ROME was formed from a portion of the township of Troy in 1811. The first entry on the subject, in the records of the county commissioners, is as follows:
"Thursday, April 4, 1811.—Ordered by the commissioners, That so much of the township of Troy as is contained in the original surveyed townships, numbered 5 and 6, in the 11th range, and 6 in the 12th range, be erected into a new township by the name of Rome.
"Ordered by the commissioners, That their clerk notify the inhabitants of the township of Rome to meet at the house of Amos Crippen, in said township, on Saturday the 20th instant, for the purpose of electing township officers."
But no election was held under this order, and, on the 4th of June ensuing, the commissioners
"Ordered, That the boundaries of the township of Rome be as follows, to wit: beginning at the soutwest corner of township No. 6 in the 12th range, thence east on the township line until it intersects the river Hockhocking, thence up said river until it intersects the range line between the 11th and 12th rangers, thence on said range line (being the line between the counties of Athens and Washington) to the south boundary of Ames township, thence west on said township line to the township of Athens, thence south to the place of beginning, and that the remainder of the township Rome be and is hereby attached to the township of Troy. [This refers to the previous order of April 4th.]
"Ordered by the commissioners, That their clerk notify, by advertisement, the inhabitants of the township of Rome to meet at the house of Daniel Stewart, on Saturday, the 15th instant, for the purpose of electing township officers."
The only change that has since been made in these boundaries, was by an act of legislature, passed February 10, 1814, which detached sections 31 and 32, township 6, range 11, from Washington county, and added them to Rome, thus taking in the strip east of the Hockhocking, and causing the offset at the southeast corner of the township.
The population of Rome in 1820 was 497; in 1830 it was 522; in 1840 it was 852; in 1850 it was 1309; in 1860 it was 1581.
The first township treasurer in Rome was Amos Crippen, elected in 1811. Then followed in succession
George Barrows, Daniel Stewart, Hopson Beebe, David Chapman, Charles Beebe, John Johnson, John M Perry, Peter Beebe, Sydney S Beebe, Guy Barrows, James Starr, Hiram Stewart, Daniel B Stewart, and B.F. Johnson
Sucessive Justice of the Peace:
Elijah Hatch, Daniel Stewart, James Crippen, Elmer Rowell, John Thompson, Thomas Welch, Joseph Mitchell, C.C. Beard, Joshua Calvert, H.S. Butts, D.D. Cross, Timothy F Jones, Thomas Grosvenor, Abraham Parrill, Heman Frost, Elam Frost, R.A. Fulton, S.S. Beebe.
|Township Trustees since 1811|
|1811||Job Ruter||Elijah Hatch||James Crippen|
|1812||Daniel Stewart||George Barrows||John Thompson|
|1813||Elijah Rowell||James Crippen||John Thompson|
|1814||Daniel Stewart||James Crippen||Joshua Selby|
|1815||Daniel Stewart||James Crippen||William Barrows|
|1816||Daniel Stewart||Elijah Hatch||Joshua Selby|
|1817||James Crippen||John Thompson||Henry Barrows|
|1818-19||James Crippen||Archelaus Stewart||Henry Barrows|
|1820||James Crippen||Archelaus Stewart||Daniel Stewart|
|1821||James Crippen||John Thompson||Daniel Stewart|
|1822||Elijah Hatch||Joshua Selby||Daniel Stewart|
|1823||James Crippen||Elijah Rowell||Archelaus Stewart|
|1824||William S. Doan||Joshua Selby||Henry Barrows|
|1825||Daniel Stewart||Elijah Dalbey||Peter Beebe|
|1826||Daniel Stewart||Elijah Dalbey||James Crippen|
|1827||Daniel Stewart||Josephus Butts||Joshua Selby|
|1828||John Thompson||Josephus Butts||Joshua Selby|
|1829||John Johnson||Josephus Butts||Joshua Selby|
|1830||John Thompson||Josephus Butts||Daniel D Cross|
|1831||John Johnson||Josephus Butts||Joseph Mitchell|
|1832||William S. Doan||James E Hatch||Joseph Mitchell|
|1833-34||Levi Stewart||James E Hatch||Joseph Mitchell|
|1835||Alexander Stewart||James E Hatch|
|1836||Joseph Mitchell||James E Hatch||Peter Beebe|
|1837||Joseph Mitchell||S.T. Richarson||George Warren|
|1838||James E Hatch||Joshua Calvert||George Warren|
|1839||Peter Beebe||Wilson Selby||Wm P Doan|
|1840-41||Peter Beebe||Joseph Mitchell||Levi Stewart|
|1842||Daniel B Stewart||William Mitchell||Nelson Cook|
|1843||William P Doan||William Crippen||B.F. Johnson|
