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Re: PORTER CLAN: Richland / Vermillion / Ashland, County, Ohio ( VA> PA> ILL> OH> IL
Posted by: Cathy PORTER-Maynard (ID *****9734) Date: December 13, 2003 at 21:23:50
In Reply to: PORTER CLAN: Richland / Vermillion / Ashland, County, Ohio ( VA> PA> ILL> OH> IL by Cathy PORTER-Maynard of 653

Posted by: Cathy PORTER-Maynard (In Minnesota)...


ITS PAST AND PRESENT" [Also see: URLs attached below]



AUGUST 9, 1814, Vermillion Township was formed. It occupied in the northeast corner of " Old Richland," a territory which has since been divided into six townships, being then eighteen miles from north to south, and twelve east and west. Within the same year, however, this territory was again divided by a line through the center north and south, the east half retaining the name of Vermillion. In 1815, Vermillion was reduced to its present dimensions, six miles square, in the southern part of the territory. It was then on the east line of Richland, but became a part of Ashland County in 1846. It was surveyed by Jonathan Cox in 1807. James Hedges ran the southern line, and found great difficulty in getting it correct. He went over it three times, and on the third survey says: "I find the chaining correct. I am much perplexed to know the cause of my westing, or inclining south. The variation must operate very partial, or my compass must have been unluckly altered." He then re-surveyed the west boundary, and, coming to the southwest corner, observes: "Here I experience troubles of a new kind; having already spent two days and a half waiting on an Indian chief, who appeared hostile to our business ; also laboring under the difficulty of a hand being absent thirteen days, on a tour for provisions; in the mean time having lived eight days upon boiled and parched corn, I now find my camp

* Now in Ashland County, formerly In Richland.

robbed of some necessary articles, and two hands that left to keep the same, revolted and run away. My range and town lines not being finished, and expecting shortly other surveyors after, me to subdivide; all these difficulties conspire to make me unhappy. No alternative remains but to proceed to Owl Creek and get hands and provisions, this being the 20th of October, 1806." This suspended operations until April, 1807, when Jonathan Cox proceeded to subdivide the township into sections. In running along the east boundary, Mr. Cox came upon Indian trails, much traveled, running northeast. All these trails in this part of the country bore northeast toward Sandusky, and southeast in the direction of Fort Pitt, Wheeling or Mingo Bottom, near the present site of Steubenville. The trails mentioned here doubtless passed over to Greentown, along what is known as the old Portage road, and lead from Mohican John's town. About one mile south of the northeast corner, he found a trail much traveled. Along the west boundary, in the southwest corner, were also trails much traveled. The land is described as fertile, the ascents and descents sloping and gentle; the timber-oak, hickory, ash, sugar maple, with some black walnut and chestnut.

The following names comprise a partial list of the earliest settlers in this township. Sterling G. Bushnell, 1821; Thomas D. Roe, 1815; Rev. John Cox, 1823 ; Joseph Duncan, 1824,


Section 36 ; John Farver, 1817, Section 2 ; Robert Finley, 1811, Section 12 ; William Harper, 1815, Section 10 ; Richard Jackman, 1823, Section 23; William Karnahan, 1815, Section 23; William Lemon, 1818 ; George Marshall, 1822; Andrew Newman, 1825; Jonathan Palmer, 1811, Section 12 ; Gilbert Purdy, 1817 ; William Reed, 1814; William Ryland, 1815 John Scott., 1819 ; Michael Sigler, 1820 ; Joseph Workman, 1815, Section 26 ; Stephen Smith, Section 33; George Eckley, 1811, Uriah and John Johnston, and George King. The wave of emigration had barely reached this point in the wilderness, when the war with Great Brit ain began, and checked it. But two or three settlers came in 1811, and these were compelled the following year to seek safety in blockhouses. Sterling G. Bushnell was the father of a large family, among whom was Dr. William Bushnell, of Mansfield, whose history appears in this work.

It appears that George Eckley was the first to make a permanent settlement, in the spring of 1811; he was followed about two weeks later by Robert Finley, the second settler. The Eckley family were prominent in the later as well as earlier history of the township. E. R. Eckley, son of Ephraim Eckley, was a Colonel in the army during the late war, and since, a member of Congress. Jonathan Palmer came in 1810, and entered his land, as did probably others ; but he did not bring his family until 1811, and then only a portion of it. When the war began, he returned to Jefferson County, his former residence, and remained until 1814. Upon his return, he found Robert Finley. Lemuel Boulter. Samuel Hutchings, William Black, George Eckley and Daniel Harlan the only residents of the township beside himself. There was not a physician in the township or county to his knowledge--not even in Mansfield or Wooster. A physician would have been as much of a curiosity in those days, as would an Indian among the people now. "Grandmother" Palmer officiated in that capacity to the entire satisfaction of all the neighborhood. She gave her services and herb tea gladly, and received thanks for her pay. Their coarse, wholesome food and active lives secured health, and physicians were not needed. Gilbert Purdy tells of buying wheat at 10 cents per bushel, which he paid in blacksmithing, hauling it to Portland (Sandusky City), and selling it for 60 cents. William Reed served in the war of 1812, and Lemuel Boulter and George King were Revolutionary soldiers. Indians, though plenty, do not seem to have disturbed the people of this township; in fact, no Indian tragedies of consequence occurred anywhere in the county after the war. The red men felt that the whites were too numerous and powerful for them, and remained quiet until they were removed from the country.

