Stories of Guernsey County by Wm. Wolfe Pages 944-964




Oxford Township


OXFORD is one of the five townships into which the commissioners divided Guernsey County at their first meeting on April 23, 1810.  It was originally much larger than it is today. The thirty square miles it now comprises lie in the seventh of the Seven Ranges and were purchased by the settlers, at the land office in Steubenville. These lands were put on the market at two dollars an acre.  As lands in some other parts of Ohio could be purchased cheaper, immigrants would pass through the Seven Ranges to settle elsewhere.  The settlement of Oxford township was slow at first on that account.

   Lack of Men for Organization.—The story is told that when a meeting was held in 1810 to choose the nineteen officers necessary for the township, there were only twelve men within its boundaries, as large as it then was, who were eligible to serve. This could hardly have been true, as there were nearly that many eligible Quakers in the Leatherwood valley, which as then a part of Oxford township.  Soon after the War of 1812 many settlers arrived.  The most of these were Irish and Scotch-Irish.

   There is no record of any government in Oxford until 1813.  That it may be known what families were amongst the first to hold office in the township and what offices they held, the first entry in the record book is her presented verbatim:


   “At a township meatin held on the 5th of April 1813, in Oxford township, Guernsey county, State  of Ohio, at the home of David Wherrys, for the purpose of Election the several township Officers as follows: Namely Justises of peas 2, Thomas Henderson, John Kennin; Clerk, Samuel Dillion; Trustees, Michael King, William Dillion, Enoch Marsh; supervisors, Enoch Marsh, Henry Cleary, Elijah Bell, William Scroggan, James McCoy; fence Viewers, John and long Tom Henderson; Overseers of the poor, Jacob Gitshell, William Henderson; Treasurer, David Wherry.  The Supervisors, Trustee, Clerk, Treasurer and fence Viewers and Overseers of the poor Met on the 10th day of April & were severely sworn into their Respective offices a Cording to law.

                                                                                                                              “Samuel Dillon, Clerk”

   Physical Features.—Oxford is a hilly township.  Much of the land is a strong limestone soil and fertile. In most of the hills are deposits of coal which is mined for local use.  Oil and gas have been found in the southwestern part.

   The southern part of the township is drained by Salt Fork creek and its small branches; the northern, by Skull Fork.  The National Road follows the ridge dividing the two streams.

   Early Settlers.—Benjamin Borton, who came form New Jersey in 1804, was amongst the first, if not the first, to settle in the present township. It was he who started the pennyroyal industry in that section.

   Bethuel Ables is said to have been the first white child born in the township.  At the first Pennyroyal Reunion in 1880 he spoke as follows:


   “I was born in 1806, within a mile of this spot, amongst the wolves, Indians and snakes.  My father died when I was six years old and left me, the oldest of the family, on mother’s hands.  John was the next oldest. One night he and I, as the wolves were troublesome, penned the sheep right up against the cabin.  In the night the wolves came and howled and pushed about the house. The sheep were killed or wounded.  It made our little hearts quake at the danger. 

   “I know also Pennyroyaldom and how to make the oil, too.  In the early days we boiled it in kettles; now a four-horse load is needed to fill a gum.  It was hard work to gather pennyroyal.  It grows by “grasshopper springs.”  The springs near it are generally filled with grasshoppers, and the field with weeds.”

   William Morton, Sr., who was born in county Antrim, Ireland, in 1766, was another early settler.  His son, William Morton, Jr., thus describes the township as it was when he was eight years old:


   “When I came into Oxford township in 1814, there were not more than fifteen families here. Those who followed were from New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia.  All went to work to carve new homes in the forest.

   “Not on the face of this globe, at any place or any time, were there such beautiful woods as were here, with ridge and glade, hillock and dell, all covered with leaf and fern and flower.  In these woods the pioneer erected his castle—no less his castle because of rude logs and called a cabin. The floor was of puncheons and the roof of clapboards held down by poles laid crosswise. There were no nails except as made by the blacksmiths.”


   Others who came into the township early in the century were Christian Wine, Ezekiel Vance, John Cranston, Edward Morton, Samuel Marlow, William Orr, Philip Rosemond and Benjamin Masters.

   The Pennyroyal Industry.—Soon after settling in the township Benjamin Borton noticed that pennyroyal sprang up spontaneously on land that had been cleared.  Having learned the art of distilling pennyroyal oil in New Jersey, he began the process of distilling it here.  His son, grandsons and great-grandsons continued in the business more or less, and it has not been many years since the last pennyroyal distillery was closed in Oxford township. With poor markets in some years for general farm products, it would have been hard to raise much needed money had it not been for this industry. The oil was highly valued for medicinal purposes and brought a good price in eastern cities.

   The First Wedding.—Captain W. M. Farrar, in an historical address made at one of the early Pennyroyal reunions, told about the first wedding in Guernsey county.  The bride and groom were Sally Lennox and James Roller, of Oxford township; they were married September 11, 1810.  It seems that Sally’s parents opposed the match and, fearing an elopement, kept the cabin door fastened at night to prevent her running away.  But a plan was devised to circumvent them. At the end of the cabin was a large open wooden chimney.  One night sally climbed to the top form the inside, and emerging, leaped into the arms of Jim who was waiting with a horse.  She rode behind him to the home of Thomas Henderson, justice of the peace, where they were married. The Squire called his        

wife, who was in bed, to come be a witness to the wedding, but she refused to dress for the occasion.  She did consent to sit up in bed with a quilt wrapped around her, and thus became a witness to the first marriage recorded in Guernsey county.

   Zane’s Trace.—The township was crossed by Zane’s Trace, afterwards called the Wheeling road. This road and its route through Oxford township are described in another chapter. Zane’s Trace followed the streams. The National Road, built thirty years later, kept to the ridges through Oxford township.

   Population.—1820, 915; 1830, 1490; 1840, 2133; 1850, 2210; 1860, 2400; 1870, 1709; 1880, 1615; 1890, 1504; 1900, 1334; 1910, 1137; 1920, 1033; 1930, 966.

