Stories of Guernsey County by Wm. Wolfe Pages 786-793


Chapter XXI


Adams Township


     IN OUR stories of the townships we begin with Adams because it comes first, alphabetically considered.  When called upon to name the townships of Guernsey county, pupils in the schools begin with Adams.  Back in the days of the county political conventions the delegates from Adams township were the first to vote.

     One of the Last Formed.—But Adams township was not the first to be organized; in fact, it was one of the last of the nineteen townships to be formed. The twenty-five square miles of territory of which it is composed were taken from Knox and Westland townships, between which it is situated.  It was set  apart by the county commissioners in 1827 and named Adams, not for John Adams, the second President of the United States, but for John Quincy Adams, his son, who was then president.

     PhysicaL Features.—Adams township is drained by two streams—Crooked creek and Sarchet’s run, both of which empty into Wills creek.  A ridge that is followed by the Lebanon road divides the waters of the two streams. Peter’s creek is the main tributary of Crooked creek, within the township.  Crooked creek, as the name implies, is a meandering stream.  Sarchet’s run takes its name from that of a family once living near its mouth.  An incident that gave Peter’s creek its name is told in the chapter on Washington township.

     Pioneers of the Township.—The early history of Adams township is a part of that of Knox and Westland. Zane’s Trace cut across the southeastern part of what is now Adams.  It was on this road that the first settlers of the township located.  Among the first, if not the first settler, was Stewart Speer, born in Pennsylvania in 1783.  As early as 1808 he kept a tavern near the present Pike consolidated school.  When the War of 1812 began, he enlisted and became a lieutenant in the company of Captain Simon Beymer. He was a member of the first Guernsey county grand jury, impaneled on August 27, 1810, and afterwards served as an associate judge of the county.  Descendants of this pioneer are yet living in Adams township.

     In 1815 Thomas Knox came with his parents from Pennsylvania, to what was then Westland, later Knox, but now Adams township.   He was then sixteen years of age. A few years later he married Jane Miller, born in Ireland in 1800.  In 1812 her family set sail for America.  The ship was captured by the British and the Millers carried to Newfoundland, where they were held as prisoners until the close of the war, two years later.  Here her mother died.  From Newfoundland she came to Pennsylvania; afterwards, to what is now Adams township.

     Another pioneer of the township, whose descendants are yet found in the county, was Samuel Mehaffey.  Born in Ireland, he married Margaret Bingham there, and set sail for America in 1812. Their arrival in this county was on the very day war was declared against Great Britain (June 19, 1812).  When in sight of New York their vessel was boarded by the officers of a British ship of war.  Had the declaration of war been known to these officials, the Mehaffeys would have been taken prisoners, as were the Millers.

     Among the heads of other Adams township pioneer families were Benjamin Reasoner, William McCulley, David Thompson, Alexander Leeper, Robert Bell, John Sunnafrank and Robert Boyd.

     Old Folks of 1876.---A census of Guernsey county people seventy-six years or more of age, taken by The Jeffersonian in 1876, showed the following as living in Adams township; Abram Barnes, George Estep, Mrs. Estep, Joseph Gleur, Andrew Hamilton, John Hammond, Mrs. J. Hammond, Samuel Lee, Mrs. S. Lee, John Leech, Samuel Maxwell, Mrs. Maxwell, Samuel Patterson, Robert S. Ross, Mrs. Ross, Robert Simpson, James Sherrard, Mrs. Sherrard and Samuel Wells.

     Population.—1830, 736; 1840, 866; 1850, 860; 1860, 804; 1870, 762; 1880, 806; 1890, 740; 1900, 717; 1910, 608; 1920, 574; 1930, 516.

     It will be noted that there were 220 fewer people in the township in 1930 than there were a hundred years before.

     Two towns were platted in Adams township—Cassel Station in the southern part, and Mantua in the northern.  The latter, which lay partly in Knox township, was platted August 6, 1853, by Thomas P. Wilson and William P. Rose.  The postoffice established at Cassel Station was called Galligher; the one at Mantua, Creighton. Both were closed many years ago. Excepting a few families in the western part, who receive their mail through New Concord, all the people of the township are served by rural mail carriers from Cambridge.

