Stories of Guernsey County by Wm. Wolfe page 844-851

 Chapter XXVI

 

Knox Township

 

KNOX is the only Guernsey county township that received its name form a resident family.  Matthew Knox came into Westland township, Guernsey county, from Washington county, Pennsylvania, in 1815, and settled in what is now known as the Lebanon community in Adams township.  In March, 1819, a new township was formed, which included the farm of Knox, from whom it received its name.  In 1827 the southern part of Knox township was cut off and joined to a strip of territory taken from the northern part of Westland, thus forming Adams township.  The Knox family were then residents of a new subdivision.  Without moving they had lived in Westland, Knox and Adams townships, successively.

     Physical Features.—Knox township is five miles square. The most of it is drained by Indian Camp run which empties into Wills creek after flowing across the township from southwest to northeast. Little Indian run drains the northeastern corner.  For the greater part the township is hilly.

     Pioneers of the Township.—When the first settlers came into the township they found Indians living there.  On Indian Camp run was an Indian town.  The many stone implements and other relics picked up in the vicinity indicate that it had long been an Indian settlement.

     Indian Camp run was useful to the pioneers; at one time, within the township, five mills were operated on it.  Dams had been built and the machinery was propelled by water power.   Much lumber was sawed and grain ground.

     In 1820, one year after it was formed, Knox township had a population of 219.  Among the heads of families living there then or coming later were the following: George Eckelberry, James Black, Joseph Schwyhart, William Kenworthy, John Clark, William Scott, John Swan, William Ross, John Hawthorne, Jacob Marlatt, Alexander Woodburn, William Addy, Hugh Dyer, John Zimmerman, George Estep, William Young, Edward Beal and Jared Terrell.  Many descendants of these early settlers are living in the township today.

     Population.—1830, 265; 1840, 538; 1850, 735; 1860, 793; 1870, 810; 1880, 964; 1890, 1,008; 1900, 845; 1920, 640; 1920, 533; 1930, 463.  It will be noted that the population increased uniformly until 1890, and that since that year it has uniformly decreased.

     Knox is one of the seven townships of the county that never had a railroad.  About a century ago John Deselm and Robert Duff platted a town on their lands which lay in the southwestern corner of section nine and the southeastern corner of section eight. This is near the center of the township.  The town was located on the road leading from Cambridge to Coshocton.  They laid out thirty lots, each four rods wide and ten rods long, fifteen lots on each side of the Main street.  Intersecting Main street at right angles was Cross street, and there were numerous alleys.  A large tract was set aside as the commons for public use. The name of the town was Ohioville.

     The Ohioville boom anticipated by the founders never materialized.  Today the only platted town Knox township ever had is listed amongst the “lost towns” of Guernsey county.

     Mantua was platted on the line between Adams and Knox townships in 1853.  As the greater part of it lay in Adams, that township claimed it.

     Several homes were built there and the village attained some importance as a business center.  Like many other towns for which there was but little need, it gradually passed out, leaving nothing except a community name.

     Although never platted as a town, Hopewell has always been the center of Knox township activities.  A church, a school, a postoffice, two stores, two blacksmith shops, and even a brass band were found there at one time.  Another county had a Hopewell with a postoffice, so the Knox township people named their postoffice Indian Camp.

     There was a postoffice at Flat Ridge, also at Boden in the northwestern part of the township. The latter was named for William E. Boden, Guernsey county’s member of the state legislature when the postoffice was established.  At the present time there are no postoffices in the township; the mail is distributed by rural carriers from the postoffices at Cambridge, New Concord, Birds Run and Otsego.

     Churches.—Two United Presbyterian and two Methodist Episcopal churches are provided as places for worship. The former are Mt. Hermon and Northfield (Boden); the latter, Hopewell and Flat Ridge.

     Twin Knobs.—Between Flat Ridge and Boden are the Twin Knobs.  These are two conical hills, very much alike, standing near each other with summits far above the surrounding country.  Seen from a long distance, they attract much attention.  When planted in corn, but one row was placed on each hill, it is said.  This was started at the base and carried spirally to the top.

     The political trend of Knox township has long been Democratic. Following the announcement of the election of James Buchanan as President of the United States, in 1856, the Knox township Democrats went to the top of Twin Knobs to celebrate. They gave expression to their joy by building a huge big fire which they wished to be seen by the defeated Republicans far away.
     A Youthful Mail Carrier.--
In Civil War days most of the Knox township men were either in the army or were engaged in work necessary for the support of the army.  No person was available as mail carrier between Mantua and Hopewell, except David M. Hawthorne, a boy twelve years of age.  He accepted a carrier's commission from the government and served as a post boy for one year.