|1844||Peter Grosvenor||William R Winner||Joseph Mitchell|
|1845||Peter Grosvenor||Levi Stewart||Joseph Mitchell|
|1846||D B Stewart||William Simmons||B.F. Johnson|
|1847||D B Stewart||William Simmons||Abraham Parrill|
|1848||Elmer Rowell||Artemus S. Crippen||Levi Stewart|
|1849||Elmer Rowell||Peter Grosvenor||Levi Stewart|
|1850||Nelson Cook||Peter Grosvenor||Connell Roberts|
|1851||Nelson Cook||Peter Grosvenor||T.F. Jones|
|1852||Levi Stewart||Peter Grosvenor||W.R. Winner|
|1853-55||Elmer Rowell||D B Stewart||Wilson Selby|
|1856||T.R. Rider||Perry Barrows||Harvey Pierce|
|1857||T.R. Rider||Voltaire Barrows||Harvey Pierce|
|1858||Josephus Tucker||Perry Barrows||Elmer Rowell|
|1859||James Rice||Herman Frost||Artemus Buckley|
|1860-61||James Rice||Josephus Tucker||W.L. Petty|
|1862||A.S. Crippen||Artemus Buckley||G.S. Simpson|
|1863||A.S. Crippen||P.W. Boyles||James Cross|
|1864||Blanford Cook||P.W. Boyles||James Cross|
|1865||Blanford Cook||P.W. Boyles||J.W. Johnson|
|1866||Blanford Cook||Joseph Patterson||Harvey Pierce|
|1867-68||Blanford Cook||Amos Patterson||Robert Bean|
|1849||Sydney S Beebe|
|1856-57||Charles H Grosvenor|
|1867-68||George M Ross|
The Methodist church was planted in this township at a very early day. Daniel and Archelaus
Stewart were the first to move in the matter of forming a society here. About two years later [after arriving in 1802] Daniel Stewart rode twenty miles to meet the Rev. Jacob Young, who was then on the Marietta circuit, and engaged him to visit Rome township. Mr. Young came according to promise.
William Pilcher, Job Ruter, Eliphalet Case, Elijah Rowell, and their wives, were among the earliest members of the society thus formed by "Father Young." The Methodists now have three neat and substantial church buildings in the township, where services are held regularly. One of the first ministers who preached in the township, was the Rev. Cyrus Paulk, jr., who preached in 1803, and, thereafter, regularly for many years. He was a "Calvinist Baptist." There is one Baptist and one United Bretheren church in Rome.
The first school house in the township, a log structure sixteen feet square, was built in 1804, on the east bank of Federal creek, about two hundred yards below the bridge and near the mouth of the creek. Abraham Richards was the first teacher, and Mrs. Polly Driggs, a daughter of Ebenezer Barrows, was the next. The school was supported by subscription, and was the center of a school district about five mile in diameter. There are now eleven school houses in the township, each with ample accomodations for forty scholars.
The "Miller seminary," owned and managed by the Rev. Amos Miller, is pleasantly located on his farm, about one mile east of Savannah, near the Hockhocking river, and three miles from the Marietta & Cincinnati Railroad. When first established, in 1841, Prof. Miller used a large room in his dwelling house as a school room. As the school increased a separate building on his farm was made use of, and, in 1859, Prof. Miller erected a handsome and convenient two-story building, in which the school has since been kept. Near cottages have been built close at hand, for the use of pupils who desire to board themselves.
The seminary will accomodate one hundred pupils. Some hundreds of youths of both sexes have been taught here, and the institution is a credit to the founder and to the county. Professor Miller has taught in Athens county at intervals, and most of the time for the last forty-two years.
At Savannah is located the "Savannah academy." This school, the management and success of which have been highly creditable to all concerned, was founded in the spring of 1867 through the efforts of some public spirited citizens of the township. Frederic Finsterwald, Peter Boyles, Vincent Caldwell, Harvey Pierce, and John Caldwell were elected the first board of trustees of the academy and have been its steady patrons and supporters. They employed Mr. George W. Boyce as principal teacher, and the school has been well patronized from the beginning. More than one hundred and forty scholars, in the aggregate, attended during the first year. The active interest in education thus manifested, and the liberal support accorded to this enterprise by the leading citizens of the neighborhood, are worthy of the highest commendation.
