schools are in successful operation in Concord township, presided over by a corps of specially qualified and professionally educated teachers of both sexes.

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