Knox township, named after the first secretary of war, was one of the original five into which Jefferson County was divided, its boundary beginning at the northeast corner of Steubenville Township (Island Creek); thence west to the western boundary of the county; thence with the county line until it strikes the line of Columbiana County; thence east with the line of Columbiana County to the Ohio river; thence with the meandering of the river to the place of beginning. Two justices; election at the house of Henry Pittenger. This took in all the northern end of Jefferson County, including the present townships of Saline, Brush Creek, Ross and part of Springfield. It is now composed of twenty-four sections of Township 13, of Range 2, and seven fractional sections of Township4, Range 1. It is drained on the north by Hollow Rock and Carter's Run, on the east by Jeremy's and Croxton's Runs, and on the west by town Fork of Yellow Creek. Like the other townships fronting on the river, the eastern portion is very rugged, becoming less so towards the west. The limestone soil is good, and the township rich in fire clays, coal and formerly timber, white oak prevailing. Its territory is historic and was the scene of many a struggle between settler and Indian. James Alexander, who came in 1796, was one of the first, if not the first, white settler in the present township. Isaac White came in 1798, James McCoy in 1799, Baltzer Culp at New Somerset in 1800, and there were Thomas McLean, John Edminston, Charles Watt, Robert McClellan, James Alexander, George Culp, John Bray, Martin Swickard and others of whom we have no record. Michael Myers, Sr., settled on the west bank of the Ohio below the month of Croxton's Run in 1800, and John Johnson settled on Jeremy's Run in 1801. Michael Myers established a ferry opposite Gamble's Run, and built a large stone house on the Ohio side, where he kept a hotel for at least forty years. As already intimated, Myers had a previous reputation as a scout and Indian fighter. As early as 1774 he had killed two Indians on Carter's Run, at the present intersection of the roads from Knoxville and New Somerset to the Hollow Rock camp meeting grounds. This was shortly after he had aided Cresap to kill the two Indians in a canoe through the machinations of Dr. Connelly, the British agent at Fort Pitt, who was anxious to embroil the colonists with the redskins to check the rising spirit of independence, thus bringing on the Dunmore War. In a statement made by Myers in 1850, he gave an account of the affray to Lyman C. Draper, he then being about 105 years of age, but in full possession of his mental faculty. In May 1774, he crossed the Ohio river to a point near the mouth of Yellow Creek, in company with two other men, for the purpose of looking at the country. They went up the creek two or three miles and stopped at a spring (Hollow rock), where they camped for the night. Having spancelled their horse they turned him loose to graze, and kindled a fire. Soon after they heard the horse's bell tinkling as though he were running rapidly. At first Myers suspected that a wolf had scared the horse, and, taking up his rifle, ran to the point of the hill, where he saw the horse standing still and an Indian stopping at his side, trying to loosen the spancels. Myers, without further investigation, shot the Indian, and as soon as he reloaded ran up the side of the hill and discovered a large number of Indians encamped. One Indian with a gun ran toward him, but kept his eyes on the horse. Myers immediately discharged his gun at the second Indian, and without knowing the result of the shot, heeled and ran toward the spring, but he found his companions had left the camp. Myers returned to the Virginia side, where he found them. The next morning several Indians crossed to Virginia and inquired at the Baker cabin (where Logan's relatives were afterwards murdered) as to who had killed the two Indians the previous evening, but Greathouse (by whose name the Baker cabin is often called to this day) would not permit any one to give the Indians the least satisfaction. This, of course, added fuel to the fire. The encampment discovered by Myers, no doubt, was a part of the Logan camp. Myers always claimed that he was one of the party firing on the boatload of Indians who crossed the river to investigate the murder of Logan's people. The scene of this incident was very near the place where Henry Pittenger afterward settled--where Rev. William Pittenger, author of "Daring and Suffering," one of the most thrilling narratives of the Civil War, was born, and within a mile of Sugar Grove Methodist Episcopal Church, in whose graveyard are buried the remains of one of the historically noted men of this county. The grave is marked by a very pretentious marble stone:
Died August 11, 1852, aged 107 years
Soldier, rest, thy warfare o'er;
Dream of battlefields no more.