Gen. Beall and his army passed across the northeast corner of the township on their march to the theater of war, and probably cut the first road. They camped about two weeks within the limits of the township, and while in this camp an incident occurred, which has been facetiously termed the " battle of Cowpens." One dark, rainy night, when the army was wrapt in slumber, and not dreaming of war, but, no doubt, sleeping with a sense of surrounding danger from Indians, the crack of a rifle was heard in the direction of a distant picket-post. The army was aroused; the sentinels came rushing in with the report that the enemy was upon them; the host was marshaled; the ground trembled with the dull tread of tramping squadrons ; the line was formed, and a heavy fire opened, whether with or without orders ; the lurid glare of battle dispelled the inky blackness of the night; the crash of the musketry, the shouting of the officers and men, the charging of the cavalry upon the stumps and logs in the direction of the sup; posed enemy, all combined to give Vermillion a taste of genuine battle.


It was discovered in the morning that the drove of cattle belonging to the army had broken loose from their corral, and were roaming at will. It is said several of them were killed. The General was satisfied, however, as the troops had shown their willingness to fight.

Gen. Beall left a broad trail through the wilderness, and cleared off some ground in the neighborhood of his camp. The first road, however, for the use of the public was that from Wooster to Mansfield, which passed through near the center of the township, and was made in 1815. Settlements grew rapidly along this road, and the first hotel and post office was established on this road at Hayes Cross Roads, now Hayesville.

Vermillion is well watered by the tributaries of Black Fork and Jerome Fork, lying as it does between these streams. Mills and distilleries were erected along these tributaries ; the latter, especially, growing very numerous. Having no market for their corn, they were compelled to make whisky out of it, and this found a ready sale. It was hauled to the lake, and found its way to the Indians and soldiers, by whom the larger share of it was consumed, though the settlers themselves used a large quantity of whisky. It was not poisoned in those days, and was considered a healthy drink. The first mill was erected by Constance Lake, in the fall of 1817, on Goady's Run, in the southeastern part of the township. Prior to this, the settlers had recourse to their handmills or hominy-blocks, and to Shrimplin's, on Owl Creek, and Stibb's. near Wooster. The trip to these mills was generally made with four horses and a wagon, by one of the settlers, who carried the grists of all his neighbors; and it occupied about a week of time. The farm upon which Constance Lake erected his mill, had previously been occupied by Baptiste Jerome, a Frenchman, and the first white settler in this part of the country. He lived for a long time on the site of Jeromeville (which received its name from this fact), among the Indians. The mill soon afterward passed into the hands of Lake & Larwill, and then Lake & Bentley.

James Wallace and Robert Newell were elected Justices of the Peace, in the township, in 1814; Ephraim Eckley and James Walters also occupied this office before 1815. Joseph Workman succeeded Wallace, is 1817.

Education has received the attention of the the people of Vermillion ever since it was a wilderness. The children of the pioneers were taught the rudimentary part of their education at home, and many select schools were taught in private houses before any schoolhouse was erected. One of the first buildings used for a schoolhouse was the old Baptist Church, in 1821, in the Bushnell District, and probably the first public school was taught in that house, by Miss Sedelia Bushnell. William Irwin was also a teacher in 1823. Since then, comfortable schoolhouses have been erected in place of the old log ones; and, about 1840, a disposition was shown to have a place for higher education. A high school was accordingly established in Hayesville in 1843, and in 1845, the Vermillion Institute was chartered and authorized to confer degrees. It originated through the efforts of Rev. Lewis Granger, J. L. McLain and the citizens of the town. It is handsomely situated, and has had a career of varied success. Like all other institutions of learning, even though not attended with the highest success, it gives to the people around it a higher civilization and better society than is enjoyed outside the circle of its influence.

The first church was erected in the northeast part of the township, in 1817, and was known as "Eckley's Church." It was free to all Protestant ministers, but was chiefly used by the Methodists. "Old Hopewell," erected by the Presbyterians, one mile west of Ashland, and Eckley's, formed the nucleus from which Presbyterianism and Methodism radiated in Ashland


County. Mr. Constance Lake, who built the first mill, was. buried in the first graveyard, which was laid out near Eckley's Church.