Mail was carried from Cambridge to Mantua (Creighton postoffice) two times a week.  Here it was sorted by James Porter, the postmaster, and that addressed to Hopewell (Indian Camp postoffice) was given to young Hawthorne who was always there to receive it.  Eager for war news the people would crowd the postoffice at the time of the mail's arrival from CambridgeHawthorne often had to wait an hour before Porter could find time to prepare the sack of mail for Hopewell.
     Jack Sherron, who kept a general store at Hopewell, was the postmaster there. Upon the arrival of the post boy at that place there was another scramble for letters and the few newspapers that came into the community.   The war news received twice a week was little more than what was given in the weekly papers, The Jeffersonian and the Guernsey Times. 

     Burial Grounds.—Morrow’s cemetery in the northwestern part of the township, near the Muskingum county line, was the first burial ground in Knox township.  It took the name of the family on whose farm it was located.  Here many of the early settlers were buried.

     It was near the Morrow cemetery that the first religious services in the township, of which there is any record, were held.  A preacher of the Associate church conducted meetings under the trees at first, afterwards in a tent.  An organization was effected and a meeting-house called Northfield was erected a mile east of the burial ground. Another cemetery was laid out near the church.

     There is a burial ground near Hopewell that dates back to early days.  It was established near a little log church erected by the Methodists.   Like the Morrow burial ground it is now used but little.  At the Mt. Hermon church is a well kept cemetery.

     Many Settlers Irish.—The Knox township hills attracted many Irish who came to Guernsey county to make their future homes.  Several descendants of these Irish pioneers are now living in the township.

   With his wife and six small children John Clark came to America from Down, Ireland, in 1819.  He was a blacksmith by trade and he located at Pittsburgh.  In 1824 he came to Knox township where he remained until his death.  His descendants have been numerous in the township.

     Lot J. Hosick, formerly a well known citizen of Knox township, who served as probate judge of Guernsey county from 1882 to 1888, was the son of a native of Down, Ireland.  William Hosick, Lot’s father, came to America in 1791, at the age of six years.  Before he was elected probate judge, Lot Hosick farmed, carried on a wagon-making business, taught school and served as a justice of the peace.

     Another blacksmith from Down, Ireland, was James H. Baird.  Migrating to America, he first located at Pittsburgh.  He came to Knox township in 1850.

     Among the early settlers of Knox township was Andrew Kennedy.  His father, John Kennedy, was an Irish weaver, who came to America in 1800.  James Black located in Knox township in 1832, having been born in county Down, Ireland, in 1808.  His father, although born in Ireland, was the son of a Scotch linen-weaver.  Francis Kilpatrick, born in county Antrim, Ireland, in 1791, came to America in 1850, and settled in Knox township where he remained until his death.  

     The Kenworthys trace their ancestry to England. William Kenworthy, a cotton-spinner, came from England in 1841, and settled in Knox township in 1851. The Swans are of Scotch descent.

     Thomas Deselm and John Patrick, residents of Maryland, loaded their household effects on two sleds one winter morning in the last century and with their families started to Ohio.  They crossed the Ohio River at Wheeling and followed the Wheeling road to Cambridge where they stayed overnight at the Tingle tavern. The next day they drove out to Knox township and Deselm settled on the northwest quarter of Section 19.  Only a small part of the township had been cleared. Wolves, deer and wild turkeys were plentiful and there were some bears.  As many as twenty or thirty deer were occasionally seen in one herd.  James Smith had a mill on Indian Camp creek where corn was ground.  John Addy was living down in the bottom, Jonas Brown had settled near what is now known as Barnes’ mill, Enoch Jones had entered land in Section 22, and James and Joseph Patterson were living on Sarchet’s run. Charles Scott had a clearing where Mantua was afterwards laid out, and operated a distillery under the big rocks on what is now the Trimble farm.

     Owners of Real Estate in 1840.—Following is a complete list of the real estate owners in Knox township a century ago (1840). The number of acres in each farm and the section in which it was located are given.  In most cases the owners were the heads of families in the township.