   Beginning of Fairview.—The town of Fairview was laid out by Hugh Gilliland on March 24, 1814.  He chose the location because it was on the old Wheeling road. Guernsey county had been organized but four years before, and the place selected bordered on Belmont county. Gilliland platted thirty lots, each one-forth of an acre in area, fronting on the two sided of the Wheeling road. 

   Ralph Cowgill, one of the first settlers of the township, was an old man at the time the place was laid out. Standing with the proprietor on a distant hill, from which was had a fair view of the town, he remarked that it ought to be called “Fairview,” and the name was at once adopted. No more appropriate name could have been suggested, as this village can be seen from more distant points than any other town In this section of the state.


Old Mill At

No longer in use this building still stands as a reminder of the old milling days in Fairview.  When built, nearly a century ago, by Samuel Hutchison, it was a pretentious mill having a long stroke steam engine.  In later years it was know as the Griffin mill.  Water poser was never used here.


   It was soon seen that Fairview possessed such advantages as to make it a good town in which to locate. Jesse C. Weir and James and Martin Rosemond opened stores with sufficient merchandise to supply all the surrounding country.   Mechanics of every kind flocked to the place and found plenty of work to keep them busy.

   John Duncan was one of the earliest settlers of Fairview. He laid out what was called “Duncan’s Addition,” extending the town westward.  Mr. Duncan was an enterprising citizen. He started a carding machine, operating it by horse power on the tramp-wheel principle. This mill, many years later, was struck by lightning and burned. He was a man of education. He built a schoolhouse and taught the children of the settlement for a number of winters.

   Soon after an addition was platted by Duncan, Lemon Ryan laid out another. This part of the village was called “Turkeytown.”

   Philip Rosemond, John Gibson and John Davenport, as joint proprietors, platted an addition of eleven lots in 1825, and another of nineteen lots, in 1827. The best of these lots sold at sixty-five dollars each.


                                            Fairview Scene 1913

   It was believed that Fairview was destined to become a place of great size and importance. When the Wheeling road at that place became the National Road in 1827, the town prospered more than ever.   It became a division point for stage traffic and a depot for the entire kingdom of Pennyroyaldom.  Here were brought and shipped out to the eastern markets on the big freight wagons traveling the National Road, the products of Pennyroyaldom at that time—tobacco, pork, pennyroyal oil, ginseng, snake-root, sassafras, wormwood—anything that was salable.

   Like Beymerstown, afterwards called Washington, Fairview was ambitious to become a county seat. It could not become such of Guernsey county, as that honor had been awarded to Cambridge, and Washington was ever watching for an opportunity to wrest it from her.  Then Fairview was too far east to be given consideration. Why not a new county made up of Eastern Guernsey and Western Belmont? Fairview would be about the center and the logical location for the county seat. The county would be called “Cumberland.”  This ambition of the early settlers was never realized.

   Fairview in 1826.—William Bernard described Fairview as it was in 1826, as follows:


   “I came from Frederick county, Maryland, to this place, arriving in September, 1826.  If I can live to the 20th day of next September (1881), I will be ninety-one years old.  I found a few log houses occupied generally by a laboring class of people. Three of the houses were used as taverns where whisky flowed like water.   The names of the proprietors were William Bradshaw at the east end, an Irish-man named Rodgers in the middle, and a man named Hughes at the west end of town.  There were two stores, those of James and Martin Rosemond, and Jesse C. Weir.

   “There was no church in the limits of the town, but there was a half-finished stone church about a quarter of a mile from town west, belonging to the United Presbyterians, or Unions as they were called.  Rev. (Samuel) Findley did the preaching.  Methodists were scarce at that time. There were about ten or fifteen who met in a little house that John Duncan built for a school.  He taught subscription school in the winter and did carding in the summer.  He had a carding-machine run by a horse-power tramp wheel. The women did their own spinning and weaving in those days.

   “The only mill we had was a horse mill about a half-mile from town.  Just below the mill was a distillery to make it convenient for the people to get their whisky when they went to mill.

   “The National Road was graded through the town, but there was no stone yet on it. Saturday was always the business day.  The laborers on the National Road and the people from the country would then gather in town and have a jolly time. The merchants were kept busy running up and down cellar stairs, drawing pintfuls of liquors, and occasionally you would see bloody noses and black eyes.

   “Politically, Oxford township was Democratic.  It was carried for General Jackson and I had the honor of voting for him.  We could buy flour at one dollar per hundred.  Wheat was worth from thirty-seven and one-half to forty-five cents; corn, twenty cents; and oats, ten cents per bushel.

   “There were plenty of hogs in the woods, and if you wanted meat all you had to do was to take a gun and go out and shoot a pig.  Mast was plentiful and the hogs were always fat in the fall.”


   On February 27, 1846, Fairview was incorporated.  Its population was 162 in 1830; 444 in 1850; 365 in 1860; 377 in 1870; 352 in 1880; 322 in 1890; 291 in 1900; 346 in 1910; 231 in 1920; 217 in 1930; and 206 in 1940.  David Wherry was probably the first person to locate in the Fairview community.

   The Middlebourne Community.—Middlebourne on the National Road, fourteen miles east of Cambridge, was laid out as Middleton by Benjamin Masters on September 1, 1827.  Folks persisted in calling the place Middletown which was the name of an older and larger town in Ohio. To avoid confusion the postal authorities named the Guernsey county village Middlebourne when they established a postoffice there. This is the name that it now bears officially, yet to many it is still Middletown.

   The fact that the town is approximately midway between Wheeling and Zanesville suggested its name. When Masters found that the National Road would run right through his farm he immediately proceeded to lay out a town, believing that it s location would be conductive to its growth and prosperity.  It may not have occurred to him that the place, by the usual route of travel, would be approximately midway between Cambridge and Barnesville; Washington and Fairview; Quaker City and Antrim; and Salesville and Winterset.

