Alexander Township

ALEXANDER, one of the four townships into which the county was divided on its organization,originally included the territory which now forms eleven townships, viz : Bedford, Scipio and Columbia townships of Meigs county; Vinton, Clinton, Madison, Elk and Knox of Vinton county; and Lee, Lodi and Alexander of Athens county. Its territorial extent was the same as that of Ames and just twice that of Athens. The township was located and surveyed in 1795. Athens and Alexander being the "college townships," were generally spoken of in connection, and, as Alexander lay South of Athens, it was for a long time familiarly designated as "Southtown." Among the residents of Alexander as early as 1805 were Robert Ross, William Gabriel, Amos Thompson, Enos Thompson, Edward Martin, Isaac Stanley, John, Jonathan, Joseph, Thomas and Isaac Brooks, Matthew Haning, Thomas and John Armstrong, Jared, Israel and Martin Bobo, Caleb Merritt, Joel Lowther, Michael Bowers, William Strond, Esquire Bowman, Abner Smith, Charles and Isaiah Shepherd, Thomas Sharp, and Richard and William Reeves. The population of the township in 1820 was 854; in 1830 it was 882; in 1840 it was 1,451 ; in 1850 it was 1,735; .in 1860 it was 1875. *Hebbardsville, pleasantly situated in the western part of the township, is the principal center of population.

Jeremiah Clements and Israel Bobo, noted as hunters in the early settlement of the county, killed in one season sixty-five bears in one neighborhood, included in the site of the present town of Hebbardsville. The same men were fond of whisky, and, to get a supply, took a horse-load of bear skins to the Ohio river and traded for a barrel of the desired article. The next difficulty was how to get it home. They finally cut two poles from the forest and formed a sort of drag to be drawn by the horse, the largest ends of the poles resting on the ground. The barrel of whisky was then secured between the poles and thus dragged through the woods to Alexander township, where they lived. This was the first barrel of whisky ever brought into Alexander. In after years the use of it became common and greatly the fashion, but at the present time it is not kept for sale at any place in the township.

In Alexander the Methodists were, as usual, the pioneer church. At a very early day they built a meeting house at "Centre Stake," and the Presbyterians not long after built one near the site of the present Cumberland Presbyterian church. There are now in the township three Methodist churches, three Free Will Baptist, one Old School Presbyterian and one Cumberland Presbyterian. Near the latter church is located the principal cemetery in the township, which is being tastefully improved.

Pleasanton, situated in the eastern part of the township, on the road between Athens and Pomeroy, is a thrifty settlement, containing about twenty-five families. Simon Pierce built the first house here about 1817. Other settlers located here from time to time, and in 1851 a post office was established and the place called Pleasanton. *Hebbardsville is the spelling adopted by the Post office Department at Washington, and used in the official records

The early records of the township were destroyed by fire in the house of John McKee in 1827 or 1828, but as nearly as can be ascertained the first trustees were Caleb Merritt, John Brooks, and Thomas Sharp, and Caleb Merritt the first justice of the peace.

Township Trustees since 1829
1829Ziba Lindley, Sen.Samuel McKeeNicholas Misner.
1830Ziba Lindley, Sen.Samuel McKeeElias N. Nichols.
1831Ziba Lindley, Jun.Samuel McKeeElias N. Nichols.
1832Samuel EarhartAsa StearnsBenjamin Parks, Jun.
1833Samuel EarhartJohn V. BrownBenjamin Parks, Jun.
1834Ziba Lindley, Jun.Jesse M. MahonBenjamin Parks. Jun.
1835Ziba Lindley, Jun.John BrooksSamuel Earhart.
1836Daniel DudleyAmi CondeArchelaus T. Clark.
1837Samuel EarhartJohn Brooks, Jun.Archelaus Stanley.
1838Wm. B. ReynoldsJohn Brooks, Jun.Franklin Burnham.
1839Wm. B. ReynoldsJohn Brooks, JunFranklin Burnham.
1840Jobn RickeyPeter MorseJohn W. Drake.
1841Franklin BurnhamJohn GreyA. Love.
1842Franklin BurnhamJ. H. BrooksA. Love.
1843J. W. DrakeZiba Lindley, Jun.A. Love.
1844J. W. DrakeZiba Lindley, Jun.A. Burtnett.
1845J. W. DrakeMoses PattersonA. Burtnett.
1846George BeanDaniel TetersA. Burtnett.
1847George BeanJohn H. BrooksAbram McVey.
1848Archelaus StanleyJohn H. BrooksAbram McVey.
1849James S. HawkA. G. HendersonWilliam Wood.
1850John RickeyJoseph W. BlackwoodJohn W. Drake.
1851John RickeyGeorge BeanWilliam Wood.
1852John RickeyFranklin BurnhamWilliam Wood.
1853Daniel TetersPeter LongWilliam Wood.
1855Alexander LoveJames H. MartinAbram Coe.
1856Alexander LoveJames H. MartinWilliam Campbell.
1857Moses PattersonWilliam WoodWilliam Campbell.
1858Moses PattersonIsaac StanleyGeorge W. Sams.
1859E. N. BlakeJohn RickeyGeorge W. Sams.
1860E. N. NicholsJohn RickeyGeorge W. Sams.
1861E. N. BlakeJohn RickeyGeorge W. Sams.
1862E. N. BlakeJohn RickeyGeorge W. Sams.
1863E. N. BlakeIsaiah BeanIsaac Brooks, Jun.
1864E. N. BlakeIsaiah BeanIsaac Stanley, Jun.
1865B. RickeyIsaiah BeanPeter Long.
1866B. RickeyIsaiah BeanHomer Chase.
1867S. B. BlakeIsaiah BeanP. G. Hibbard.
1868Samuel BlakeIsaiah BeanWilliam Bean.
Justices of the Peace
1829Ami Conde, J. M. Gorsline.
1831Samuel McKee.
1832J. M. Gorsline, Alfred Dunlap, Samuel Earhart.
1834Josiah Wilson.
1835William Golden.
1837Josiah Wilson.
1838William Golden.
1849Franklin Burnham.
1850John Camp, Joseph W. Blackwood.
1852Franklin Burnham.
1853John Camp, Joseph W. Blackwood.
1854Joseph McPherson, George Adair.
1855Daniel Drake.
1857Joseph McPherson, A. S. Coc.
1858Daniel Drake.
1860James Strite, L. Oliver.
1861L. C. Crouch, Wm. B. Dickerson, A. S. Coe, A. C. Murphy, S. H. Kinney.
1863Leven Oliver.
1864Wm. Watson, Amos C. Murphy.
1866Leven Oliver.
1867Wm. Watson, Amos C. Murphy.
1868Peter Vorhes.