All thy conflicts now are past;
To thy home thou'rt gone at last.
The remains of Katherine Stickler, his wife, are at his side, Mrs. Myers having died in 1861, at the age of ninety-six years. A son, William Myers, died in Toronto, April 19, 1899, aged eighty-eight years, and his wife, Cynthia Myers, died two months later. The Myers estate possesses the very venerable long rifle which did much execution in the hands of its owner. This rifle is a prototype of the weapon used not only by the Indian fighters, but by the riflemen who won distinction in the Revolutionary War. This weapon was unknown in what was, and what is now, called the "tidewater" regions, where the inaccurate musket and shotgun were employed. The long rifle was brought to the Pennsylvania frontier by the Swiss Germans, and of course found its way to Virginia, and Carolinas; and the bold men of the mold of Myers who ventured into the Indian country previous to the Revolutionary War, coming, as they did, from Pennsylvania or the Virginia Valley (including Maryland), had this most effective arm. While the long rifle was very heavy, the physical training of the pathfinders enabled them to handle it as readily as the light breechloader of today. The great advantage of the rifle to the pioneer was its accuracy, thus saving ammunition, which was of vast importance. Even the young sons of the pioneers learned to bring in a piece of game for each bullet discharged so unerring was the aim demanded. This was the effective weapon which gave the Americans more than one victory in the Revolutionary War. The Myers rifle, which was called "Limber Jennie," is six feet in length.
The ancestor of the McClellan family, Robert McClellan, a cousin of Robert, the noted scout who was with Wayne, was among the first settlers of Knox Township, coming from Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, in 1808. Descendants still occupy the land.
On Monday, April 3, 1802, the electors of the township met at the house of Henry Pittenger, at which James Pritchard was chosen chairman, and the following officers elected; Township clerk, John Sloane; overseers of the poor, Thomas Robertson, Jacob Nessley; trustees, William Campbell, Isaac White, Jonathon West; fence viewers, Peter Pugh, Henry Cooper, Alexander Campbell; appraisers of houses, John Johnston, J. P. McMillan; lister of taxable property, Isaac West; supervisors of roads, John Robertson, Calvin Moorehead, Richard Jackman; constable, Joseph Reed. On April 4, 1803, sixty-four voters being present, an election was held, Sloan was re-elected clerk; trustees, William Stokes, Thomas Bay (who was with Williamson at Gnadenhutten, and a squatter on Yellow Creek territory in 1785), and Henry Pittenger; fence viewers, Joseph Reed, William Campbell, William Sloan; appraisers of houses, Robert Partridge, Thomas Robertson; lister of taxable property, Isaac West; supervisors of roads, Peter Pugh, James Latimer; constable, David Williamson; justices, J. L. Wilson, James Ball.
In dividing the county into civil townships little or no attention was paid to the township surveyed lines, Smithfield Wayne, Cross Creek and Salem being the only civil townships identical with those numbered by the government surveys, and consequently several of the civil townships embraced fractional parts of the numbered townships.
As already indicated, Toronto, as first laid out, was entirely within the boundaries of Knox Township, occupying the southern corner. New Somerset, however, is the oldest hamlet in the township It is in the northwest corner of the township and was laid out by Baltzer Culp in February, 1816. The lots were 60x150 feet and the streets fifty feet wide. It never grew yond [sic] the proportions of a hamlet, showing a population of seventy-seven in 1870, the only year it obtained separate mention in the census reports, and is no larger now. Knoxville, in the center of the township, was laid out by Henry Boyle in March, 1816, with lots 60x120 and the main street sixty feet wide. Located back from the railroad, like New Somerset, it has remained stationary, showing 168 inhabitants in 1850, 131 in 1860, and 165 in 1870. Like New Somerset, the only public buildings in the town are the churches mentioned below.