                                         Middlebourne Scene 1913

But neither the location nor the name has proved to be much of an asset to the town. Three years after it was founded (1830) it had a population of 126.  In 1846 the village was incorporated. By 1850 the population had reached 267. William Hays had opened a tavern of twenty rooms. Here Henry Clay occasionally lodged when traveling form his
Kentucky home to Washington.  Its barroom, barns for wagoners and lots for drovers’ stock, together with its bountiful meals and hospitality, made it one of the best known hostelries on the National Road.   The greater part of this old tavern still stands, known as Locust Lodge. Farther down the street the Penn tavern, built by Peter Corwyn in 1842, is yet in use. The architectural design of its doorway, said to be one of the most unique doorways on the National Road, has attracted many visitors. Greenberry Penn from whom the tavern takes its name was its keeper for many years.

   In the early 1850’s Middlebourne flourished. The village boasted of several stores, three or four churches, doctors, a lawyer, a brass band and various mechanics’ shops  With the advent of the railroad which passed through six miles south of the town, its glory began to wane.  Middlebourne’s population in 1860 had dropped to 178, and by 1870 to 166. Its charter of incorporation was surrendered. Like many other places with promising futures, through which the National Road passed, it is now but one of the old Pike towns.

   Benjamin Masters came from Sussex county, New Jersey, to what is now Section 31 of Oxford township, in 1804.  Instead of entering land on Zane’s Trace, as most of the pioneers were then doing, he cut a trail through the dense forest to a location three miles north of Zane’s Trace. Here in the northeast corner of his land he built a cabin in which he and his family lived for five years.  The Masters moved over to the center of the farm, to a log house that stood on the site of the present Locust Lodge. Soon after his arrival Masters built a horse-mill for grinding corn. He afterwards changed this to a water-mill with one run of buhrs. The bolting cloth was turned by hand like a grindstone while it was fed by a half-bushel measure. Water was brought to the mill through a race a half-mile long.

   Masters was a very industrious and enterprising man. He opened a cooper’s shop and made buckets, churns, tubs and barrels from basswood of which there was then much in the surrounding forests. By 1816 he had cleared sixty acres of land. He was married three times and was the father of eighteen children. There were so many youngsters in the household that for convenient identification they were classified as children of the first set, second set and third set, there being approximately six in each set. Benjamin Masters moved to Marion county where he died. Several of his children remained in Guernsey county and reared families here.

   With Benjamin Masters came his brother Richard to this section. He settled o the southwest quarter of Section 27 (now the Albaugh farm).  Soon after his arrival more settlers came to that neighborhood—McPeeks, Valentines, Smiths, Boyds, Abels and others.  In 1818 they organized the Salt Fork Baptist church (still active).

   One of Benjamin Masters’ three wives was Hannah McPeek, granddaughter of Patrick McPeek who came from Ireland to Sussex county, New Jersey, before the Revolutionary War. When the war opened he disappeared, probably to enter the service. Believing him dead, his wife married again.  Seven years later, like Enoch Arden, Patrick retuned, but unlike Enoch Arden, he claimed his wife. The second husband refused to surrender her. A bargain was made whereby the matter was settled satisfactorily.  Patrick, accompanied by one of his two sons, went to South Carolina where he purchased land and became a slaveholder. Hannah was the daughter of Ezekiel McPeek, the son who remained with the mother. Four of her brothers—John, William, Daniel and Richard—came to what is now Guernsey county, probably influenced to do so by the Masters.

   The descendants of these four brothers became numerous in the Middlebourne community.  Near the Salt Fork church there used to be so many of them that the settlement was called McPeektown.

   Bridgewater, of which there is now little more than the name, was platted on the National Road, a half mile east of Middlebourne, by William Orr, March 24, 1834.  Orr erected a brick tavern (still standing) which enjoyed a liberal patronage in the old Pike days. At Bridgewater was located one of the four Guernsey county toll gates.

   Oxford’s Men and Women.—This township is proud of the records made by many of its citizens in the affairs of county, state and nation.  It may have been the inspiration derived from the classical name, on it may have been the influence of Dr. Samuel Findley who established the first church and encouraged education, that prompted them to seek the higher and better things of life.  Perhaps it was the type of citizenship displayed by the early settlers who were mostly of good stock.

   Nathan B. Scott, born in Oxford township, served as a United States senator from West Virginia for twelve years  Joseph D. Taylor represented this district in Congress for nine years, and C. Ellis Moore, a native of Oxford, represented the district in Congress for fourteen years.  Addison T. Smith, once a resident of Pennyroyaldom, was a congressman from Idaho for many years.

   Mattie McClelland Brown, nationally-known lecturer and temperance worker, was reared in Oxford township. Dr. W. O. Thompson, long-time president of Ohio State University, taught school west of Fairview.  David Paul and David Wallace became presidents of Muskingum College.

   Oxford has furnished more than thirty men for the various Guernsey county offices. From this township have come two state senators, four representatives to the General Assembly, five common pleas judges, three county auditors, two probate judges, three county recorders, four county treasurers, one clerk of courts, one sheriff, four county commissioners, four prosecuting attorneys and three county surveyors.  

   How Oxford Was Named.—It is interesting to know the origin of Guernsey county township names. Six of the nineteen were named for presidents—Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and Jackson; two for their locations in the county—Westland and Center; one for a family of early settlers—Knox; two from the nature of the land—Valley and Richland; one for a creek—Wills’; and six from places whence some of their early settlers came—Cambridge, Londonderry, Millwood, Oxford, Wheeling and Spencer. The name for Liberty was probably chose arbitrarily.  

   Five townships were laid off at the first meeting of the county commissioners, April 23, 1810.  Present at the meeting were persons from various parts of the county, who were interested in the formations and their names.  Amongst these were David Wherry, and Thomas B. Kirkpatrick, one of the associate judges, both of whom lived in the division that became Oxford township.  In deference to the wishes of these gentlemen the commissioners requested them to suggest a suitable name.  “I came from Oxfordshire, England.”  said David Wherry, “and I would like to have it called Oxford, in honor of my old home.”  “That suits me,” added Judge Kirkpatrick, “because my ancestors came form Oxford, a little town in Ireland.”  Thus it is that Oxford has both an English and an Irish origin.  