     Atchinson, David, 80 acres, sec. 4 and 5; Atchinson, Robert, 116 acres, sec. 2 and 5; Atchinson, John, 72 acres, sec. 5; Addy, William, 240 acres, sec. 9; Addy, William, Jr., 40 acres, sec. 3; Brown, John, 80 acres, sec. 3; Broom, Hugh, 40 acres, sec. 8; Buchanan, John, 307 acres, sec. 25; Brour, David, 160 acres, sec. 19; Black, James, 136 acres, sec. 16; Bogle, Samuel, 160 acres, sec. 20; Buckinham, Alvah, 40 acres, sec. 2; Cullen, James, 154 acres, sec. 19; Clark, William H., 80 acres, sec. 12 and 13; Clegg, Thomas, 80 acres, sec. 23; Coulter, James, 120 acres, sec. 16 and 17; Creighton, William, 160 acres, sec. 4 and 7; Cullen, William, 80 acres, sec. 19 and 20; Clark, John, 160 acres, sec. 13; Corbet, Peter, 360 acres, sec. 19, 21 and 22; Coulter, Elijah, 110 acres, sec. 15.

     Duff, Alexander, 80 acres, sec. 8 and 13; Dickson, Peter, 80 acres, sec. 18; Duff, Oliver E., 80 acres, sec. 8; Desallums, John, 35 acres, sec. 9; Duff, William, 80 acres, sec. 24; Duff, James, 100 acres, sec. 18; Duff, Andrew, 80 acres, sec. 3 and 7; Duff, John, 40 acres, sec. 17; Dew, David, 40 acres, sec. 4; Donley, James, 120 acres, sec. 18; Estep, George, 160 acres, sec. 22; Ferbrache, Jacob, 120 acres, sec. 12; Ferbrache, Thomas, 80 acres, sec. 20; Forsythe, Thomas B., 240 acres, sec. 24; Ferguson, James, 120 acres, sec. 18 and 19.

     Gallagher, Hugh, 200 acres, sec. 21; Grant, Richard, 80 acres, sec. 20; Hedge, Israel, 160 acres, sec. 1; Hall, John, 40 acres, sec. 21; Hedge, Joseph, 40 acres, sec. 1; Hawthorne, John, 74 acres, sec. 16; Hedge, Aaron, 40 acres, sec. 1; Hawthorn, Benjamin, 160 acres, sec. 23; Hawthorn, James, 80 acres, sec. 16; Henderson, Ebenezer, 189 acres, sec. 25; Hutchison, John, 160 acres, sec. 23; Howell, George, 40 acres, sec. 8; Lynch, Thomas, 40 acres, sec. 14; Lent, Ludlow, 80 acres, sec. 12 and 13; Lynch, John, 40 acres, sec. 14; Lee, Samuel, 160 acres, sec. 24; Lawrence, Jacob, 320 acres, sec. 2; Law, Thomas, 117 acres, sec. 25; Law, John (Heirs), 157 acres, sec. 15; Lyon, James (Heirs), 80 acres, sec. 22.

     McDonald, William, 268 acres, sec. 6; Miskimen, Nelson, 80 acres, sec. 2; Miskimen, Abraham, 80 acres, sec. 2; McCulley, Matthew, 105 acres, sec. 14; Morrow, William, 250 acres, sec. 14 and 18; Marlatt, Jacob, 80 acres, sec. 9; McMullen, John, 120 acres, sec. 21; Mitchell, George, 160 acres, sec. 1; Moore, Samuel, 120 acres, sec. 20; Morrow, James, 36 acres, sec. 15; McDonald, William, 40 acres, sec. 7; McGuire, Patrick, 120 acres, sec. 21; McElheren, Joseph, 80 acres, sec. 11; Patrick, John, 88 acres, sec. 13; Rollston, James, 199 acres, sec. 16 and 17; Rankin, James, 160 acres, sec. 17; Robbin, John, 159 acres, sec. 12; Rutledge, William, 160 acres, sec. 23; Robertson, Thomas, 160 acres, sec. 11; Ross, William P., 160 acres, sec. 23;

     Scott, Samuel, 80 acres, sec. 24; Stanberry, Howard, 40 acres, sec. 8; Snodgrass, Jesse, 120 acres, sec. 5 and 6; Scott, William, 80 acres, sec. 17; Sharp, James, 80 acres, sec. 20; Truce, Matthais, 40 acres, sec. 17; Terrall, Jared, 80 acres, sec. 18; Vorhies, John, 40 acres, sec. 22; White, Joseph W., 80 acres, sec. 12; Wagstaff, Robert, 200 acres, sec. 10; Wagstaff, James, 160 acres, sec. 10 and 11; Wier, Thomas, 120 acres, sec. 3; Watt, James, 160 acres, sec. 121; Warden, John, 160 acres, sec. 22; Young, William, 80 acres, sec. 24.

