A glance at a county map of Ohio would seem to indicate that Springfield Township geographically should form a part of Carroll County, if much attention were paid to symmetry, as it appears as a projection of Jefferson into the other county, consisting of three rows of nine sections each, and one additional row of three sections lying directly west of Salem and Ross Townships, bounded on the north by Columbiana County, on the south by Harrison, and on the west by Carroll. It was the first civil township carved out of the original five and was set off by the county commissioners on December 6, 1804. It then included Brush Creek, Ross and half of Salem Township, about one-seventh of Harrison County and half of Carroll, large enough to make a small county in itself. The first election was held at the house of David Lyon in East Springfield, commonly called Gillis settlement. The creation of other townships in Jefferson County naturally reduced the size of Springfield, and when Carroll County was organized in 1813 it was proposed to incorporate the township into that county, but the people in the eastern sections protested, and it was left in its present form attached to Jefferson. Wolf and Lick Runs and Elk Fork of Yellow Creek drain the southern part of the township, the middle and northern parts being drained by the middle and north fork of Yellow Creek. The township is rugged but has good farms, while the coal and limestone have caused a large development, especially in the western and northern parts. It is claimed that the first salt made on yellow Creek was manufactured in this township by Philip Burgett and John Tucker. While out hunting they found a spring of salt water, and procuring a kettle the boiled enough to make about three bushels of salt. This was a great boon as salt had to be brought for a great distance and was very expensive. Solomon Miller, from Fayette County, Pennsylvania, was the first settler (1800) within the lines of the township as now constituted. He took up Section 10 and made improvements, but being unable to pay for an entire section, and nothing less could be entered, he was dispossessed, and this section was entered in 1802 by Henry Miser. He began anew, however, on Section 11. Stewart McClave settled on Section 7 in 1801, and was the grandfather of John McClave, Esq., of the Jefferson Bar. Following these came John Stutz, Joseph Gordon, Jacob Springer, Thomas Peterson, James Albaugh, James Ruttledge, James Allman, Henry Isongle, Robert Young, Adley Calhoun, William Jenkins, James Campbell, S. Dorance and others.
The rugged character of the country brought settlers slowly, and the deep, dark ravines furnished convenient lairs for wild animals, after they had retired pretty generally from other parts of the county. John Kirk, who came here about 1813, related that wolves would approach within a few steps of the farm houses and make night hideous with their howlings. One evening after dark as he was coming home he heard a noise in a thicket, and started his dogs in that direction. A pack of wolves started up, and the pursuers became the pursued. He reached his cabin, which fortunately was close, but never found a trace of the dog, which was evidently devoured by his wild projenitors [sic]. At another time when coming up the Long run branch of Yellow Creek he heard what appeared to be cries of a woman in distress. But they did not deceive him and he crept stealthily into a fence corner. Directly a large panther appeared and passed so near him that he could hear its strong breathing. It passed by without discovering him, possibly because he was on the windward side. Full details of the Morgan raid in this township are given elsewhere, and this was about the only event in recent years to disturb the even tenor of events, until later, railroad and coal development imparted new life to affairs.
For many years after Springfield township was created it could claim no town or village within its borders as finally defined. In 1828 David Johnston laid out a small fragmentary village on the western side at the junction of Lick run and Yellow Creek, which he named Amsterdam.
In 1850 it had a population of 168,which in 1870 had fallen to 89, when it disappeared from the census. The town was incorporated in November 20, 1903, when the petitioners gave the population at 600. The cause of this increase was the advent of the L. E. A. & W. Railroad and the opening of coal mines, which gave the town a veritable boom. The People's Banking company was organized with a capital stock of $15,000, but whose statement of Sept. 1, 1909, shows resources of $150,122.45. the individual deposits subject to check were $68,689.90; demand certificates, $1,575,93; and time certificates, $56,585.70, making a total of $127,390.76. George G. Hess is cashier. Nothing could better indicate the change from an insignificant rural hamlet to a bustling business community. A $25,000 hotel was started but the project ran out of funds before the foundation was completed. Paved streets were next in order, and arrangements were made to put down a fire brick pavement on the main thoroughfare. This condition of affairs naturally brought in its train a number of local industries, including the Cattrell planing mill and machine shops, Hess & Company's flour and feed mill, Myers & Cretser's saw mill, Workman & Son, carriage makers, most of which are still in operation. A Masonic Lodge was organized, and there has been added recently a branch of the Improved Order of Red Men.
The immunity which Jefferson County enjoyed from any serious mine disaster for over forty years was broken on the night of Thursday, April 21, 1910, at Amsterdam on the western border of the county. The night shift of the Youghiogeny and Ohio mine, consisting of twenty-five men, had been at work but a short time when, about 9:30 o'clock, an explosion occurred, which shook the entire surrounding country. Seven men, more or less injured, succeeded in escaping from the mine, while eighteen of their comrades were entombed. Rescuing parties were promptly organized but they were greatly hampered by the poisonous gas with which the mine was filled .As one corpse after another was brought to the surface the conviction became general that all of the eighteen left in the mine had perished. But the rescuers continued their work, and at 1 a. m. on Saturday reached the back part of the mine, where Melio Porcella, Paul Tobacco and H. Benedict were found in a semi-conscious condition. They were brought out and revived. The other fifteen were all dead, some of the bodies being blown to fragments. Somebody had doubtless ignited the deadly fire damp with a naked night [sic]. Three of the victims were taken to Dillonvale for services in the Roman Catholic Church there.
