HISTORY OF FAIRFIELD COUNTY

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HISTORY OF FAIRFIELD COUNTY

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                               Chapter I.
                               GEOLOGY
     "IN the immediate valley of the Hocking, we find the modified
Drift, in the form of sand and gravel terraces," which were once great
sand flats and bars, formed by the stream when it stood from eighty to
one hundred feet higher than now. Much of the city of Lancaster is
built on such terraces. Underneath the sand and gravel, and elsewhere
in the lower grounds, we often find the blue Drift clay, containing scat-
tered boulders. In this day we obtain trunks of trees, roots, twigs, etc.,
generally of the coniferous type. They represent the vegetation which
grew in the valley, or along the hillsides, at the beginning of the Drift
era."
     It is true that Lancaster stands on this accumulation of Drift material;
and also true that trunks of trees, roots and other vegetable growths
that once flourished on the surface, are now found from thirty to seventy
feet below the surface in sinking wells, specimens which, the report
says, "grew in the valley, and along the hillsides, at the beginning of
the Drift era." How, then, is it possible to conceive the idea that the
bed of the preglacial river once stood from eighty to one hundred feet
higher than now.
     It is also true that beds of blue Drift clay, varying from two or three
to twenty or more feet in thickness, are found deep down below the 
surface on which Lancaster stands, and that in this blue clay are found
granite boulders, which are known to have come from near the Arctic
regions. Shallow strata of yellow drift clay are likewise found in the
same deposits, and the entire Hocking, as far down as the lower falls,
at Logan, presents the same evidence of accumulated Drift, with sand
and gravel terraces, the sand and gravel being foreign deposits, and
not native to the Hocking Valley or to the surface of the County,
which is almost entirely sand stone. At the falls, the bed of the stream
strikes the bed rocks. All above the falls, so far as is known, the water
flows on the bed of the Drift deposit.
     But not only the immediate valley of the Hocking, but the entire
area of the County, lies within the field of the Drift.  The Drift clays,
both the blue and the yellow, are also found in sinking wells and other
excavations in all the low lands of the County, at various depths and
of various thicknesses, but chiefly the blue. The sand and gravel ter-
racing also follows the water courses and table lands. The Drift boul-
ders are found all over the County, as well on the highest hills, as in
the low lands, and of weights varying from a few pounds to several tons.
The largest one yet discovered in the County lies partially buried in
the ground, in the corner of the enclosure near the east bank of Bald-
win's run, about two miles northeast of Lancaster. Its two principal
diameters have been estimated to be eighteen and sixteen feet. Another
of very considerable dimensions lies on the slope of Mount Pleasant,
and near its summit. They are Quartzites, Granites and Diorites, as
also of other kinds of hard rock. Some of them are exceedingly hard,
as they must have been to withstand the grinding processes they were
subjected to in floating, or perhaps rolling down from the mother beds
far to the north, and from which they were torn away by the ponderous
ice glaciers that moved down the continent, grinding and forcing their
way over rocks and mountains as they came, until, by the melting of the
ice, they were left scattered all over the face of the country. Some of
these boulders were found to be limestone; and in some localities of
sufficient quantity to be collected and broken up for the limekiln. Such
use has been made of them in Fairfield County.
     The drift clay is not found in the elevated lands, but always in the
table lands, and always below the gravel terraces, which shows it to
have been deposited by the waters before the glacial Drift set in; and
it is believed a long interval of time intervened between the two eras.
The material of which these border terraces are formed was undoubt-
edly brought down by the general Drift flood, and distributed along
the valleys and water courses in the form of deposits, merely. The
terrace planes are found mixed, however, more or less, with the wash
from the adjacent hillsides, in particular localities. The Drift beds,
from their light and gravelly make up, are usually easily drained, and
lying on the borders of water courses, for the most part, they become
eligible sites for towns and cities, many of which are built upon them.
Lancaster stands on a drift bed-all that part of it lying below the hill,
and it is more than probable that the elevation passing through the town
from north to south, and known and spoken of as the "hill," was 
entirely formed during the Drift age. It contains no ledges of sand rock,
as the hills surrounding the town do; and besides, beds of blue clay
have been found on its slopes, at great depths below the surface. In
sinking a well on the east slope, in 1862, at the depth of from forty to
seventy feet, trunks and limbs of corniferous trees were found imbedded
in the blue clay Drift. Professor Andrews, in his Geological Report for
1872 and 1874, says:
     "When we carry back the study of our surface Geology to the 
period immediately antecedent to the Drift, we find that all the leading
valleys had been eraded by the same system of surface drainage which
now exists. The general surface features of the whole State were the
same as now. The Scioto, Hocking and Licking rivers drain by their
upper waters much of the central and level portion of the State, a region
now covered with a mantle of Drift materials. They drained the same
area before the Drift.
     "The Drift period was of immense duration, and the great northern
currents, with their floating ice bergs, with loads of debris from northern
regions, would, in time, be able to cover the bottom of the shallow sea
with the materials we now find, and arranged as we now find them.



