It is difficult to separate the first settlement of Canaan township from that of Athens, of which Canaan was originally a part. It will have been noticed that the pioneer settlements clung pretty closely to the water courses. In the absence of roads or any other means of communication, the navigable streams always decided the movements of emigration. The Hockhocking was, from all accounts, a considerably deeper stream and carried much more water seventy-five years ago than now, and was easily navigable for heavily laden barges. It thus became valuable as a means of communication and supplies, and the regions accessible by it were the first to be settled in the county. Accordingly, many of the first settlers of Athens township located within the present limits of Canaan, whose rich bottom lands proved very attractive.

The township was organized in 1819.
The first election for the township officers was held at the house of Edward Pilcher, on the first Monday of April in that year. The name of Canaan was suggested by Judge Walker, of Ames township, one of the county commissioners at this time.

The population of the township in 1820 was 356; in 1830 it was 375; in 1840 it was 800; in 1850 it was 1,142, and in 1860 it was 1,272.

Township Trustees
1819 Parker Carpenter Stephen Pilcher George Bean
1820 Martin Mansfield Stephen Pilcher George Bean
1821 Martin Mansfield Martin Boyles George Bean
1822 Parker Carpenter Martin Boyles Elijah Pilcher
1823 Martin Mansfield Andrew J. Hoskinson Samuel Warren
1824 Martin Mansfield Andrew J. Hoskinson Philip M Starr
1825 Joshua Hoskinson Stephen Pilcher John Boyles
1826 John C Carico George Boyles William Hallert
1827 Stephen Pilcher Parker Carpenter John Boyles
1828 no election-old trustees acted
1829 Stephen Pilcher Parker Carpenter Joshua Hoskinson
1830 Martin Mansfield Martin Boyles Elijah Pilcher
1831 Martin Mansfield Martin Boyles Stephen Pilcher
1832 -33 William Burch George Bean Stephen Pilcher
1834 William Burch Martin Mansfield Robert Bean
1835 Elijah Pilcher Joshua Hoskinson Robert Bean
1836 Martin Mansfield Joshua Hoskinson Frederic Wood
1837 Aaron Miller John G Bean Parker Carpenter
1838 Martin Mansfield Jacob Tedrow Parker Carpenter
1839 -40 Elijah Pilcher John Boyles John G Bean
1841 E.C. Wright Richard Poston David Jordan
1842 D.M. Pruden Richard Poston David Jordan
1843 D.M. Pruden Isaac Long David Jordan
1844 -45 D.M. Pruden G.N. Reade David Jordan
1846 Clayton Starr G.N. Reade Harrison Halbert
1847 Clayton Starr G.N. Reade D.M. Pruden
1848 William Henry N.O. Warren John Druggan
1849 David Jordan N.O. Warren John Druggan
1850 Richard Poston Peter Sams Peter Stalder
1851 A. Buckley George Mansfield Peter Stalder
1852 -53 Peter Davis David Jordan Nathan S. Pilcher
1854 Peter Davis Peter Stalder Peter Finsterwald
1855 Peter Davis Peter Stalder Peter Finch
1856 David Jordan Peter Stalder Peter Finch
1857 David Jordan Peter Stalder Peter Finsterwald
1858 Nicholas Stalder James Sams Peter Davis
1859 Nicholas Stalder Joseph Border Thomas Grosvenor
1860 -61 Nicholas Stalder Henry Finsterwald E.D. Sheridan
1862 L.D. Bean Henry Finsterwald S.L. Mohler
1863 Curtis Bean Henry Finsterwald William Burch
1864 S. McLeade Henry Finsterwald William Burch
1865 C.B. Cunningham J.W. Baird Joshua Wyatt
1866 Curtis Bean N. Warren J.W. Baird
1867 Curtis Bean N. Warren Peter Finsterwald
1868 Curtis Bean F.C. Wyatt Peter Finsterwald

Successive Justices of the Peace
1818Stephen Pilcher
1819Martin Mansfield
1820William Stewart
1822Martin Mansfield
1823Stephen Pilcher
1825William Thompson
1827Stephen Pilcher
1828William Thompson
1830Joshua Hoskinson
1831Martin Mansfield
1833John McGill
1834George Bean
1835John McGill
1837George Bean
1838Joshua Hoskinson
1840George Bean
1841George N. Reade
1843Robert Bean
1844George N. Reade
1847D.M. Pruden
1848A. Buckley
1850Nathan S Pilcher and Aaron Hull
1851Richard Poston
1853Nathan S Pilcher and Aaron Hull
1854Elijah Tucker and Thomas Grosvenor
1856Joseph Border, Charles C Pruden, and Peter Davis
1859-1865David Love and J.Warren Baird

Early Settlers [and links to their bios for more information]

William Jackson —settled near the site of the present village of New England in what is now Canaan township in 1799 after his marriage. He was a surveyor and a representative to the state legislature.

The Barrows brothers, William, George, and Henry —came to what is now Canaan township in 1791.

Joseph Simmons —settled in Canaan township in 1797.

Martin Mansfield —brother of Peter, settled in Canaan township in 1797.

Peter Mansfield —brother of Martin, settled in Canaan on Willow Creek about the same time.

Peter Boyles —settled in what is now Canaan township in 1795. He was probably the first white settler within the present county of Athens. This was the year of the treaty of Greenville, and the close of the Indian war. Athens county was the very frontier at the time, and Mr. Boyles, in settling here, took his life in his hand, for this section was by no means safe in that year from Indian outrages.

George Boyles — son of Peter Boyles, was born in Canaan township June 5, 1795. He was, beyond doubt, the first white child born in Athens county.

John Boyles —son of Peter, came to Canaan township with his father's family in 1795.

Peter W. Boyles —son of John Boyles, was born in Canaan township.

Samuel Gillett —came to Athens county in 1818, first settling in Ames, where in 1819 he established a tannery. In 1823 he removed to Canaan township, and settled on Stroud's run.

Abel Miller —came to Athens county in 1802. In 1803 he purchased in what is now Canaan township, and built a log cabin the same year. Mr. Miller served as a county surveyor, an elected justice of the peace, an associate judge and he was appointed a trustee of the Ohio university.

Captain Parker Carpenter —came to this township in 1817, and settled on a new farm a little north of the present village of New England.

Joshua Hoskinson —settled with his father's family in Canaan township in 1810. Mr Hoskinson was county commissioner twelve years, justice of the peace six years, and has held other local offices. [read more about early life in the wilderness and military on his full bio]

William Henry —came to Athens county with his father's family when sixteen years of age, married and then settled in Canaan township.

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