The other twelve were buried in Amsterdam cemetery on Sunday in one big grave. Services were held by Rev. R. L. Houston, of the Presbyterian Church, and Rev. Sullivan, of the M. E. Church, at East Springfield.
]The survivors of the disaster were: Ed Jones, night boss; Tom Smith, Lee Dewdz, Boss Scott, John Golder, Joe ZimDsk,, John Sonter, Melio Porcilla, Louis Benedict, H. Benedict.
The dead were: Joe Zempedros, Robert McMasters, Herbert Hays, Paul Roscoe, Andy Rosco, Joe Jacob, Charles Howarth, James Lockhart, Ed Tarcia, Lewis Jacomillio, Lewis Colaker, Joe Daring, John Daring, Reed Dealocko, Joe Debola.
Up in the northern end of the county on Yellow Creek John C. Allman located the hamlet of Nebo, where were built a flour mill owned by Mr. Allen, a small store later kept by William Ruddicks, a postoffice and three of four dwellings. By 1876 the postoffice had disappeared, only the mill and store kept a semblance of life about the place. But a little railroad, the Lake Erie, Alliance & Southern, was creeping down that way, and coal operators and speculators were at work. A large mine was opened on the opposite side of the creek named after Mrs. Bergholz, one of the owners. The railroad after passing varied financial stringencies [sic] was extended through the territory to Amsterdam and Dillonvale, and on October 24, 1883, James Kelly, Morin J. Hess and Christiana Hess platted a town on the opposite side of the creek, containing 156 lots 60x100 feet, and called it Bergholz. In 1906 forty additional lots were made, and the town was incorporated on August 6 of that year. Old Nebo was absorbed and the petitioners gave the number of inhabitants in the new town at 1,200. Ham Saltsman started a wagon maker shop and the Bergholz State Bank was organized with a capital of $15,000. The last statement, September 1, 1909, showed resources $121,563.36 and aggregate deposits $101,941.48. A. G. McBane is cashier.
Wolf Run is a streamlet having its source in the range of hills upon which East Springfield is built (most of the old interior towns were built on ridge roads) and makes its way by a meandering northwest course to Yellow Creek. The extensive coal field on the western side of the county having extended across this run, a mine was opened about a mile and a half from East Springfield, around which grew up a hamlet lively in more sense than one. It has never gotten beyond that stage.
Schools and Churches.
As may be supposed from the character of the country and small population, records of early schools in Springfield Township are practically non-existent. No doubt those living on the east side found accommodations at East Springfield, and it is probable there was a school at Amsterdam soon after that village was platted. As soon as the township was generally settled school districts were formed and the educational standard brought up to what it had been in the older communities. The rapid increase of population at Amsterdam and Bergholz in recent years caused those two communities to be set off as special school districts. The former has a good six-room school house costing $8,000 and Bergholz has a four-room building costing $4,000. The other school houses in the township are located in Section 5, Davidson farm; 22, Thompson; 1, McIntyre; 5, Hess; 6, Elliott; 9, Elk Fork; 17, Griffith.
What was known as Rutledge M. E. Church was organized in 1809 by Rev. William Knox. The usual meetings were held for awhile in private houses but soon after the organization the erection of a hewn log structure was begun, each man contributing a certain number of days' labor, so there was very little cash outlay. The charter members included James Rutledge, wife and children, John, William, James, Edward, Simeon and Jane; John Kirk and wife, W. Taylor and wife, William Scarlot, wife and children, William, George, Richard, Mary and Ann; Alexander Johnston and wife and daughters, Hettie and Rachel; Francis Johnston and wife, James and Henry Forster and wives. The old log church was used for twenty years when a larger structure of frame took its place. At this time Robert Young and Thomas Rutledge gave half an acre each for church and burying ground, which was deeded to John Kirk, W. Taylor and William Rugledge, trustees. About 1850 the name was changed to Circle Green, the congregation at one time having one hundred members. Fire destroyed the second building, and in 1877 a third structure was erected at a cost of $1,200. It was formerly in the East Springfield circuit with Amsterdam, Mooretown and Salem, but in 1908 Mooretown and Circle Green were transferred to Bergholz circuit.
Amsterdam M. E. Church was organized about 1840, and for many years the congregation was small, but it has grown with the increase of population. A new church was built here about 1888-9.
An M. E. Church was organized at Bergholz about eighteen years since, which was first served from Wintersville and Harlem, but in 1907 it was set off as a circuit, to which Mooretown was added the next year. Among the earlier supplies were Rev. Thomas Taylor, Thomas Hansom and Samuel Lowrie. E. M. Hughgart was the stated minister in 1907-8, and d. F. Norris, 1909. A neat frame building was erected about twenty years ago.
Amsterdam Presbyterian Church was organized and a building erected in 1840, which has been in use ever since. Bergholz Presbyterian Church was organized about a year after the town was laid out. Rev. Homer Sheely was among the first pastors .
The United Presbyterian Church of Bergholz was organized about eighteen years ago by Rev. H. Y. Leeper, who served it in connection with Yellow Creek until July 8, 1902. W. C. Work acted as supply for one year when Rev. J. Walter Liggitt took charge in connection with Yellow Creek Church until 1908, when he came to Steubenville.]
A Disciple Church started about 1903 made the fourth religious society in the town.
It may be noted here that Gen. James M. Shackleford who commanded the Union forces during the Morgan raid through this township in 1863, died September 7, 1909, at his summer home near Port Huron, Mich., aged eighty-two.
Nebo or Bergholz Presbyterian congregation is served by Rev. Frank Bozard. (pages 527-530)
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