 

HISTORY OF FAIRFIELD COUNTY

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Again, what force, or vis a tergo, would have been exerted to impel the
vast glacier across the great valley of the lakes, and up and over the
high ground to the south. In all recorded movements of glaciers, the
ice is carried down slopes, so that gravity, if not positively aiding,
could not retard the movement.
     "If a glacial sheet extended into Southern Ohio, it must have passed
over the vast distance between the lakes and Hudson's Bay (now 
reported to be 1,300 feet high, which is not as high as the highest lands
of Ohio water shed, as reported by Dr. Newberry), across a general
depression in which lie the lakes, and up over the water-shed, dividing
the waters of the lakes and the Ohio river."
     There are sufficient reasons for the belief that, at a very remote
period in the past, the present bounds of Fairfield county contained a
number of small lakes, or lakelets. If lakes ever had a place here,
their existence must have antedated the Drift period. Among the local-
ities likely to have been lakes in the long ago, may be mentioned the
prairie lying immediately west of Lancaster, extending from the cross-
ing of the Logan road over the canal, south of Lancaster, embracing
the marshy grounds on the south side of the East graveyard, and ex-
tending up the Hocking as far as opposite the residence of Isaac Clay-
pool, in Greenfield township, a distance of about five miles. This was
undoubtedly once a lake, receiving at its head the waters of the two
branches of the Hocking, and with its outlet at the south end.
     The muddy prairie gives evidence of having been once a small lake,
of two or three miles in length, by a mile or so in width.
     Also the flat lying along the track of the Muskingum Valley railroad,
in the direction of Berne station, and extending perhaps as far as Bre-
men, of widths varying from a quarter of a mile to over a mile, and
with probably arms running out in the Raccoon valley, and indented by
the spurs of hills.
     There are likewise evidences of the existence of ancient lakelets
along the course of Clear creek, in the southwest part of the county;
also, in Walnut township, and in the vicinity of Carrole, in the north end
of Greenfield township. It is probable, since the entire bounds of the
county are within the Drift range, that these basins were filled with the
debris carried down from the north by the mighty flood of waters,
though thousands of years may have passed since.
     The most interesting features of Fairfield county, in a geological
regard, are those already described as being the product of the Drift
era. Beyond that, the sandstone formations demand the next consider-
ation. The sandstone of Fairfield county is the Waverly, so named
from the circumstance of its having been first quarried at that place.
The stone at Waverly is, however, of a much finer texture than that of
Fairfield, and is shipped to all parts of the State, to be used as flag-stone,
and for other purposes. Waverly is the county seat of Pike county,
and is situated on the alluvial table land of the Scioto, sixteen miles
south of Chillicothe.
     Fairfield county lies directly within the range of Waverly formations,
but the texture of the stone is different, the most of it being coarser
grained, especially those cropping out at Mount Pleasant and the ledges
along down the Hocking and its adjacent hills for a considerable

 distance back in both directions. The color of the Fairfield sandstone

varies from a clear white to yellow of different tints, some of it quite
dusky. The greater portion of it is, however, of a light yellowish hue.
Some of the formations are considerably firm in texture; others softer.
It has been found that when dressed and laid in walls, it hardens by
exposure, and it is believed it will endure the ravages of time even 
better than limestone. Fairfield sandstone is largely shipped to other
parts of the State for building purposes. The cathedral, at the corner
of Broad and Fifth streets, Columbus, is almost entirely built of Hock-
ing sandstone, and the new court-house at Lancaster is wholly of sand-
stone, quarried in sight of the building. There is sandstone sufficient
in Fairfield county to build a hundred cities.
     Some of the ledges are of great thickness, without a fissure in them.
They underlie all the hills of the southern part of the county, and crop
out from many of them, especially along Hocking quite down to the
county line. Mount Pleasant is simply an immense sand-rock from top
to bottom, and extending to an unknown depth below the surface. In
some instances the ledges extend hundreds of feet without a crack; in
some places they are cleft and fissured, and it is not uncommon to see
large masses of the solid rock detached from the main body, and pre-
cipitated down to the low lands, as if by some internal convulsions of
the earth.  There are detached fragments of all sizes, some of them
possibly amounting to hundreds and thousands of tons weight. Some
of the sandstone formations show supposed traces of iron.
     A very wonderful geological phenomenon presented itself a number
of years ago, to which the attention of the writer was called at the time.
The Lilly brothers, stone cutters, in the preparation of a large block of
yellow sandstone that had been brought from the hills south of Lancaster
to be wrought into a monument, came across an Indian flint arrow head
imbedded in the solid sandstone. The sandstone was moulded nicely
to it on all sides, so that the flint, when finally liberated, left its mould
perfect and smooth. The flint was very white, forming a sharp contrast
with the yellow sandstone in which it was imprisoned. The position
where it was found was several inches from the outside of the block.
     The stone-cutter fixed the point at which the flint was found at
about ten feet from the outside surface of the rock, as it originally 
existed before the quarry was opened.
     Two points are indisputably settled by the discovery, viz: first,
that the flint arrow point was artificially formed; and secondly, that it
was formed before the rock, no matter at what age of the world either
event occurred.
     In some of the hills about Lancaster, as also in other parts of the
county, the sandstone material is found in concrete masses in combina-
tion with gravel, sand, and clay, thus forming conglomerates of exceed-
ing hardness, and which are used for bouldering, and as foundations
for buildings. They are also found to make very strong walls for adobe
work. What has been known as "Green's Hill," and the hill upon
which the South Schoolhouse stands, are examples.  The bodies of
both hills, as far as they have been penetrated, are conglomerate, 
underlaid with deep beds of a fine quality of building sand, especially
Green's Hill.