     Lebanon.—Many Adams township people are United Presbyterians.  Their church is Lebanon in the northwestern part of the township.   It was established on April 24, 1824, with David Proudfit as its first pastor.  It now is and always has been one of the leading rural churches of the county.

    Among the pastors of this church during the first fifty years of its existence were Rev. Welch, Rev . Benjamin Waddle, Rev. Samuel Wallace and Rev. James Duncan.  As early as 1838 there were seventy-three families connected with the church. The building now in use was erected in 1905. Several of its present members are descendants of the first settlers of that section and founders of the church.

     Near the church is the Lebanon cemetery.  There was once a Lebanon school but it has been closed and the pupils are now transported to a consolidated school.  The section is widely known as the Lebanon community, and is reached from Cambridge by the Lebanon road, one of the best roads in the county, from which may be obtained a beautiful view of the surrounding country.

     Dr. James Duncan.—The pastor of the Lebanon church in the 1850’s was Dr. James Duncan who was one of the first graduates of Madison College.  Making his home at Mantua, he also preached at Mt. Hermon.  He afterwards became known throughout the United Presbyterian church from coast to coast as one of its most eloquent pulpit orators.  He possessed an outstanding style which was particularly picturesque and , it was said, wherever he went to preach he was reasonably sure of a  full house.

     In the fall of 1857 Rev. Matthew Henderson Williams resigned as president of Madison College.  The board of trustees insisted that Dr. Duncan accept the position. He did so tentatively and drove from Mantua to Antrim, a distance of twenty or twenty-five miles, each Monday morning, reaching the college in time for the opening exercises at nine o’clock. On Friday afternoons he would return to Mantua and preach at each of his churches the following Sabbath. His two congregations were absolutely unwilling to part with their pastor and left the matter with the presbytery to decide. That body voted against releasing him from the pastoral oversight of Lebanon and Mt. Hermon, whereupon he declined the presidency of Madison College, having served, however, as acting president for several months.

     It is generally agreed that he declination of Dr. Duncan to continue as president was the death knell of the college. The institution was heavily involved in debt.  Along with his preaching ability Dr. Duncan possessed a rare administrative ability, and he might have been able to save the college from falling into the hands of its creditors.  Rev. William Lorimer succeeded Dr. Duncan as president of Madison College. During his term the crisis came.    

     The last commencement was held September 1, 1859.  Dr. Duncan delivered the anniversary address. The class was composed of five young men and one young woman. Four of the young men became prominent ministers, and the young woman became the mother of some of the most outstanding ministers and missionaries of the U. P. church—Rev. John McClenahan, D. D., of Chicago; Rev. William McClenahan, D. D., Missionary to Egypt; and Dr. Frank McClenahan, professor of Physics and Geology at Monmouth College.

     Thomas P. Proudfit, salutatorian of the class, was the father of Dr. Charles P. Proudfit who recently served as pastor of the Cambridge United Presbyterian church and is now the general secretary of the Board of Education of the United Presbyterian Church of North America. Thomas P. Proudfit became one of the pioneer home missionaries and one of the first to serve in the great territory between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains. He taught Latin and Greek and was the author of a number of books relating to the work of the United Presbyterian Church.

    The male member of the class who did not become a preacher was Dr. John McBurney who chose to be an educator. A sketch of Dr. McBurney may be found in another chapter of this work.

     Owners of Real Estate in 1840.—Following is a complete list of the real estate owners in Adams township in 1840.  The number of acres owned by each and the section in which his farm was located are given.