When we came down to the river front, a different state of thins exists, and we find a recent development of marked activity. Three miles above the Toronto railway station stands the village of Empire, an old settlement, but a young town, which has had a greater variety of names than any other place in the county. It is located at the mouth of Jeremy's Run, the origin of whose name is forgotten. In 1821, Alexander Stewart, Sr., bought from a man named Buttenburg all that part of Empire lying above Stewart Street, while Lewis K. McCoy subsequently, through a lucky investment in a lottery ticket, secured a large tract on the south side. A fine grove of sugar maples furnished one of the most famous camps in the county, and when this was cleared away the place was called Stumptown. Capt. James Young, a sailor, came here in 1850, bringing with him a collection of Shanghai chickens, probably the first in the county, from which the little took the name Shanghai. His house stood close to the present C. & P. depot, and was surrounded by a spacious yard, but was moved east a short distance, when the railroad came, and has since been extensively altered. W. Stanley occupied it as a dwelling, followed by Abraham Peters as a tavern keeper, in 1855. The town was called Olive City for a while, in honor of the youngest daughter of Lewis K. McCoy, who afterwards laid out the place. Capt. James Young kept the first store and Alexander Zook had the first blacksmith shop. Reference has been made to an early boatyard operated by Frank Shane, and a sawmill owned by Moses Campbell. The fall of 1856 brought the Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railroad, and for some reason the railway officials, not fancying the name Shanghai, or perhaps desiring to compliment McCoy, who had given them a right of way through his property, named the station after him. The next year Mr. McCoy laid out a town with lots 50x100 feet and streets sixty feet wide, which was afterwards made an election precinct, under the old name Shanghai. Samuel Henry was the first to build on the new town plat. The introduction of fire brick making brought business to the place, and it being also the railway station for New Cumberland and the territory across the river, made it a place of some importance, but its marked growth came after 1885, mainly as a result of the establishment of the Empire sewer pipe plant. That company offered the town sufficient bricks to erect a public building on condition that it be renamed Empire City. This suited the people, and steps were taken to incorporate it into a hamlet under that name, with the following officers: Trustees, Samuel P. Berry, president, A. P. Culp and B. Whitcomb; clerk and treasurer, James Stone, Jr.; marshal, Henry Chambers. The hamlet first appears in the census of 1890 with a population of 441, which had increased to 509 in 1900. The increasing population calling for advancement from hamlet to village, on December 4, 1896, a petition was presented to the trustees asking that this be accomplished. An election held on December 26 resulted favorably, and on June 7, 1897, the secretary of state officially proclaimed Empire as a village, the word "city" being dropped. The first village officers elected on april 4, 1899, were as follows: Mayor, E. S. Minor; councilmen, M. O. Gillespie, George Knisely, T. R. Griffith, Frank Culp, E. H. Vandyke, H. H. Beardsmore; treasurer, James Stone; clerk, F. W. Stone; marshal, Gus Whitcomb. Mayor Minor was succeeded by Birch Whitcomb, and he by Thomas Griffith, the present incumbent. The present population of the place is about 800. Immediately above Empire is the flourishing suburb of Ekeyville, laid out and named by James Ekey about twenty-two years ago. It has a population of about 400 people, and there has been more or less talk of consolidating it with Empire. A feature of the latter place is the neat municipal building in a small park full of flowers and shrubbery, the ground being the gift of Mr. McCoy.
Previous to 1862 the residents of this place had to go to Port Homer, two miles above, for their mail and it is not so very many years when they, as well as the Sloane's people voted at Knoxville, three miles distant. In the year named, however, a post office was established here and named McCoy's to, to correspond to the railway station. Prior to the opening of the railroad Shanghai was a relay station for stages carrying the mail, but this does not seem to have given any postal facilities. John Atkinson was the first postmaster, but enlisting during the War of the Rebellion, he was killed in battle and was succeeded by his deputy, M. O. Peters. Mr. Peters, after a long service, was succeeded by Mrs. L. S. Atkinson, widow of the first postmaster, who served until early in 1899, when she was succeeded by George Johnson, who, in turn, was succeeded by Pharaoh Bell and R. Whitcomb, the present incumbent. When the name of the town was changed to Empire, the post office and railroad station were changed to correspond, so that uniformity now prevails. Between here and Toronto are the hamlets of Calumet and Freeman's.