There is also a good school at Big Run, founded in 1866 through the voluntary contributions of the citizens. A neat and convenient school building has been erected, and the school is useful and prosperous. It is under the management at present of Miss Elizabeth Monahan.
The first grist and saw mill in the township was built in 1802 by George, Henry, and James Barrows on Federal creek, about a mile from its mouth. The mill was a log building with only a run of stones, where were made of the "Laurel hill granite" and run by a large undershot wheel. This enterprise was hailed with delight by some half dozen infants settlements, some of them distant fifteen or twenty miles. Before this the nearest mill, where wheat could be ground, was Devol's, on the Muskingum, at least forty miles distant. Many families, however, possessed that great desideratum of pioneer life, the primitive hand mill and the "hominy block." There were also a few horse mills in the county, but they were only used for grinding or, as it was called, "cracking" corn. In 1818 Reuben Farnsworth built the first mill on the Hockhocking river, within the township limits. This was one of the most solid and substantial mill structiones ever erected in the county. Farnsworth failed, and the mill passed into the hands of Peter Beebe, who afterward sold it to Thomas Welch. It was sold by Mr Welch to Cook, Crippen & Co., who are the present owners.
In 1820 the Savannah mill (grist and saw mill) was built by Ezra Stewart and his brother Charles, sons of Esquire Daniel Stewart. It has three run of stones and does a great amount of custom work. It is situated on the Hockhocking river, in the village of Savannah, about three miles from the west line of Rome township. About 1834 Alexander Stewart and George Warren built the Stewart mill (a saw mill), near Savannah; but it was soon destroyed by fire, and a large three-story grist and saw mill was erected on the site by Daniel B Stewart. In 1844 Mr Stewart connected a woolen factory with the establishment, which is now owned by Captain Charles Byron, late of the 3d regiment O. V. I. It runs four hundred and seventy spindles, has four looms, four carding machines, two spinning jacks, and a full set of fulling and dressing machinery. During the season of 1867 the mill manufactured eight thousand pounds of rulls, ten thousand pounds of yarn, and six thousand pounds of wool into cloth. The grist and saw mill are still in active operation. Two miles above Savannah are the Kincade mills built in 1842 by John and Allen Kincade, and now being rebuilt by John Kincade on an enlarged plan and in a more substantial manner. About 1854 Heman Frost—son of Abram Frost, one of the pioneers of Carthage township—built a grist and saw mill three miles below Cook & Crippen's mill; it was subsequently replaced by a saw mill, which was swept off by a high "freshet" in the spring of 1867.
In 1808 the first bridge in the township was built over Federal creek, near its mouth, by Elijah Hatch, and in 1818 a second one was built at the same place. Both were clumsy structures, and neither of them very permanent. In 1842 a great superior bridge was erected by Peter Beebe, Isaac Jackson being the architect; it was at first a toll bridge but is now free. About the year 1851 or 1852, a bridge was built over Federal creek near the mouth of Big Run but was soon swept away; another has since been erected on the same site. The bridge at Savannah was built about ten years ago, the funds being supplied partly by the county and partly by subscription. Another has been built over the Hockhocking about two miles below Savannah, the funds being raised in the same manner.
A singular evidence of the enterprising spirit of the early settlers is afforded by the fact that in 1811 a seagoing vessel was built in Rome township, a mile below the mouth of Federal creek on the south bank of the Hockhocking. She was launched and taken to New Orleans in the spring of 1812. The vessel was built by Captain Caleb Bartow, from Providence, Rhode Island and was called The Enterprise.
Elections, musters, and house raisings were in early times events of special interest. Plenty of good cheer abounded on such occasions, and boisterous frolicking, with the roughest sort of practical jokes, was the order of the day.
When war was declared in 1812 Athens county was called on for a company of infantry to consist of fifty men. To raise these the militia regiment, then commanded by Colonel Edmund Dorr, was summoned together and volunteers called for. The quota was filled in a few minutes by voluntering, and of the fifty men, nearly one-fifth were from Rome township, and all of these from the school district of which the old school house was the center. Their names were James Crippen, Peter Beebe, Thaddeus Crippen, Ebenezer Hatch, Charles Stewart, William Starr, Andrew Stewart, John Wickham, and Daniel Muncie. Subsequently, when the company was enlarged to sixty, Rome sent one more volunteer, George Driggs, and he was the only survivor of the whole number. In 1813, when the governor of Ohio called for forty days mounted riflemen, George Barrows, Montgomery Perry, and a young man named Swann, went from Rome.