Personal and Biographical

Thomas Armstrong, born April 2, 1777, in Greene county, Pennsylvania, came to Athens county in 1799, and settled in Alexander township, where his son, Elmer Armstrong; now lives. Mrs. Alice Armstrong, wife of Thomas, was also a native of Greene county, Pennsylvania, and daughter of Col. Wm. Crawford, who served creditably in the revolutionary and Indian wars.

In March, 1799, Mr. Armstrong and wife, with their first child, then three months old, accompanied by Charles Harper, wife and child, put their movable goods, consisting in part of furniture, live stock, etc., and forty young apple trees, into a flatboat at the mouth of Muddy creek, on the Monongahela river, and set out for the northwestern territory. Landing at the mouth of the Hockhocking, in April 1799, the women and children, and live stock, were sent forward from this point by land to Athens, while the goods, provisions, etc., were poled up the river by Messrs. Armstrong and Harper in a pirogue. There was no road from Athens to Alexander (their destination), but the woods being tolerably open, they made "a rig" from poles, to which a horse was hitched, and thus their goods were hauled out. Provisions were scarce, and the new settlers depended mainly on hunting for meat, and on the skins of the wild animals, which the men very generally used, for clothes. Mr. Armstrong himself was never much of a hunter, but frequently received a share of the meat and skins for packing the game home for the hunters on his horse. The manner of packing bears and deer was to take the entrails out, skin the nose of the animal for a crupper for the horse, place the skin on the back of the horse, tying the skin of the fore-legs around his breast; then put on a second one, with the two flesh sides together. Buffalo skins were cut in strips and used for bed cords, and for harness "tugs" in hauling. On one occasion, Mrs. Armstrong saw the dogs pursue a deer on to the ice in the creek, near the house, when, there being no man at hand, she hastened down with an ax and butcher's knife, and, the deer being helpleSs on the ice, killed it with the ax and cut its throat with the knife. The skin of this deer was dressed, made into gloves by Mrs. A., and sent to her friends in Pennsylvania.

In her youth, Mrs. Armstrong spent some time in a fort, which was on her father's farm, near Carmichaeltown, Pennsylvania. During that period the Indians were peaceable, and, for a time, committed no hostilities. But, one Sabbath morning, the Reverend John Corbley, a Baptist minister, started to church, a short distance from the fort, and, when returning to the house for something which had been forgotten, he and the family were furiously set upon by Indians. The savages instantly killed the wife and babe, and scalped the two daughters. Mr. Corbley and two boys made their escape into the fort. Col. Crawford immediately went with a party in pursuit. He did not overtake the Indians, but found the woman and child dead, and the two girls yet alive. They were carried into the fort, their wounds dressed, and both recovered, married, and raised families, and a daughter of one of them is now living in St. Mary's, Ohio.

In the summer of 1799, Mr. Armstrong prepared to erect a substantial log house on his place. On such occasions, the settlers from far and near were expected to assemble and aid in the labor. It was also an occasion of much mirth and good feeling; the slender news of the settlement was discussed, and there was a general interchange of neighborly offices. Among others who came to assist Mr. Armstrong at his "raising" were John Thompson, then a prominent citizen of the township, but long since dead, and Wm. Gabriel, Matthew Haning, and Thomas Jones, who settled in Alexander in 1798 and 1799.

