Guernsey County Ohio GenWeb Project
OHGenWeb Project
USGenWeb Project

Portrait and Biographical Record of
Guernsey County, Ohio

Chicago: C.O. Owen & Co., 1895

Scanned, transcribed, proofed, formatted, and indexed by Scott R. C. Anderson

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so named by Robert Atkinson, John Hedge, Paul Dewit and others, who had removed into the locality from the east side of the Ohio River, some miles above Wheeling. The township at its organization included the territory now forming Liberty Township, and the place of election was the old Gibson residence, on the east bank of Wills Creek, opposite the present village of Liberty. How long this continued cannot now be determined, as the Commissioners' journal does not show when Liberty Township was organized; but April 8, 1819, it was ordered that the south row of sections in the third township and third range be stricken off Wheeling Township and attached to Cambridge. The organization of Liberty must have taken place some time between the date last named and the 3d of December, 1822, as on the latter date it was ordered that the south row of sections in the fourth township and third range be stricken from Wheeling and attached to Liberty Township.

The first settler was Robert Atkinson, who settled on section 21, but somebody from Belmont County, Ohio, entered the quarter-section before Atkinson, whereupon he moved across Wills Creek and located on a part of the same section. At this time his only neighbor was a man by the name of Bird, who had located at the big spring where John Booth afterward lived, and where he had built a shanty and cleared off a small piece of ground; this was eight miles distant and is across the line in Tuscarawas County. This man Bird had no family and less principle, as the sequel well shows. Atkinson's wife died while thus living, and Bird and some Indians living in huts along the creek bottom helped him to bury her; and then Atkinson got Bird to take care of his property while he went back to Virginia for another wife. During his absence Bird took a canoe which Atkinson kept in the small creek, filled it with the most valuable goods taken from Atkinson's cabin, then passed down the stream into Wills Creek, thence into the Muskingum River and disappeared, never being heard of after passing Zanesville. Hence the stream is called Bird's Run to this day.

In 1806 William Gibson settled on Wills Creek, three miles above. In 1807 came Philip Shoff, from

Maryland, Edward Wilson and Joseph Cowgill from Belmont County, also seven families from Yellow Creek, in Jefferson County, namely, William Maple, Thomas Dennis and Thomas Fuller and his four sons, and the settlement was called Fullerton for many years.

In 1810 three families came from Virginia, as follows: Paul Dewitt, who settled on section 19; John Hedge on section 11, and Abraham Furney on section 9. At this time the eastern end of the township was a dense wilderness. A number of Indians hunted and fished along the streams and lived in huts. They left about the time of the breaking out of the War of 1812, when they became fearful of the whites.

In 1814 the settlements were but few, and, with the exceptions already named, were confined to the valleys along Wills Creek and Bird's Run, and consisted of the Atkinsons, Hedges, Fullers, Furneys and others.

One of the early weddings was that of John Gibson and Hannah Douglass in 1815.

Until 1815 or 1816 land could not be taken up in less than quarter-sections, but about that time it was surveyed into half and half-quarter sections, when settlements began to be made along the ridges.

The first school established in the township was near to what is now Bridgeville. The next was known as Bell's, on the ridge near where an old graveyard may now be seen.

The first church organization in the township was by the Baptists in 1820. It was near Bridgeville, and the first preachers were Rev. John Meek and Rev. William Spencer, from somewhere on the Muskingum River.



Oxford Township was organized in 1810, but there is no record until 1813. The following is a verbatim copy of the first entry:

"At a township meatin held on the 5th of April, 1813, in Oxford township, guernsey county, state of Ohio, at the house of David Wherrys, for the

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