   An Early surveyor.—John Kennon, Jr. is said to have surveyed more land than any other Guernsey county man.  Born in Pennsylvania in 1803, he came with his father, John Kennon, Sr., to the southeastern part of what afterwards became Oxford township, in 1806.  The Kennon family lived for several months in a rude hut made by standing up four posts, across the tops of which poles were laid and covered with brush.  Bark was used for siding the hut.  At an opening left for a door a dog was kept at night to protect the family against panthers, wolves and bears. A log cabin twelve feet square was built later. The roof was made of clapboards weighted down by poles. The door swung on wooden hinges.

   When other settlers arrived a log schoolhouse, sixteen feet square, was built. Greased paper was used to admit light. The seats were made from split logs hewn smooth.  John, Jr. here learned to read, write and cipher.  He became interested in mathematics, took up the study of surveying without a teacher, and at the age of sixteen he made his first survey, which was for the noted stone church near Fairview. When the National Road was built through Eastern Ohio, he was engaged as an engineer by several contractors.  As land appraiser in 1846, he made what was claimed to be the first true map of Guernsey county.

   John Kennon, Jr. lived to be nearly one hundred years old, dying in Fairview where the last years of his life were spent.

   Learning a Trade.—In order to learn a trade many a boy in pioneer days bound himself to some craftsman for a period of years, giving labor for the training received. The legally drawn indenture would explicitly set forth the duties of the bound boy to his master, and of the master to the boy. As an illustration of this there follows the indenture of Bethuel Ables who was bound to Daivd Johnson, a blacksmith of Oxford township.


   THIS INDENTURE, made this twenty-third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty-two, Witnesseth: That Bethuel Ables, of Guernsey county and the State of Ohio, by and with the consent of his parent, John Ables, hath put himself an apprentice to David Johnson, of the county and state aforesaid, to learn the art and mystery of the blacksmith business in all the parts the said Johnson follows, for the term of five years, which term commences on the day and date above written (the said Bethuel being aged sixteen years the 16th instant of October), and ends the twenty-third day of October, Anno Domini one thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven, during which term the said Bethuel Ables the said Johnson shall faithfully serve in all lawful business, according to his power, wit and ability as a dutiful apprentice ought to do.

   The said Bethuel is not to follow any kind of gambling, nor waste his master’s goods, his secrets keep, and all lawful commands everywhere readily obey.  Said Johnson is to teach and cause to be taught the said Bethuel the art and mystery of the blacksmith business in all the various parts that the said Johnson follows, according to their ability in teaching and being taught, and find the said Bethuel in all wearing clothes, bedding and boarding and washing suitable for an apprentice during said term; also to get him, the said Bethuel, one coat, vest-coat and pantaloon of factory cotton when he arrives at the age of eighteen, and at the expiration of said term, said Bethuel is to have one bellows, one anvil and one vise, and the liberty of the shop to make such small tools as are necessary to start a shop with; also during said term the Johnson is to give the said Bethuel six months’ schooling.

   For the true and faithful fulfillment of the above engagements we have each of us set our hands and seals the day and date above written.

Attest:                                                                                      David Johnson,

Abraham Anderson                                                                     Bethuel Ables
James Starr                                                                                 John Ables

   Owners of Real Estate in 1840.—Following is a complete list of the real estate owners in Oxford 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 heads of families living in the township.

   Ables, Bethuel, 50 acres, sec. 21 and 31; Aududle, Charles, 77 acres, sec. 9; Armstrong, William, 158 acres, sec. 14; Aududle, Thomas, 76 acres, sec. 9; Arnold, Fanny, 79 acres, sec. 3; Arnold, William, 158 acres, sec. 3; Atherington, Benjamin, 50 acres, sec. 12; Aududle, Alexander, 80 acres, sec. 19; Ashbaugh, Frederick, 1 acre, sec. 2; Beatty, Washington, 1 acre, sec. 31; Bennett, John, 182 acres, sec. 23; Bay, Andrew, 146 acres, sec. 35; Bay, William, 226 acres, sec. 35; Brown, Joseph, 195 acres, sec. 17; Baker, Robinson, 621 acres, sec. 1, 7 and 12; Barkey, Jacob, 160 acres, sec. 26; Brown, Bernard, 160 acres, sec. 31; Blackiston, William, 35 acres, sec. 31; Borton, William, 79 acres, sec. 19; Borton, Reuben, 123 acres, sec. 7; Borton, James, 159 acres, sec. 13; Bevard, William, 146 acres, sec. 30; Blazier, Peter, 44 acres, sec. 31; Boyd, George, 100 acres, sec. 32; Barkhurst, William, 163 acres, sec. 9; Bell, John, 86 acres, sec. 7 and 12; Bouler, James, 265 acres, sec. 9; Bulger, Reuben, 1 acre, sec. 2.

   Cochran, William, 322 acres, sec. 30; Carter, Philip, 79 acres, sec. 15; Carrothers, James, 38 acres, sec. 11; Cranston, John, 151 acres, sec. 5 and 11; Cranston, Archibald, 80 acres, sec. 5; Cranston, James, 82 acres, sec. 11; Cranston, Thomas, 160 acres, sec. 5; Cranston, William, 82 acres, sec. 11; Creighton,Christopher, 165 acres, sec. 8; Coffield, James, 78 acres, sec. 25; Cope, Samuel, 49 acres, sec. 26; Chambers, John, 1 acre, sec. 2; Corwyn, Peter, 74 acres, sec. 31; Duncan, John, 40 acres, sec. 2; Dillon, James (Heirs), 160 acres, sec. 18; Dillon, William, 96 acres, sec. 18; Dillon, Christopher, 158 acres, sec. 3.