There were numerous thrilling incidents at Shanghai during the "dark and bloody days" of its early history, but the occurrence which attracted more attention than any other, owing to the prominence of the parties, was the shooting of Joseph McDonald by Lewis K. McCoy on Saturday evening, April 6, 1867, at 6:30 o'clock. There had been an old feud between the parties, and on the day named McDonald, who was a resident of New Cumberland, across the river, had been to Steubenville on business. He started for home on the C. & P. evening train, and when it arrived at Shanghai McCoy was there with a carbine. McDonald started towards the ferry landing but had not gone far when some words ensued, and McCoy fired his gun, killing McDonald almost instantly. He at once surrendered to the authorities, and was tried for murder in the first degree at the November term of court following. The best legal talent, both local and foreign, was engaged in his behalf. The trial lasted a week, and the jury, after an all night session, brought in a verdict of murder in the second degree. McCoy was sentenced to life imprisonment, but was pardoned a few years after, and lived quietly at home until his death. He had been a wealthy man, but the expense of his trial and subsequent mismanagement dissipated most of his fortune. It is worth noting that notwithstanding some of the happenings at Shanghai and Newburg during their earlier history these hamlets became among the most law-abiding places in the county with a population above the average type; a position they have since maintained. Empire was one of the first places in the county to be voted "dry."
Fraternal orders have been represented in Empire by Knights of Pythias No. 352, Heptasoph Conclave No. 184, and Junior American Mechanics No. 38.
Schools and Churches.
School was held at Sugar Grove about 1800, but records of pioneer schools are scarce. There was also a school at Shelly's farm near Osage about the same time, and there is a graveyard here supposed to be older than the school. The first schoolhouse at Empire was built in 1858, Casterman Quinn being the teacher. The village now has two good school buildings with six rooms, one of which is the high school. At Knoxville there is a good two-story frame building, containing, with one exception, the only township high school in the county. The other schools are located as follows: Section two, Warren farm; seven, Campbell; ten, Berry; nineteen, Shelly; twenty-one, Edminston; thirty-four, Yellow Creek. Also a large school at Ekeyville.
Sugar Grove M. E. church justly claims to be the pioneer religious organization of the township. It stands very near the Saline Township line, four miles below the mouth of Yellow Creek, and two miles from Empire. The society was organized by James B. and John Finley between 1800 and 1802, the first class including Jacob Nessley, Randall Hale, John Hale, Charles, Hale, James Pritchard, Nathan Shaw, Joseph Elliott, Benjamin Elliott, Robert Maxwell, John Sapp, John Clinton, Jacob Buttenberg and John Herrington, with Charles Hale as leader. The first services were held in a house of round logs, 20x25 feet, which in a few years was replaced by a hewn log building, 25x30. This was burned in 1841, and replaced by the brick structure still standing. The burying ground which was in use before the church was built is one of the oldest in the county, and contains the graves of numerous pioneers whose records have been obliterated. Many of the stones have sunk beneath the surface, and have themselves become entombed while vegetation flourishes luxuriantly above. Preachers were supplied from New Somerset and Knoxville.