 

A Deer Hunt in Guernsey county

 

     Several years ago there was published in The Jeffersonian the story of a deer hunt in Guernsey county, written by Colonel C. P. B. Sarchet, as related to him by Joseph Culbertson. The hunters were Jim and Joe McClurg, who lived in a cabin on Crooked creek, just west of Cambridge.  The story was so well told that it is repeated, for the greater part, as it appeared in The Jeffersonian.  It will enable one to visualize big game hunting in Guernsey county in the pioneer days.

     Buck Outwits Jim McClurg.—“Jim McClurg, with his flintlock gun and hunting knife, left his cabin one December morning in quest of game.  He traveled to the ridges between Indian Camp and Sarchet’s run, which would be in what is now Adams and Knox townships.  A large buck with spreading antlers was sighted, but too far away for a shot.  The buck made a circuit of five or six miles, over the ridges and through the valleys, with Jim following. An attempt to get nearer by turning back to meet the buck only caused it to cut across the circle. He returned home and told Joe about it, and it was decided that both would make an effort the following day to outwit the buck.

     “They started early the next morning and near noon they sighted the buck. They followed after it and found it was playing the same game as on the previous day.  McClurg directed his brother to the top of one of the hills, at a point where the buck, in cutting across the circle, would approach near enough for McClurg to get a shot, while he himself followed the trail.

     A Struggle for Mastery.—“After some time the buck, in crossing, scented Joe on top of the ridge and turned back.  It soon came in sight of (Jim) McClurg, who secreted himself behind a large tree to await its nearer approach. At quite a distance away it scented the hunter and for a moment it stopped. Although it was a long shot, McClurg fired and the buck fell. He hurried to the spot and, setting his gun against a tree, drew his knife and seizing the buck by the antlers, was making ready to cut its throat, when it opened its eyes and began struggling to its feet.  In the struggle the buck struck the hunter in such a way as to knock the knife out of his hand.  McClurg, during the struggle, was unable to regain his knife, and a furious struggle for mastery began.

     “McClurg had a giant’s strength, but was unable to hold the buck to the ground and it was tearing off his hunting shirt and lacerating his arms and body. The buck finally got to its feet, but the hunter held on to its antlers, hoping that he would be able to hold the animal till his brother could arrive, who would hear the shot and hurry to come.

     “Joe had a long distance to come. McClurg’s strength was fast giving way, but, having the buck in his clutch, he could not think of giving up. It now seemed a life and death struggle.  He concluded to let go, hoping that after such a fight the animal would make off, and, if not, he would seek safety in climbing a tree.  So he let go, but the infuriated animal showed fight.  McClurg ran for a tree, jumped to catch a limb, missed his hold and the buck was again upon him.

     “It was once more a life and death struggle.   He seized the buck by the horns and, by almost superhuman strength, succeeded in throwing it to the ground and the struggle again went on.

     Buck Shot by Joe McClurg.—“Soon Joe came to the scene, but it was some time before he could get a shot. He knew that if he shot and failed to kill the animal at once, it would only cause it to fight with greater ferocity, and perhaps not only endanger the life of his brother, but his own life.

     “At last a favorable opportunity offered, and he sent a bullet through the heart of the buck and the struggle was over.  He at once removed its entrails and hung the carcass upon a tree fork, out of reach of wolves, and began the difficult task of getting his brother to shelter, as the night was upon them.

     “With much difficulty, sometimes leading and sometimes carrying his brother, he reached the house of Mr. Culbertson, where McClurg was kindly cared for, and the next morning their host brought them to their home on Crooked creek.

     “McClurg kept the antlers of the buck nailed to the wall of his cabin for many years as a trophy.  The buck, on first scenting McClurg, had thrown up his head, and the shot, although penetrating the center of its forehead, had passed between the antlers and through the skull above its brain. McClurg never fully recovered from the effects of the fearful conflict.  His nervous system had been overtaxed.”

 

 

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