   Forrest, James, 1 acre, sec. 27; Flegor, Jacob, 114 acres, sec. 2 and 5; Forbes, Boyd, 138 acres, sec. 25; Ferrell, William (Heirs), 195 acres, sec. 13 and 14; Ferguson, Samuel (Heirs), 149 acres, sec. 13; Ferguson, Thomas, 145 acres, sec. 6; Gregg, Burr, 13 acres, sec. 31; Gardner, James, 100 acres, sec. 21; Giffee, Josiah, 13 acres, sec. 1; Glazener, James, 155 acres, sec. 25; Gardner, William, 159 acres, sec. 15; Graham, William, 7 acres, sec. 5; Gracy, Jackson, 240 acres, sec. 14; Giffee, Benjamin (Heirs0, 160 acres, sec. 1; Gatchell, Jacob, 160 acres, sec. 1; Garrett, James, 100 acres, sec. 29; Gill, Mordecai, 144 acres, sec. 32; Gleaves, Samuel, 6 acres, sec. 2; Grier, Thomas, 120 acres, sec. 14 and 20; Grimes, William, 167 acres, sec. 8 and9; Grimes, James, 80 acres, sec. 9; Gibson, Hugh, 77 acres, sec. 9; Grier, Isaac, 168 acres, sec. 6; Gracy, Richard, 80 acres, sec. 15.

   Hopkins, Jared, 133 acres, sec. 23 and 24; Henderson, William, Jr., 131 acres, sec. 23; Henderson, William, Sr., 403 acres, sec. 17 and 23; Hutchison, John C., 1 acre, sec. 2; Hays, Thomas, 273 acres, sec. 25 and 31; Hall, Robert, 160 acres, sec. 2; Henderson, John C., 87 acres, sec. 11; Henderson John, 114 acres, sec. 29; Hall, George, 25 acres, sec. 8; Hall, James, 52 acres, sec. 8; Henderson, James, 80 acres, sec. 17; Henderson, John (Heirs), 80 acres, sec. 29; Henry Peter, 50 acres, sec. 32; Hamilton, John, 72 acres, sec. 11 and 17; Hilton, Morris, 99 acres, sec. 32; Henry, Stewart, 50 acres, sec. 25; Head, James, 79 acres, sec. 19; Henderson, Robert, 116 acres, sec. 29; Inglish, Richard, 5 acres, sec. 2; Jackson, Benjamin, 33 acres, sec. 8; Johnson, John B., 33 acres, sec. 26; Kirkpatrick, Richard, 62 acres, sec. 12; Kennon, John, 21 acres, sec. 1; Kennon, James, 81 acres, sec. 5; Kirkpatrick, Thomas, 119 acres, sec. 12; Lowe, Henry, 61 acres, sec. 3 and 17.

   Moore, John, 230 acres, sec. 18 and 29; McClenehan, John, 160 acres, sec. 21; Moore, William, 200 acres, sec. 20 and 21; Moore, Edward, 151 acres, sec. 33; Merryman, James, 82 acres, sec. 8; Morton, Moses, 339 acres, sec. 11, 12 and 13; Morton, Edward (Heirs0, 114 acres, sec. 1; Marlowe, Samuel, 135 acres, sec. 13; McKee, Thomas, 112 acres, sec. 30; McPeek, Daniel, 160 acres, sec. 27; McPeek, John, 152 acres, sec. 33; Montgomery, James, 2 acres, sec. 26; McConnell, Thomas, 119 acres, sec. 20; Masters, Richard and William, 295 acres, sec. 26 and 32; McWilliams, Samuel, 117 acres, sec. 25; McCrea, David, 91 acres, sec. 31; Masters, Daniel, 30 acres, sec. 27; McCartney, John, 20 acres, sec. 2.

   Nace, Samuel, 4 acres, sec. 2; Osborn, William, 26 acres, sec. 27; Odell, Stephen, 120 acres, sec. 2 and 119; Osborn, Covey, 15 acres, sec. 26; Orr, William, 151 acres, sec. 33; Patterson, William, 108 acres, sec. 3; Parry, Gibbons, 1 acre, sec. 2; Pumphrey, Beale, 1 acre, sec. 2; Paul, Andrew, 186 acres, sec. 8; Peck, James, 25 acres, sec. 2; Pollock, Thomas, 40 acres, sec. 2; Parks, Hugh, 96 acres, sec. 2; Rose, Washington, 30 acres, sec. 23; Roseman, Martin, 66 acres, sec. 2; Ryan, Lemon, 10 acres, sec. 2; Roseman, James, 44 acres, sec. 2; Rose, Thompson, 81 acres, sec. 35; Riggle, Isaac, 155 acres, sec. 7; Rowles, Nicholas, 19 acres, sec. 31; Reese, Armine, 51 acres, sec. 33.

   Stewart, James, 1 acre, sec. 12; Scott, Richard, 100 acres, sec. 29; Stewart, William, 169 acres, sec. 29; Sours, Charles, 106 acres, sec. 19 and 24; Stevens, Joshua, 295 acres, sec. 26; Stewart, John (Heirs), 132 acres, sec. 27; Smith, David, 149 acres, sec. 32; Saltsgaver, Jacob, 3 acres, sec. 2; Stevens, Joshua, 76 acres, sec. 9; Scott, James, 559 acres, sec. 36; Shipley, Talbert, 79 acres, sec. 3; Tracy, William W., 80 acres, sec. 27; Thompson, Andrew, 50 acres, sec. 21; Theaker, John, 100 acres, sec. 33; Turkle, Joseph, 159 acres, sec. 15; Turkle, John, 159 acres, sec. 15; Tracy, Sheridan, 109 acres, sec. 20; Thompson, Robert, 50 acres, sec. 2; Tillett, James, 6 acres, sec. 2; Taylor, Alexander D., 180 acres, sec. 20 and 21.

   Valentine, Samuel, 85 acres, sec. 31; Valentine, Jeremiah, 80 acres, sec. 21; Vanmeter, Morgan, 2 acres, sec. 2; Vanevey, Mary, 64 acres, sec. 26; Wallace, Thomas, 86 acres, sec. 27; Weir, Jesse, 24 acres, sec. 2; Woodburn, Alexander, 75 acres, sec. 25; Wherry, Joseph, 160 acres, sec. 18; Wallace, David, 100 acres, sec. 6; Wilson, John, 104 acres, sec. 11; Wine, Christian, 8 acres, sec. 2; Wherry, David, 59 acres, sec. 18; Wherry, James, 226 acres, sec. 24; Wherry, John, 80 acres, sec. 24; Wallace, John, 389 acres, sec. 1 and 6.