One of the oldest religious organizations not only in the township but in the county is the good Hope Lutheran Church at Bowling Green or Osage in Section twenty-five. It was organized by Rev. John Stanch, a Lutheran missionary, on September 12, 1806. For six years he looked after the Germans of that locality, preaching in their own language from house to house, and had thirty-five baptisms and thirty-five confirmations. He was succeeded by Rev. John Rheinhart, another traveling missionary, in 1812, preaching from house to house for four years, this charge being part of quite a large circuit which he supplied. In 1816 the sum of $371.25 was raised with which a frame church was built on the present site, among the early communicants being the Reinharts, Stonebrakers, Easterdays, Grimes, Smiths, Culps, and others. Rev. Rheinhart remained until 1836, the preaching meanwhile being changed from German to English, and was succeeded by Rev. James Manning, who also had charges at Jefferson, Annapolis and Yellow Creek. Rev. Alexander Pope served from 1838 to 1848 and was succeeded by Rev. Amos Bartholomew, and he in turn by Rev. J. Sparks in 1849, who remained ten years. In 1852 a new church was built, costing $500. The old building was dragged to an adjoining lot and used for awhile as a stable. The new one was placed on the same foundation, and with some alterations still stands. Mr. Manning returned in 1859, but the Civil war coming on he seems to have been too ardent to suit some of his congregation, so he did not remain long. Rev. J. Singer served from 1865 to 1867, when there was a vacancy for eleven years, during which time Rev. J. K. Melhorn and others acted as temporary supplies. While rev. Dr. Geberding was in charge of Jewett congregation he proposed separating Bowling Green and Bethel from Salem and Jefferson, which was done, and on June 30, 1878, Rev. A. H. Kennard accepted the double charge, the services being held partly in German and partly in English. He left in 1882 and Rev. J. N. Wolfly supplied the next year. Rev. c. S. Halloway was installed July 1, 1884, and left October 7, 1886. The congregation at Bethel or Yellow Creek had become so small that services were abandoned, and the church was used for a number of years by a UnionSunday School, which also died out, and the building is now an abandoned wreck, with Mr. And Mrs. J. Culp sole survivors of the congregation. On March 1, 1887, Osage was united with Annapolis, but shortly after was transferred to Jewett. Rev. J. F. Booker served two years, then Rev. Kimerer supplied until Rev. O. Reber took charge December 14, 1890, and remained until 1892. Supplies were furnished until 1903 when Mr. Groff, a student of the Chicago seminary, held regular services; Rev. Methorn in 1905, and J. J. Myers the next year. C. E. Read, from the seminary, served the next year and into 1907, and received a permanent call in the spring of 1908, taking charge on may 31. He alsohas a mission at Wellsville, and the the two places now have regular services. The centennial of the church ws observed September 10-12, 1906, by a meeting of the Western Conference of the Pittsburgh Synod and a general reunion with a most interesting programme.
The Knoxville M. E. Church started in 1830 with services in a schoolhouse, Henry Cooper, class leader. Shortly they removed to an unfinished brick building occupied by the Presbyterians. The building ws destroyed by a storm, when services were discontinued, but were revived in 1857, using a house built by the joint efforts of the Methodists, Presbyterians and United Presbyterians. Differences arose, ending in a lawsuit, and the building was abandoned. The Methodists then built a frame church, 32x53 feet, which ha since been occupied when there were services, which have been irregular.
New Somerset M. E. Church was organized by Rev. Joshua Monroe about 1836, J. B. Finley probably preaching the first sermon. The original class was composed of Mary Hartman, Susan Hartman, Catherine Saltsman, Martin, Jane, Philip and Delila Saltsman, Solomon Hartman, William and Hannah Barcus. A schoolhouse was used for a place of worship until the building of a frame church, 30x40 feet. It is at the north end of the village, fourteen miles from Steubenville. The first ministers were Joshua Monroe, John Minor, Dr. Adams, Philip Green, David Merryman, Simon Lock, Harry Bradshaw, J. C. Kent, Thomas Winstanly, Walter Athy, George McCaska, William Divinna, Edward Taylor, william Knox, A. H. Thomas, Samuel Longden, J. E. McGaw, J. Shearer, William Tipton, S. F. Minor, Theophilus Nean, Chester Morrison, George Crook and R. L. Miller. After them came R. Boyd, W. H. Tibbetts and John Chrisman in 1856-7; John Wright, J. F. Nessley, 1858-9; J. M. Bray, S. N. Nesbitt, T. M. Stevens, 1860-62; P. K. McCue, J. Hollingshead, 1863; W. S. Blackburn, 1864-5; S. H. McCall, W. B. Grace, R. M. Freshwater, 1866-8; G. D. Kinner, J. R. Keys, 1869-71; J. Q. A. Miller, 1872; G. W. Dennis, 1873-5; A. J. Lane, 1876; J. H. Rodgers, 1878; J. E. Hollister, 1878; F. Huddleson, 1886-8; M. J. Ingram, 1889; since supplied from other points.