     Atkison, John, 163 acres, sec. 3; Blair, William (Heirs), 40 acres, sec. 12; Boales, John, 96 acres, sec. 2; Bell, George, 271 acres, sec. 12, 18 and 20; Bigham, Alex and John, 163 acres, sec. 3; Brown, John (Heirs), 203 acres, sec. 1; Bradford, John, 50 acres, sec. 12; Burke, Robert, 100 acres, sec. 9; Brown, Robert, 82 acres, sec. 5; Bennett, James, Jr. (Heirs) 62 acres, sec. 17; Bennett, James, Sr., 160 acres, sec. 16; Burrows, John, 160 acres, sec. 24; Boyd, William, 160 acres, sec. 24; Boyd, Robert, 180 acres, sec. 23; Buchanan, John, 164 acres, sec. 5; Barcus, Jesse, 160 acres, sec. 20; Brown, Robert (Heirs), 82 acres, sec. 5; Bell, Robert (Heirs), 160 acres, sec. 13; Boyd, James, 160 acres, sec. 14; Bigham, James, 40 acres, sec. 11; Beatty, Cyrus P. (Heirs), 160 acres, sec. 10.

     Crooks, Henry, 160 acres, sec. 7; Crooks, John, 160 acres, sec. 7; Cochran, Alexander, 82 acres, sec. 7; Culbertson, William, 160 acres, sec. 7; Danley, Arthur, 160 acres, sec. 6; Duff, George, 155 acres, sec. 5; Forsythe, Elijah, 161 acres, sec. 25; Frazier, Alexander, 80 acres, sec. 13; Frazier, David, 160 acres, sec. 12 and 13; Ford, Robert, 80 acres, sec. 11; Gist, Thomas, 161 acres, sec. 2 and 3; Guthrie, Joseph, 107 acres, sec. 15; Guthrie, Thomas, 120 acres, sec. 15; George, Alexander, 69 acres, sec. 15; Gallienne, John, 80 acres, sec. 12.

     Hammond, John, 40 acres, sec. 12; Hutchison, Nathan, 160 acres, sec. 19; Hutchison, James C. (Heirs), 60 acres, sec. 9; Harper, Samuel, 161 acres, sec. 16; Johnson, James, 160 acres, sec. 8; Johnson, Abraham, 80 acres, sec. 12; Kilgore, Daniel, 159 acres, sec. 6; Knox, Thomas, 114 acres, sec. 4; Knox, James, 158 acres, sec. 7; Keeran, John (Heirs), 159 acres, sec. 21; Kennedy John, 100 acres, sec. 17; Leeper, Samuel, 7 acres, sec. 23; Leeper, Alexander, 152 acres, sec. 23; Long Frederick (Heirs), 50 acres, sec. 4; Law, William, 164 acres, sec. 4; Little, James, 160 acres, sec. 25; Leech, Matthew, 160 acres, sec. 17; Latimore, William, 160 acres, sec. 17; Laird, David, 20 acres, sec. 22; Leech, John, 175 acres, sec. 12 and 13; Leeper, William, 140  acres, sec. 19 and 23.

     Mackey, Robert, 160 acres, sec. 8 and 9; Mackey, Richard, 320 acres, sec. 8; Mitchell, Alexander, 240 acres, sec. 11 and 19; Mehaffey, Samuel, Jr., 200 acres, sec. 10 and 11; McKnight, Samuel, 80 acres, sec. 11; Mehaffey, Samuel, Sr., 160 acres, sec. 9; Mehaffey, Robert, 120 acres, sec. 9; Mehaffey, John, 185 acres, sec. 18; Mancup, John, 139 acres, sec. 22; McKnight, Jacob A., 160 acres, sec. 18; McClusky, Henry, 83 acres, sec. 15; McDonough, Patrick, 160 acres, sec. 19; Miller, James, 155 acres, sec. 5; McIlyar, Thomas, 100 acres, sec. 11 and 20; Mehaffey, James, Sr., 120 acres, sec. 8 and 9; McGonagle, James, 106 acres, sec. 2; Marshall, William, 119 acres, sec. 18; McMichael, Eleanor, 40 acres, sec. 12.