   Owners of lots in Fairview were the following; Frederick Asbaugh, Reuben Bulger, Henry Barnes, William Bratton, William Barkhurst, John Bell, James Carter, David Coultrap, Matthias Clutter, William Cummins, Joseph Carlisle, Amos Duhammel, John Duncan, Jacob Flegor, Joseph P. Gazzam, Isaac Gleaves, Benjamin Giffee, Samuel Gleaves, John Gamble, William Hall, Joseph Hare, Joseph Inskeep, Newell Kennon, William Lane, John Millson, Edward Morton, William Neil, Hugh Parks, Isaac Pumphrey, George Plattenburg, Horace Pumphrey, Absalom Pumphrey, J. M. Pumphrey, Beale Pumphrey, Gibbons Parry, John Peck, James Peck, Lemon Ryan, Philip Roseman, Mary Roseman, James Roseman, Morton Roseman, Thomas Stanberry, William Tipton, William Tracey, Jesse C. Wier.

   The following owned the lots of Middlebourne: John Ables, William Armstrong, William Bay, Ebenezer Blackiston, Bernard Brown, William Bevard, Jared Clary, William G. Cook, William Cochran, Peter Corwyn, Mary Dickerson, Isaac Ellsworth, James Fotheringham, Barr Gregg, Jacob Glazener, John Gibson, Thomas Hays, William Hays, Stewart Knight, William R. Haines, Mely Jarvis, John Hall, Alexander Kirkpatrick, James Luch, Benjamin Masters, Joseph Morrison, William Morrison, Corwyn McAllister, Jonathan Miller, Greenberry Penn, Thomas Plant, Josephus Pugh, David F. Robe, William Richard, James Richardson, Nathaniel Smith, Garrett Smith, David Scott, John Stiles, Joseph Stotts, Samuel Thompson, John Valentine, Samuel Valentine, Jonathan Warne, John Wallace.

   Owners of the lots in Bridgewater were James Burdett, William P. Blackiston, William Cowden, John Ducher, John Gilpen, Thomas Hays, William Hays, Wilmuth Jones, John Hall, Samuel McPeek, Elizabeth Valentine.


The Pennyroyal Reunion


   First Held in 1880.—Oxford township’s most noted institution is the Pennyroyal Reunion.   Each year since the first reunion was held in 1880, residents of Oxford and adjoining townships, many living elsewhere but who had once lived there, and still others from far and near, attracted by the programs, the crowds, or the unique character of the event, have come together to enjoy it.  It is one of the oldest and best known gatherings of its kind in the state.

   Oxford township was laid out in 1810 as one of the five townships into which the county was originally divided. It was one of the first townships to be settled, some of the pioneers being the Ables, the Bortons, the Wherrys, the Rosemonds, the Dillons, the Mortons and the Kennons. From the wild pennyroyal, which grew in abundance, an oil was distilled and sold in eastern markets. On account of this unusual industry the section was often referred to as the pennyroyal district.

   It was proposed that in August, 1880, a reunion of persons living in the pennyroyal territory, together with those who had been born there and living elsewhere, be held in Gardiner’s grove. The event, which lasted two days, proved to be a great success.  There were living at that time several persons who were amongst the pioneers of the township, and they related some of its early history. The program, which consisted of addresses, reminiscences and music, was interesting and instructive to both old and young.  It was decided to make it an annual affair.

   Memorial Services Are Held.—In 1929, the fiftieth reunion was held and the occasion was made one of special interest. Those who took active parts at the first meetings have mostly passed on, but their children and their grandchildren come together each year to renew friendships and pay tribute to the ones gone before. At each reunion the names of all persons connected with Pennyroyaldom, who died the preceding year, are read, and a fitting memorial service is held.

   Attended by Many Eminent Men.—The Pennyroyal Reunion has attracted state-wide attention. Many have come from distant states to be present on these occasions. Speakers of national reputation have appeared on the programs. It is recalled that in 1895, the three candidates for governor—Asa S. Bushnell, James E. Campbell and Jacob S. Coxey—spoke there the same day from one platform. Men who afterwards became Presidents of the United States, Senators, Representatives, and persons eminent in various activities, have been present at these reunions.

   Interest Is Strong.—While interest in the reunions on the part of those closely associated with Pennyroyaldom has in no way declined, the crowds attending them are not as large as they were a generation ago. This may be accounted for in part by the fact that there are more attractions of a similar character throughout the country. At one time the Pennyroyal Reunion was the only gathering of its kind in this part of the state and it held the undivided interest of the people, but now there are many reunions of folks bound together for one reason or another. Notwithstanding this one difference of attendance, the programs are just as strong as those of former days, and for years to come the Penyroyalists will no doubt continue to meet together annually for enjoyment and to keep sacred the memory of their forefathers.

   The Pennyroyal Song.—At one of the early Reunions the Pennyroyal Choir was organized, composed of a number of the best singers of Pennyroyaldom.  Each year since the organization the singing of the choir has been a feature of the gathering. The personnel has changed through time until today many members of the choir are grandchildren of the original members. Prof. John H. Sarchet was leader of the choir for more than forty years.  He composed the Pennyroyal Song which is sung by the choir each year.

Some of its stanzas follow:

The Briton sings “God Save the King”

The Irishman of Shamrock green,

But there’s a land they’ve never seen

In O-hi-o.

Her Hills and Valleys laugh and sing

While flocks and herds their tribute bring,

And pennyroyal is “on the wing”

In O-hi-o.



Then a song of pennyroyal,

And her sons and daughters loyal,

Sturdy tillers of the soil

Down in O-hi-o.