Rev. Samuel Taggart and John Donaldson organized the Knoxville United Presbyterian Church in 1837 with seventeen members. Isaac grafton, Samuel White and Gilead Chapman were chosen ruling elders, and Dr. Watt, J. Stokes and Isaac Grafton, trustees. Rev. Wm. Larrimer became pastor on April 1, 1838, and continued until 1848, when he was succeeded by rev. C. Campbell, who remained until 1854. Rev. J. H. Peacock took charge in September, 1859, and remained until April, 1867. On July 1, 1871, Rev. J. B. Borland began serving it along with his Richmond charge until 1887. It ws separated in 1888 and was served by J. W. Best to 1891; J. B. Goudy, 1894-8; L. L. Gray, 1898-1906; R. B. Fulton, 1907-9, and now by R. A. Kingan. The present church edifice was erected in 1875 at a cost of $3,600 and was dedicated by Rev. S. J. Stewart, of Steubenville. It is a fram building, 32x48 feet.
The Disciples Church of New Somerset was organized September 19, 1840, by Elder John Jackman, with the following members; Joseph Marshall and wife, Matthias Swickard and wife, G. H. Puntius and wife, Daniel Householder and wife, John Billman and wife, Hannah Leatherberry, Jeanette McGhee, Emily Coffman and Mary Householder. The first officers were Joseph Marshall, G. H. Puntious [sic] and Matthias Swickard, elders; and Daniel and Peter Householder, deacons. Chas. E. Von Vorhis was the first regular preacher at $37.50 for one-fourth of his time. His immediate successors were John Jackman, Marlow Martin, Eli Regal, Cornelius Finney, Thomas Dyal, J. M. Thomas, J. D. White, Mason Terry, J. A. Wilson, Robert Atherton, D. O.Thomas, A. Skidman, M. P. Hayden and others. A brick church, 28x40 feet, was erected in 1841, which was replaced by a larger structure about 1890.
Although Rev. J. M. Bray held M. E. services at Empire many years ago the Methodist Protestants had the first organization, Rev. F. A. Brown having formed a class in June, 1873, composed of James Stone and wife, Levi Henry and wife, M. O. Peters and wife, Geo. H. Hinkle and wife, Bernard Herron and wife, John Adams and wife, Margaret Mushrush, Letitia Atkinson, Nancy J. and Elizabeth Hinkle, Lena Bell, Jennie Wherry, Nancy Maxwell and Wm. H. Jones. Trustees, J. C. Maxwell, Bernard Herron, Geo. H. Mushrush, James Stone, John Adams, M. O. Peters and Wm. Jones. A frame church was erected, 32x50 feet, and dedicated December 28, 1873. The first pastors were F. A. Brown, J. B. McCormick and John Daker; later, Rev. J. W. Rice.
The M. E. congregation organized about 1890 and built a neat frame church, holding 300 people. It is served in connection with sugar Grove. The recorded pastors are S. B. Salmon, 1893-5; H. F. Patterson, 1896-9; A. H. Loomis, 1900; N. B. Stewart, 1901-2; W. W. Burton, 1904-5; C. E. King, 1906-7; Ellwood D. Scott, 1908-9.
There is a good sized congregation of Free Methodists at Ekeyville, which meets in McGaffrick's Hall.
Reference has already been made to tunnel mill, one of the old landmarks in the northwest corner of Knox Township. The tunnel by which this mill was fed was dug in the year 1815 by Abner Moore. It is seventy yards in length, cut through a sold rock with a decline of fourteen and one-half feet, equal to about twenty-five horsepower. The creek from where the tunnel starts makes a bend in horseshoe shape of one mile, coming round and passing within thirty yards of the mill.
William Maple came to Ohio on June 15, 1797, landing on the Ohio shore at a point between Elliotsville and Empire. He emigrated from Fayette County, Pennsylvania, where he resided only a short time, coming there from Trenton, N. J., where he lived at the time of the revolution and at which place he enlisted in the American army. After coming to Ohio he settled on the hill above Port Homer. Benjamin Maple, son of William, bored one of the first salt wells in the northern part of the county, Hollow Rock run, the boring being done by spring pole, after which he started to build a mill, but sold it unfinished and then bought produce which he took down the river on a keel boat and traded for furs, which were brought back on mules and transported eastward to market. (Pages 454 - 462)
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