     Powell, William S., 75 acres, sec. 1; Porter, James, 123 acres, sec. 3; Priaulx, Nicholas, 80 acres, sec. 11; Priaulx, John, 120 acres, sec. 11 and 20; Parks, Hugh, 160 acres, sec. 14; Patton, William, 160 acres, sec. 17; Parkhill, James (Heirs), 160 acres, sec. 25; Patterson, Joseph, 163 acres, sec. 1; Paxton, William, 20 acres, sec. 23; Paxton, John (Heirs), 160 acres, sec. 15; Rogers, Michael, 160 acres, sec. 10; Russell, Thomas, 159 acres, sec. 6; Ross, Robert A., 164 acres, sec. 4; Reasoner, Benjamin, 161 acres, sec. 25; Rankin, John, 160 acres, sec. 21; Rose, John, 80 acres, sec. 9.

     Smith, Alexander, 160 acres, sec. 6; Smith, Owen, 161 acres, sec. 16; Scott, Francis, 40 acres, sec. 12; Simpson, Joseph, 80 acres, sec. 11; Suitt, Philip, 220 acres, sec. 20; Stevenson, George, 120 acres, sec. 15; Stone, Frazier, 160 acres, sec. 24; Steele, John, 164 acres, sec. 4; Sherrard, James, 120 acres, sec. 2; Sherrard, William, 160 acres, sec. 10; Snodgrass, Jesse, 160 acres, sec. 23; Sleeth, David, 80 acres, sec. 10; Stevenson, Moses (Heirs), 80 acres, sec. 24; Sunafrank, John, Jr., 85 acres, sec. 21; Sunafrank, John, Sr., 160 acres, sec. 21; Sunafrank, Jacob, 160 acres, sec. 20; Spear, Alexander, 160 acres. Sec. 18; Spear, Abraham, 160 acres, sec. 22; Spear, Stewart, 396 acres, sec. 21, 22 and 23.

     Thompson, Mary F., 41 acres, sec. 3; Thompson, David, 160 acres, sec. 16; Toner, Charles, 160 acres, sec. 14; Vorhies, John, 20 acres, sec. 2; Vorhies, Robert, 20 acres, sec. 2; Vincent, John, 160 acres, sec. 7; Wagstaff, William, 80 acres, sec. 3; Wells, Samuel, 200 acres, sec. 2; Wilson, Robert, 140 acres, sec. 19; Woodburn, Alexander, 113 acres, sec. 1; Woodburn, Hugh, 50 acres, sec. 1.


Geographical History of Lebanon Churchyard


     Originally in Washington County.—On the Coshocton road, in Adams township, is a plot of ground which, from a geographical standpoint, has had many locations.  This is the Lebanon churchyard. This same change in geography is true of a number of farms in that section.

     The Lebanon churchyard was once located in Washington county, Ohio, whose county seat is Marietta. When that county was formed in 1788, it comprised more than the eastern half of the present state of Ohio.  All the territory that is now Guernsey county was in Washington county.

     Located in Muskingum County.—The Lebanon churchyard was once located in Muskingum county, Ohio, whose county seat is Zanesville. However, all of Guernsey county was not thus located.   Muskingum county, as a separate political unit, was carved out of Washington county in 1804. Muskingum county was much larger than it is today, including all of what is now Guernsey county, excepting the three eastern townships—Londonderry, Oxford and Millwood.  These were in the Seven Ranges and belonged to Belmont county.

     Now a Part of Guernsey County.—When Guernsey county was formed in 1810, the Lebanon churchyard then came into another county where it has since remained.  Its county locations have thus been as follows; Washington, 1788 to 1804; Muskingum, 1804 to 1810; Guernsey, 1810 to present time. 

     Deeds granted to purchasers of Military land in Guernsey county prior to 1804—and some land was purchased then—were recorded in Marietta.

Those granted between 1804 and 1810 were recorded in Zanesville. After Guernsey county had been organized and an office of record established here, copies of some of the records on file in Marietta and at Zanesville were brought to
Cambridge and placed in the recorder’s office. The fact that all were not thus transferred has made it necessary for many who wish information concerning land changes made before 1810, to seek it where first filed.    