Mr. Armstrong was for several years lister of taxes in Alexander, and collector of college rents. He was also Sheriff of the county, and held other positions of trust in the community. He died October 22, 1853.

Elmer Armstrong, youngest son of the preceding, was born in Alexander township, January 17, 1812, and now lives on the farm which his father settled upon in 1799. One of the apple trees, brought from Pennsylvania by his father in 1799, and planted on the place that year, is still living—measures seven feet seven and a half inches in circumference, and rarely failS to bear a good annual crop of apples. Mr. Armstrong married the daughter of Levi Booth, formerly of Alexander, and has one son and two daughters. He has for many years been well known as a prosperous farmer and successful dealer in live stock.

Samuel L. Blake, born in Middletown, Middlesex county, Connecticut, in 1779, removed in 1816 to Alexander township, where he lived the rest of his life. He was a thorough farmer, a man of excellent character and sound judgment, and assisted largely in molding the society of the township. He died March 16, 1859, leaving a large number of descendants, some of whom are well known in the county.

A large family of Hibbards, originally from Vermont, came to Athens county at an early day. Elisha and John in 1816, Alanson and Elias and their sister Pamela (afterwards Mrs. Sabinus Rice), in 1817, and Dr. James S. Hibbard in 1823. The Rev. Ebenezer Hibbard, eldest brother of this family, who was pastor of a church in Vermont forty years, came to Alexander township in 1831, and settled at Hebbardsville, giving his name, slightly altered, to the village. He preached in this neighborhood some time, and then removed to Amesville and preached there till his death in 1835.

Capt. Amos Northrop, born in Litchfield county, Connecticut, December 19, 1796, came to this county in the autumn of 1814, and ultimately settled in Alexander township, where he still resides in the town of Hebbardsville. In early life Capt. Northrop developed some military taste, He served in the war of 1812, and, after coming to this county, was captain of the militia for several years. He is now deputy sheriff of the county, and also coroner, which last position he has held for a number of years. Though in his seventy-third year he is an active and efficient man.

William Sickles, born in Pennsylvania, May 1st, 1802, came to Athens county in 1805, with his father's family, and settled on the Thomas Grim farm in Waterloo. After two years they removed to Alexander and settled on the Peter Long farm, where they lived about twenty- three years, and afterwards several years again in Waterloo. When a young man Mr. Sickles has killed as many as five deer in one day. In one autumn he killed in the aggregate forty-nine deer. Joseph Bobo, of Lodi, and Abram Gabriel each killed in that season the same number—forty-nine. He remembers when there was but one house on the road between Alexander and the present town of Jackson, then called Scioto Salt Works. He has ground a great many bushels of corn in a hand mill made of two stones; the upper one revolved on the lower by means of a short handle let into the edge.

In the year 1817 John M. Chase, a native of Danville, Maine, moved to the county, and settled as a farmer in Alexander township, where he resided till his death in 1860. Of his family two sons and four daughters are now living in this and the adjoining county of Meigs.

Gardiner F. Chase, his son, born in Danville, Maine, in 1811, came to Alexander in 1817, and now lives on the farm on which his father settled in that year.

William Gorsline, born on Long Island, New York, in 1755, came to Athens county and settled in Alexander township in 1817. He brought with him a family of three sons and three daughters, of whom only one (Mr. J. M. Gorsline, of Lee township) survives. Mr. Gorsline was a man of fine intelligence. He died July 7th, 1825.

Abram and Jacob McVey, brothers, came to Athens from Washington county, Pennsylvania, in 1832, and settled in Alexander township. Some of their descendants are still living in the county.

About the same time a large emigration from Washington and Greene counties, Pennsylvania, came to Athens and settled mostly in Alexander. Among them were Joseph Post, Moses, William and John Patterson and their families, Jacob and David Cook, Dennis Drake, Peter Vorhes and family, of whom five sons are living in the county, John Gray, Elijah Brown and his sons Henry and Jerry, Lawrence Blakeway, Cephas and Zenas DeCamp, John Winget, Joseph Barmore, William Russell, David Pierce, John Cowan, John Brownlee, Ziba Lindley, Sen., and family, Elisha Jolly, William E.. Bane, Absalom Conkey, John Clutter, Daniel Espy, Solomon Leighty, Amzi Axtell, Edward Fletcher, Samuel Lively, William Hoaglan, Abram Enlow, Joseph Parker, Ludlow Squires, Hezekiah Topping, and Henry Carey. They formed a valuable class of citizens, distinguished for thrift and taste in the management of farms, stock, etc.

Source: History of Athens County, Ohio and Incidentally of the Ohio Land Company and the First Settlement of the State at Marietta with personal and biographical sketches of the early Settlers, narratives of pioneer adventures, etc, Charles M. Walker, published in Cincinnati, Ohio by Robert Clarke & Co., 1869

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