We love the scented clover

That paints her meadows over,

And the pennyroyal odor

Down in O-hi-o

‘Tis found not in the Railroad Guide,

Nor on the map in stately pride,

But mem’ry bounds her borders wide

In O-hi-o.


Her currency is “honest toil”

For every boy and every girl,

Her emblem, fragrant pennyroyal

In O-hi-o.

No standing army keeps her peace,

No need of judges or police,

No pestilence nor fell disease

In O-hi-o.


Then let us join the festive song,

And swell the chorus loud and strong,

Say to the world that we belong

 In O-hi-o

And as we gather once a year

We’ll stories tell to memory dear,

Our fathers and their God revere

In O-hi-o


Heroism of a Pioneer Woman


   Among the pioneers of Oxford township were William Henderson and his wife, Nancy Clendennon Henderson, the former having been born in 1774, and the latter in 1780.  They were married in Pennsylvania in 1797, and came to Guernsey county in 1806, with their four small children.

   The Home on Zane’s Trace.—Like the most of the other early settlers of this section they came by way of Zane’s Trace, and like the others, too, they sought a place for a home near the only thoroughfare through the county at that time. The spot selected was in the valley of Salt Fork creek, where Zane’s Trace made an abrupt turn to the west. A large tract of land was entered, a primeval forest at that time; and, as it lay in the seventh of the Seven Ranges, was paid for at the government land office in Steubenville.  This public land sold at $2.00 an acre, if easily accessible to the outside world; at $1.50 an acre, if located otherwise.

   The farm upon which William and Nancy Clendennon Henderson settled is now known as the Levi Carter farm.  Their log house stood near the spring where the road forks, one branch leading to Fairview, the other paralleling the creek. Back of the cabin to the northwest as a hill, then covered with forest trees, but later cleared and planted as an orchard.  Within the orchard two of their children, who died a few years after they settled there, were buried.

   Their settlement in Guernsey county was much like that of many other pioneers  Excepting for the following incident there would be no story to tell, other than one similar to that which might be told about any family that came into Guernsey county in those early days.

   A Terrified Mother.—One day, a short time after they had established their home in Oxford township, William Henderson went away, leaving his wife and the small children alone in the cabin.  It was not considered unsafe for them to be left in this way, as they had never been molested either by man or wild beasts.

   As the children played about the house Nancy Clendennon Henderson was engaged in baking bread in one of the old-time ovens. Happening to look out the open door, she was terrified on seeing a band of Indians on the hill northwest of the house. It was obvious that their attention was directed to the cabin.  They were in council and seemed to be somewhat excited.

   What should she do? It was a long distance to a white settlement or the nearest neighbor. Escape with the children was impossible. To attempt a defense would be useless. One of the Indians left the others and started towards the house. As he approached the open door her mind worked quickly, and it was probably her wit that saved her and the children.

   Saved by Bread.—She rushed to the oven and threw open the door. To her relief she saw that the bread was done. Gathering the loaves in her apron she returned to the open door just as the Indian reached it. Standing there facing him, as one without fear but with a wish to do him a kindness, with both hands holding her apron heaped high with the brown loaves of hot bread, she indicated that it was a gift for the Indians.

   At the unexpected action of the woman, the Indian stepped back surprised, but after a moment’s hesitation he came forward, took the bread, saying “Good Squaw,” then started back to the others who were advancing towards the house. He divided the bread amongst them, and after a further council, they all passed over the hill in an opposite direction.

   Courage Rewarded.—A few mornings after this Mrs. Henderson and the children were again by themselves. glancing towards the hill ever in her mind as the place from which danger might come, she saw a lone Indian moving towards the house, carrying something on his back. She recognized him as the one to whom she had given the bread. His burden was a dressed deer which he laid at her feet. This was to reward her for her courage and kindness. She was made to understand from what the Indian tried to tell her that the giving of the bread a few days before had saved her own life and the lives of her children. They had been hunting but could find no game. They were almost famished and in such a mood as to be prompted to commit any deed that might suggest itself.

   A Typical Pioneer Woman.—Nancy Clendennon Henderson was a typical pioneer woman of Guernsey county. Before coming to Oxford township she had been educated in the schools of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She was especially anxious that her children receive an education, but here were neither schoolhouses nor teachers in this new country.  It was through her influence that logs were hewed and a school erected near their home.  She became the first teacher and her own children were some of the pupils.

   The old log schoolhouse in which she taught, the first in that part of the county, was destroyed long ago. Others, in succession, have been built in its place.

   Many descendants of William and Nancy Clendennon Henderson are now living in Guernsey county. The original pioneers are buried in a cemetery on Pultney Ridge in Millwood township, that is generally known as “God’s Knob.”


The Old Bradshaw Tavern


   Tavern Described.—In the palmy days of the old National Road one of the most famed hostelries in Eastern Ohio was the Bradshaw tavern in Fairview.  It was situated in the east end of the town, fronting the pike on the north and the Barnesville road on the west.  After the tavern was torn away, the location became the site of the Sheppard home.

   This old tavern really antedated the National Road which was built in 1827. Before that time the main part of the old hostelry stood one-half mile away on Zane’s Trace, or the old Wheeling road, at the point where that thoroughfare turned to the south. It was removed to its new site on huge rollers.

   The tavern was built in the shape of an “L,” a popular architectural design of its day.  It was two stories in height and painted white. There were large front and rear porches struck full of small windows set off with green blinds. Perched upon the apex of the roof was a large bell, and borne aloft on a pole in front was a sign-board bearing the inscription,



W. Bradshaw


      Major William Bradshaw was the proprietor of the tavern for more than forty years.  It was he who was the landlord when it was a stopping place for travelers on Zane’s Trace, and it was he who moved it to its location in Fairview, enlarged it, and made it famous to all who traveled the National Road.

   Bradshaw the Proprietor.—He was Irish, yet he always told with pride that he was born on the ocean while his parents were enroute to America, and was therefore no child of St. Patrick.  His military title was acquired in the state militia service. He was more than six feet in height, straight as an Indian, and his step was of military regularity. His ruddy face and white hair and beard gave him an attractive appearance.