     In Westland Township.—The Lebanon churchyard was once located in Westland township, but today it is several miles from that division of Guernsey county. At the time of the formation of the county it was ordered that it be divided into five townships, namely, Cambridge, Oxford, Westland, Seneca and Wills.  All the western part was called Westland which, of course, included Lebanon churchyard.

     Located in Knox Township.—As the population of the county grew, the five original townships yielded some of their territory for the formation of other townships. Westland was divided, the northern part becoming Wheeling. Then in 1819 the northern part of what was left of Westland, and the southern part of Wheeling were cut off and joined for a new township that was called Knox.  The Lebanon churchyard being located in the northern part of Westland, then found itself in Knox township.

     Now in Adams Township.—Here it remained until 1827, when Adams township was created. Westland was again called upon to yield some more of its territory.  The northern part was cut off and joined to the southern part of Knox, thus forming Adams township. That part of Knox in which the Lebanon churchyard is located was taken, resulting in its being changed to Adams township.  Here it has since remained.

     Summarized, the plot of ground known as the Lebanon churchyard has been a part of Washington county, Muskingum county, Guernsey county, Westland township, Knox township and Adams township, distinct political units, of which some are far removed form the others.  And the Lebanon churchyard has always remained in the same place.


William Oxley Thompson


     In the Peter’s Creek school district of Adams township William Oxley Thompson, son of David G. and Agnes M. (Oxley) Thompson, was born on November 5, 1855.  The father was a veteran of the Civil War; the mother was a woman of strong character and much intelligence.

     Moves to Cambridge.—At the time William O. was born David G. Thompson was engaged in farming, but being a shoemaker, he soon after moved to Cambridge to work at his trade.  Here William O. started to school, his mother being his first teacher.  To assist in the support of the family she taught the primary room of the Cambridge schools, then located in the old Masonic building on North Seventh street.

     There eventually came to be ten children in the family, of which William O. was the oldest.  Eager for a higher education, he entered Muskingum College in 1870.  In 1878 he graduated as the honor member of his class.  He worked his way through school in the truest sense of that oft used expression.  Not only could the family not help him, but he helped support the family at the same time he was struggling for an education.  He gave eight years to the completion of a college course that he easily could have finished in four.

     Taught in Oxford Township.—During his eight years of college he would drop out frequently to earn money by which to continue his studies.  He worked as a farm hand at eight dollars a month, and he taught in rural schools. One of the schools in which he taught was known as “No 4” in Oxford township, a mile southwest of Fairview.  Forty years afterwards he visited this little school and donated to it a part of his personal library.  In his honor the name of the school was changed to “Thompson.”  The schools of the township were later consolidated and this building was removed.

     President of Ohio State University.— After graduating from Muskingum College Thompson entered the Western Theological Seminary (a Presbyterian school) at Allegheny, Pennsylvania, from which he graduated in 1882.  After preaching a few years at Odebolt, Iowa, and Longmont, Colorado, he came to Oxford, Ohio, as president of Miami University.  Eight years later (1899) he was chosen president of Ohio State University at Columbus. Here he served until 1925, when he retired of his own accord.  During his administration this institution grew from an enrollment of 1,200 to 12,000 students, thus becoming one of the greatest universities in America.

     Dr. William O. Thompson was a leader in the field of education.  In 1927 he was chosen Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States.  By the chief executives of both Ohio and the United States he was appointed a number of times to serve on important commissions. His counsel was sought in matters of school, church and state.  The universal regard in which he was held was outstanding.  Contributing to this were several characteristics of the man.

     A Natural Leader.—Dr. Thompson was a natural leader.   He displayed a boundless energy throughout his entire life. He took an active part in many movements, aside from his regular work, that to him seemed designed for the betterment of society. Possessed of a pleasing voice, and sympathetic and frank in conversation, he became a friend to all whose privilege it was to meet him.  His death occurred on December 9, 1933.


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