What was called "upper settlement" of Rome township was formed in the year 1808 by Joshua Selby, John Thompson, Robert Calvert, and Jonathan Simmons, from Virginia, and Richard, George, and James Simmons from Pennsylvania. They were all good citizens. IN 1810 or 1811 Christopher Herrold, one of the pioneers of Ames township, settled in Rome. He was a Pennsylvania German and a man of enterprise and thrift. He afterward removed to Dover.
Between 1800 and 1810 the township received a number of good settlers. John Johnson and father on the Hockhocking opposite Federal creek; Job Ruter, with his sons Martin and Calvin, on the river about two miles above Federal creek; and about the same time came Nathan Connor, Rev. Moses Osborn, the Calverts, the Thompsons, the Selbys, and the Mitchells, all of whom settled on the river. Most of these came from Virginia. Also prominent among the early settlers were Abraham Sharp, who gave his name to Sharp's run and Sharp's fork of Federal creek; Francis Munn, a revolutionary soldier, Archibald Dorough, Thomas Richardson, Dr. Seth Driggs, the Hewitts, Jeremiah Conant, Wm. Pilcher, Aaron Orm, Thomas Swan, Aaron Butts, Eli Catlin, Daniel Anderson, a lieutenant in the revolutionary army, David Chapman, and Enos Thompson, a Methodist preacher.
William T Hatch, son of Elijah Hatch, was the first male child born in the township, and his sister Harriet, the late Mrs Hill, is said to have been the first female. Mrs Elijah Hatch, mother of Judge Hatch, was the firt person who died
David Dailey — The first person who settled in what is now Rome township
Elijah Hatch — settled in Rome township in the year 1800. He was appointed judge of the court of common pleas by Governor Tiffin, in 1805; served nine terms in the state legislature; and was one of the first two justices of the peace in the township
Elijah Rowell — In 1811 he migrated from Massachusetts with his little family to Rome township
Elmer Rowell — Son of Elijah Rowell, one of the few surviving pioneers of this period. he was a teacher and farmer. Has filled all the township offices and the office of county commissioner
Eliphalet Case — came to Rome township with his family in 1808
Joseph Wickham — English deserter during the Revolution; settled in rome in 1805
Timothy Jones — moved to Ohio after his wife died, he was near fifty in age, and remarried. He is a lawyer and also a graduate in medicine. During the revolutionary war he obtained the first premium, offered by the legislature of Massachusetts, for the manufacture of saltpeter
Leonard Fewett — 1804 or 1805 settled at the mouth of Federal creek. He sold out very soon to Mr. John Johnson and removed to Athens
John Johnson — purchased a fine tract of land at the mouth of Federal creek which lay chiefly on the south side of the Hockhocking from Leonard Fewett
Daniel Stewart — revolutionary war soldier; emigration to the northwestern territory October 1802 where he settled on a fine tract of land on the river about a mile above the mouth of Federal creek. He was one of the first two justices of the peace in the township; county commissioner for many years; appraiser of the college lands and member of the Methodist church
Daniel B Stewart — son of Daniel Stewart; mill owner manager and Justice of the Peace
Alexander Stedman — settled in Rome township in 1804, having previously lived for nearly two years at Athens
Eli Stedman — son of Alexander Stedman
Levi Stedman — son of Alexander Stedman
Amos Miller — only son of Judge Abel Miller; born in Canaan twp, lived in Athens, removed to Rome twp in 1840
Captain Hopson Beebe — a revolutionary war soldier; settled in Rome township in 1804
Charles Beebe — son of Capt Hopson Beebe; resided on the "old farm" until quite recently
William Beebe — son of Capt Hopson Beebe; surgeon; settled in Belpre
Peter Beebe — son of Capt Hopson Beebe; business man and township trustee
Thomas Welch — a mill owner and farmer; removed from the northern part of the state and settled in Rome township in 1826
Peter Grosvenor — brother of Thomas, settled in Rome township in May 1838
Daniel A Grosvenor — son of Peter, served in the Union army in the war of the rebellion
Edward Grosvenor — son of Peter, served in the Union army in the war of the rebellion
John M Grosvenor — son of Peter, served in the Union army in the war of the rebellion
Thomas Grosvenor — a brother of Peter, settled near him in 1839
William S. Doan — came to Athens county in 1813, and settled in Rome about 1820