   The tavern marked a division end on the National Road. Stage teams were changed here, and passengers were often fed and domiciled for the night.

   The tavern was not only noted for the meals it served, its comfortable rooms and beds, and the barroom with the big fireplace, but also for its genial landlord. Major Bradshaw possessed a strong natural sense of dignity and, although he accommodated himself to all the various grades of society when occasion demanded, he never permitted the reputation of his house to suffer. He was a zealous Whig n politics, but later became a radical proslavery man.  He was a keen judge of human nature, and, by employing his Irish wit, he was able to meet satisfactorily almost every type of persons stopping at the tavern. His death occurred in Barnesville about the time of the Civil War.

   Henry Clay a Guest.—Henry Clay was often a guest at the Bradshaw tavern. This famous statesman is said to have stopped at other places in Guernsey county—at Cambridge and at Middletown. He was a member of Congress for many years, sponsored the building of the National Road, and invariably traveled it in going back and forth between his home and Washington.  On account of the comparatively slow mode of travel, he was required to stop many places for meals and lodging.

   Fifty years ago an old citizen of Fairview said he remembered seeing Clay at the tavern back in the early days of the pike, shaking hands with people on the old porch and in the barroom. He recalled the old orator as being tall and straight of form, with chestnut hair. He wore a sallowtail coat. With a broad smile he would alight form his coach and begin his round of handshaking, in which not a man or boy would be missed.

   Peter Simpson, the Hostler.—Opposite the tavern were the coach-yard, stables and sheds. Like the garage at the modern hotel, they served as storage for the traveler’s equipment. Here, too, the stock that was being driven through was fed and turned in for the night. Over this annex to the Bradshaw tavern old Peter Simpson, colored hostler, held sway for many years.  He was happiest when all the space in the coach yard was taken and the barroom filled with jolly travelers. His heart was almost broken when the railroad came, causing the long-distance travel on the pike to pass away.  “Bunk” and “Saun” were two dogs of the place, but little less known than Bradshaw and Simpson themselves.

   Many tales were told by the travelers as they sat about the big fireplace of the Bradshaw tavern, and many incidents are related about the place itself. There was, perhaps, no other hostelry between Wheeling and Zanesville, that enjoyed a fairer name, or whose landlord was more widely celebrated for hospitality, eccentricity, and keen satire, than was the tavern of Major Bradshaw.


Old Stone Church


   Built in 1820.—About 1820 a little company of pioneers who had been taught to worship in accordance with the doctrine of the Associate Reformed church, erected a meeting-house in a grove on the top of a hill south of Fairview. They built it of stone, although their homes and all other buildings in that section at that time were made of logs. They were poor and unused to the luxuries of life. However, a house erected to God, they believed, should be better than their own.

   Dr. Finley, the First Pastor.—Two years before this Dr. Samuel Findley had come into the community and organized a church society.  Lacking a house of worship, the people assembled beneath the trees on the hill once a month, where Dr. Findley preached to them. After the stone church had been built, he gave one Sunday of service there, one at Antrim and two at Washington, each month.  During the week days he conducted an academy at West Alexander, Pennsylvania. This arrangement necessitated much travel by horseback, over roads that were almost impassable at certain seasons of the year.  Sometimes he would miss a Sunday and the church would be without preaching for eight or nine weeks at a time.

   When Dr. Finley preached, the stone church was usually full of worshipers.  According to his custom he would read and explain a psalm, following which he would preach two heavy sermons with a brief interval between. This period would be devoted to catechizing the children.

   The greatest event of the year was the Lord’s Supper which commenced with a fast day on Friday. So devout and faithful were the worshipers at the stone church, that on this day they abstained from food and rested from all labors, as if it were the Sabbath. The meetings were continued through Saturday, the Sabbath and Monday. The services were long and the sermons appealing and eloquent.

   Slabs for Seats.—The pulpit, built high up on the wall, was elaborately constructed.  Families sat together, each having its own pew. These occupied about half the church. The other half was seated with slabs laid across massive logs.

   Religion to those people was a serious matter. That they might lack suitable Sunday clothes was of no consequence.  They came to church in homespun; in summer, the men and boys without coats. Children came barefoot, and so did the young ladies thus come to the neighborhood of the church, and then, seated on a log in a retired spot, would put on their shoes.

   Dr. Finley resigned as pastor of the stone church in 1831 to become a full-time preacher at Antrim. Following Dr. Findley were Rev. Alexander Miller and Rev. John Anderson, both Scotchmen and preachers of great ability and learning.

   Rev. Hugh L. Forsythe, the Next Pastor.—Then came Rev. Hugh L. Forsythe to the stone church, whose whole time was given to the Fairview congregation.  The old stone church was too small for the many who wished to attend and a larger frame house was erected west of the village. Rev. Forsythe was pastor for nineteen years—from 1842 to 1861.

   This story of the stone church is written, not only to show what a pioneer place of worship was like, but to call attention to a church whose influence reached into all parts of Guernsey county and many other places; to a church that had a large part in the county’s development.

   The Associate Reformed church afterwards became the United Presbyterian church. This was the first Associate Reformed church in Guernsey county; all the others of that denomination in the county could trace their origin back to the stone church, directly or indirectly.

   The Mother of Ministers.—No other church of any denomination in Guernsey county has furnished more prominent ministers than the stone church at Fairview. The list includes such men as Robert Stewart, Alexander Patterson, James McCrea, David Paul, William Johnston, Uray McClenahan, W. T. Campbell, Stewart McClenahan, H. F. Wallace, J. M. Hamilton, J. B. Gowdy, D. A. McClenahan and David A. Wallace. Some of these were amongst the greatest preachers in the United Presbyterian church; some were professors in theological seminaries; and David Paul and David A. Wallace became presidents of Muskingum College.

   Much of the success of this remarkable church may be attributed to the efforts of two men—Dr. Samuel Findley Founded the church and remained there until it was thoroughly established in the community. Rev. Forsythe, during this long and faithful service, inspired many of those who became prominent as preacher.




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