"Hammond's Meeting-house," in the southern part of the township, was erected by the Methodists in 1852.

The German Evangelical, in the "Risser settlement," was organized in 1860. The house was built in 1847 by the Mennonites, a denomination that embraced about fifteen families. Rev. John Risser was the first Pastor, and the officers Christian Herschler and John Latschar. After a time, a half-interest in the house was sold to the German Lutheran society.

The Church of God, better known as the Winebrenarian, was organized in 1835, with about twenty members. Rev. Thomas Hickornell and Rev. Jacob Keller were the first Pastors, Michael Stevens and Archibald McGrew were the first Elders. It was erected near the eastern line of the township.

In Hayesville, the Old School Presbyterian Church was organized in the fall of 1846, and had as the first minister Rev. Benjamin T. Lowe. An Associate Church was organized in Hayesville at an early day. It was called the "Associate Congregation of Hayesville," and in 1858, upon the union of the Associate and Associate Reformed, became the United Presbyterian.

The first Methodist Church in Hayesville was organized in 1828, at the house of Richard Jackman. About two years after Hayesville was laid out, the society erected a house for worship, 28x35 feet, the membership at this time amounting to thirty. In 1855, another building was erected, at a cost of $1,400. It is 38x50 feet in size. Mr. Palmer, one of the earliest settlers, says the first clergymen in the township were Presbyterian missionaries, who in traveling to and from the missions among the Senecas and Wyandots made it a practice for many years to preach at the house of Mr. Palmer and others. Eckley's Church was quite a large one, made of unhewn logs, in which the Methodist quarterly meetings were generally held, and to which the settlers came from a great distance, bringing their provisions, and camping out about the church sometimes using its capacious fire-place for cooking purposes.

In 1849, Sylvester Alger and George W. Urie, architects, constructed the Ashland County Infirmary in this township. It cost about $4,000.

Hayesville was laid out October 26, 1830, by John Cox and Linus Hayes, on the land first entered by Lemuel Boulter. The year before this, an effort had been made to start a town two miles west of where Hayesville was afterward located. They gave it the name of Williamsburg, but it never became a town. The inhabitants in that part of the county felt however, that a town must be started somewhere near them, along that main road from Wooster to Mansfield. There was also, by this time, an important road passing north and south, upon which teams and men were frequently passing, engaged in the business of transporting their grain and produce from the older and richer counties of Knox and Licking to the markets at the lakeside. A stopping-place was needed for the travelers on both these roads, and the cabin of Linus Hayes, standing at the intersection of these roads, was converted into a tavern. After awhile, it occurred to Mr. Hayes that a town could be built up here, and thus Hayesville was laid out. Probably two-thirds of the early towns in the county came into existence under about the same circumstances. A blacksmith-shop and one or two cabins were built at the cross roads before the town was laid out. John Cox built a cabin on the northwest corner of the principal streets and started the first store. This gentleman undertook to sell the first lots in the town at auction, and on the day named for the sale quite a number of pioneers attended. The business opened in the


morning, and the auctioneer, John Shriver, expended a wonderful amount of breath, but could get no bids whatever. At noon, Mr. Cox despaired of being the founder of a town, and offered his farm for $300, apparently disgusted with the non-success of the undertaking. No one, however, would buy his farm, even at that money. In this extremity, some one hinted to Mr. Cox a matter that gentleman had overlooked, and which had been the cause of all his trouble. It was the absence of whisky. A jug of the beverage was immediately obtained, a few berries put in, and it was called cherry bounce. After partaking freely of this, the selling of lots again commenced, with better success. The services of John Shriven were dispensed with, and T. J. Bull, of Loudonville, mounted a chestnut stump, which stood about the place now occupied by the town fountain. The first lot was bid off by David Richmond, a shoemaker, for $75. At the close of the day, a mere fraction of the land which at noon had been offered for $300, had been sold for more than twice that amount. Mr. Cox should have understood pioneer nature better than to have attempted anything in those days without the aid of whisky. As evidence of this, Dr. William Bushnell says they attempted once to raise a log barn without whisky, but it could not be done ; and the Doctor, then a boy, was sent to the distillery near Uniontown (Ashland) for a jug of the precious beverage. On this trip, the Doctor became lost in the woods, and was compelled to lay out over night, with the wolves for companions.

The post office at Hayes Cross Roads was established in January, 1827. Mr. Cox was Postmaster, and held the office until 1841. John Wilson was the first mail-carrier.

Hayesville is now a pleasant village of three or four hundred people. There are several good stores, and the society is excellent.



Excerpts from:



Richland County, Ohio History: INDEX

Richland County, Ohio History: EARLY SETTLEMENTS -- CHAPTER XXIV.

Richland County, Ohio History: VERMILLION TOWNSHIP -- Chapter LXXlll


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