The three townships of Washington, Plaingrove and Scott formerly existed as one-Slippery Rock Township, in Mercer County. When, in 1849, that county was divided and a portion of it assigned to the new county of Lawrence the township was called North Slippery Rock on account of the adjoining township in Beaver County, also set off as a part of Lawrence County, being called Slippery Rock. North Slippery Rock was cut in two April 13, 1854, and two townships formed from it, viz. Washington and Scott. Washington included the northern portion of the old township and Scott the southern, and North Slippery Rock Township ceased to exist. February 14, 1855, the eastern portions of both Washington and Scott were taken off and a new township erected, called Plain Grove (now often written Plaingrove). On the 15th of February, 1859, the shape of the several townships was finally settled by enlarging Washington on the east by the addition of a strip three-fourths of a mile in width from Plaingrove, and another strip on the south half a mile in width taken from Scott. This left Washington Township as it is at present, containing about 10,800 acres, or sixteen and seven-eighths square miles.
The township presents a surface little broken by hills or cut up by streams and contains abundance of fine farming lands. It is exclusively agricultural in its character and is in a highly improved condition, bearing witness to the energy and industry of its inhabitants, from the first who entered the wilderness as pioneers to the present generation.
Neshannock Creek flows across the northwest corner of the township, and just as it enters Wilmington Township receives the mingled waters of several smaller streams or "runs" which have their sources in Washington Township.
In the southern part of the township Hettenbaugh Run, or East Brook, has its principal source at a fine spring on the Michael Jordan farm, and is also fed from numerous other springs in the vicinity. It flows in a southerly course until it gets into Scott Township.
A portion of the village of Volant is in the northwest corner of the township, on the small strip which lies west of the Neshannock Creek. The Western New York and Pennsylvania Railway is built along the west bank of the creek and has about half a mile of track in the township.
Coal underlies the township to some extent, but is not worked within its limits. A fine quality is mined just across the line, in Scott Township, and the vein very probably reaches far into Washington.
Iron ore, of the blue quality, abounds along Neshannock Creek, but at present is not worked in the township. It is so hard and contains comparatively so small a percentage of iron that it is not manufactured as extensively as the softer ores, although furnaces formerly were in operation for working it, one at Neshannock Falls, in Wilmington Township, having run for some ten or twelve years, getting its supply of ore along the creek.
Probably the first white settler in the township was George Hettenbaugh, originally from Germany, who came in 1797 and settled on the farm later owned by George and Michael Jordan. He was accompanied by two sons, Michael and George. Hettenbaugh Run takes its name from this family, who settled at its source.
The same year the Hettenbaughs settled a number of families came to the township and located in the immediate neighborhood.
Alexander Anderson came to America from Ireland about 1789-90. Some time during the year 1797 he came to what is now Washington Township and settled the farm now owned by his descendants, the Tottens. James and John Smith came the same year (1797) from the Chartiers Valley. James Sharp and family came about the same time and settled in the same neighborhood, as did also Mr. McLaughlin, who located on the farm later owned by Jonathan Bonny. Dennis McConnell was also of that period, coming perhaps a little later. Joseph Campbell came with the first settlers and settled near the Henry Jordan farm. He became quite prominent in after years.
William Michaels came in early and made some improvements on a place, but owing to the fact that he had no title to the land he was obliged to leave it. A few years after, or in the spring of 1802, Robert Mason located on the same farm.
Henry Jordan, Sr., came to the township with his wife and eight children in the fall 1802 from York County, Pennsylvania, and bought for one dollar and seventy-five cents per acre 200 acres of land, one-hundred of which his son Henry lately owned. In January, 1803, Michael Jordan, who latterly lived on a part of the old Hettenbaugh farm, was born.
Kinzie Daniels came from New Jersey about 1805-6 and located southwest of the Jordans. Samuel Brown, father of Solomon Brown, came from Lancaster County some time between 1805 and 1810 and settled in Beaver County.
About the year 1828 Robert Donley came to the township from Westmoreland County and settled on the farm later owned by John Donley. He was originally from Ireland, and though arriving at such a late day was the first white settler on the 100-acre tract which he bought and located upon in the northeast part of the present township of Washington.
William Martin came from Ireland and settled in Washington Township about 1818-20, purchasing 200 acres of land of a Mr. McClurg.
The first settler on the Samuel Collins place was Robert Collins, who bought the land of Thomas Astley and Enoch Marvin in 1837 and made the first improvements on it.
Adam Grim came from the foot of Laurel Hill, in Fayette County, first to Washington County, where he staid three or four years, and afterwards to Washington Township, Lawrence County, in the month of July, 1814, or 1815.
Revolutionary Soldiers.-Henry Jordan, Sr., settled in 1802, had served during the Revolution, and was the only one among the settlers of the township who took part in that struggle, as far as we have been able to ascertain, although it is possible there were others.
Of The Soldiers Of 1812 the number is greater. Henry Jordan enlisted in the fall of 1812 for six months, and went with Captain John Junkin's company, the "Mercer Blues," to Fort Meigs, or rather through by way of Mansfield and other points to Sandusky and the Maumee River, or "Miami of the Lakes," where he helped build Fort Meigs. Mr. Jordan was the last surviving member of the original "Mercer Blues." Mr. Jordan's time expired some time during the spring of 1813, and he was afterwards out three times to Erie. His three brothers, John, Nathaniel and George, were also out at Erie, and John Jordan died at Black Rock in the winter
of 1813. Samuel Anderson, a son of Alexander Anderson, was out in 1813 to Erie.
War Of The Rebellion. In the four years from 1861 to 1865 Washington Township was also well represented and sent many of her sons to the front. The Regiment represented principally by Lawrence County men was the One Hundredth or "Roundhead" Regiment, commanded by Colonel Daniel Leasure, of New Castle, and a large number from Washington Township joined this regiment. Other regiments had representatives from this township, but to a small extent.
A Seceder Church was organized, and a frame building erected on the Martin farm about 1835-6. Rev. Mr. Boyd was probably the first preacher who had charge of the society. The church lot and cemetery were both taken from the farm of William Martin, and included an acre of ground. The cemetery is still in use and well cared for. Meetings have not been held for many years, and there is now no church building in the township, the one built having long since passed out of existence.
Schoolhouses in the pioneer days were built by voluntary subscriptions and the schools carried on by the same means. A schoolhouse was built in the fall of 1803 on the Jordan farm, of logs. The first teacher was Joseph Campbell, one of the earlier settlers of the township. The school consisted of from twenty-five to forty pupils, many of whom came a distance of several miles to attend. This was the first schoolhouse and the first school within the present limits of the township. Mr. Jordan donated the land it stood on. The next building for school purposes was erected on land donated by Kinzie Daniels about 1807-8. John Mitchell was the first teacher. A third schoolhouse was put up not long afterwards on the Robert Mason farm.
These three buildings were the first ones erected in the township, and were in use for a number of years.
There are now five substantial school buildings in the township, some of them frame structures and the others built of brick. They are comfortable and neat, well equipped throughout, and the school work has been maintained at a high standard by competent instructors. There are five teachers, who in 1908 were paid $1,520, and there is an enrollment of 102 in the schools.