"Firsts" for Pike County

Contributed by Mindy Doellman
1820
Ebenezer FRABKLIN was the first Settler in Pike County. He was also the first one to cut down a tree and built the first log cabin.
Daniel SHINN brought the first wagon into the county.

1821
Col. Wm. ROSS built the first brick house, at Atlas.
The first Circuit Court was held at Cole's Grove, Oct. 1, 1821.
The first County Treasurer was Nathaniel SHAW.
Belus JONES was the county's first Constable.
The first Justices of the Peace were Ebnezer SMITH and Stephen DEWEY

1822
The first school was taught at Atlas, by John Jay ROSS.

1823
The first Court at Atlas was held on May 1, 1823.
The first 4th of July was celebrated in Atlas.

1824
The first jail was erected in Atlas.
The first courthouse within the present limits of Pike County was built at Atlas.

1826
Col Benj. BARNEY was the first blacksmith in the county and he erected his shop at Atlas.
He was the first one to burn coal which he had shipped in from Pittsburg, PA.
Col. Wm. ROSS built the first store building, grist-mill, and aband-mill all about the same time in Atlas.
Mr. MILHIZER manufactured the first whiskey distilled in the county, in 1826.

1828
James ROSS brought and used the first grain cradle here.
He also equipped and ran the first turner's lathe and cabinet shop, at Atlas.

1830's
The first Church was organized in the ROSS family at Atlas prior to 1830.
The first Church building in Pittsfield was the Congregational and built by Col. ROSS.
The first Masonic lodge was held up-stairs at the house of Col. ROSS, in Atlas between 1830 and 1834.
The first library was founded at Atlas, about 1833-34.
The first political meeting was held in Montezuma Township in 1834, when Col. ROSS, who was running for the Legislature, made a speech.

General First Events
Fielding HANKS was the first to follow tanning in Pike county.
Capt. HALE, a Baptist minister, probably organized the first Baptist church in Pike County.
Alfred BISSELL, near Hartford was the first to raise apples
The first at Pittsfield was raised by Col. Wm. ROSS.
The first State Senator elected from Pike county was Col. Wm. ROSS.
The first County Commissoners were Capt. Leonard ROSS, John SHAW and Wm. WARD.
The first County and Circuit Clerk was James W. WHITNEY.
T.L. HALL, of Detroit township, taught the first singing school, at Altas.

First Births and Deaths
The first white female,Nancy, was born to Col. Wm. ROSS on May 1, 1822, at Atlas. She died Nov. 18, 1822.
Marcellus ROSS, was the first white male born in Pike County.
The first death in the county was that of Clarendon ROSS at Atlas.
Bartholomew BARNES, was the first man to be executed in Pike County, on Dec. 29, 1871.

First Inquest
The official papers for the inquest of James McDONALD were ordered filed. (No Date was given) McDonald ran a ferry across the Mississippi river at Louisiana. It is supposed he was murdered at his landing during the winter. He was found lying dead upon the ice one day by two men on their way to Louisiana. They went to his ferry, but found him dead and evidences of a long and serve scuffle around him to suggested he had been struggling for his life in hand- to- hand combat. The tracks of the two men led from this place across to Louisiana and it was assumed they were the men who killed McDONALD, although nothing in a legal matter was ever done.