 

HISTORY OF FAIRFIELD COUNTY

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The upper strata of the Waverly sandstone, which is known to lie
immediately below the coal measures, is found in the hills facing Rush
creek, where it passes between the two villages of Rushville. It is
finer grained than the stones at Waverly, but not sufficiently hard to be
used for building purposes. In Rush creek bank, a little below the mill
south of the village of Rushville, there is a vein of sandy shale of a
bluish hue, indicating vicinity of coal. Its thickness is ten or twelve
feet, and in it are contained moluscan fossils; but those that belong to
the Waverly formation are found in the upper strata. There is also, in
the same vicinity, a very thin stratum of coal, and rocks that usually
characterize coal beds. Beyond this there are no other evidences of
the presence of coal; nor are there within the bounds of the county, so
far as has ever been discovered, any available coal beds.
     The lower stratum of the Waverly stone appears in the margins of
the ravines at Lithopolis, in Bloom township. This specimen is 
exceedingly fine grained, and bears all the characteristics of the typical 
Waverly stone, as originally discovered. Its color is light drab, its tissue
even, and easily worked.
     Fairfield county is not known to have any coal. If there be coal
below its surface it is out of reach by the ordinary means of mining now
in use. But the near proximity of apparently inexhaustible coal fields,
and with easy and rapid facilities for transportation, it can never feel
the privation.
     The same is true of iron. So far as known there is no iron in Fair-
field county. Some of its surfaces indicate the not very remote pres-
ence of iron ore, and some specimens of sandstone show apparent
streaks of the iron tinge. Some of the fragments of rock, when lifted,
are of a greater weight than ordinary stone, which has given rise to the
belief that iron ore existed in the hills, but none has ever been found.
     The great wealth and sources of wealth of the county exist in its
vast stone quarries, and in the richness and arability of its soil, so that
in all time to come it can never fail to vie with any other interior county
of the State in the extent of its resources. Its timber, with prudent
economy and with coal for fuel-coal obtained from the Muskingum
mines, the Sunday creek mines, Perry county mines, from Shawnee,
Straitsville, and the Hocking Valley, all lying within distances ranging
from twenty-five to not exceeding thirty-five miles---places Fairfield in
a position equal, if not superior, to any interior county of the West.
     The idea is not yet wholly abandoned that lead exists in the county,
and that it will some day be discovered. The reliance, however, rests
wholly on the traditions brought down from the Indian times, the cir-
cumstances of which are written in the chapter on Indians, found in
another part of this volume.
 



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HISTORY OF FAIRFIELD COUNTY

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HISTORY OF FAIRFIELD COUNTY

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                               Chapter II.
                              TOPOLOGY

     FAIRFIELD COUNTY is bounded on the east by Perry, on the south
by Hocking, on the west by Pickaway, and on the north by Licking
counties. It is situated in the eastern part of the State, and in the
thirty-ninth degree of north latitude, its northern boundary being about
ten miles south of the fortieth degree. Its seat of government is twenty-
one miles east of the Scioto river, and twenty-one miles south of the 
National Road.  It contains fourteen townships, viz.; Clear creek,
Amanda, Bloom, Violet, Madison, Hocking, Greenfield, Liberty,
Berne, Pleasant, Walnut, Rush creek, Richland and Lancaster. Clear
creek, Amanda, Bloom and Violet form the western tier, Rush creek
and Richland lie on the east; Madison and Berne on the south, and
Violet, Liberty and Walnut make the north tier. Its outlines are irreg-
ular. Rush creek and Richland project beyond the direct south and
north range of Berne, Pleasant and Walnut, thus forming two abrupt
offsets. On the south, the direct line is notched by offsets in Madison
and Berne townships, occasioned by detaching Auburn and Perry
townships since the original formation of the county, and attaching
them to Hocking county. The west and north lines are direct, with
the exception of a notch on the west side of Violet township, formed by
detaching a tier of six sections, including the village of Winchester,
and attaching them to Franklin county. But Violet being originally an
eight-section township, its two north sections still remain bordering on
the east of the old Franklin line.
     Clear Creek, Amanda, Bloom, Rush Creek, Hocking, Greenfield
and Pleasant townships each contain thirty-six sections; Liberty, 
Walnut and Berne each forty-eight sections; Madison thirty; Richland
twenty-four, and Violet forty-two sections, thus making the area of the
county four hundred and ninety-two square miles. In making this
computation, no notice is taken of the township of Lancaster. The
dimensions of the township are two miles square, but its area was 
included in the original townships from which it was taken. The diameter
of the county, on its western line, is twenty-six miles; its east and west
diameter, from the east line of Rush Creek township to the west line of
Amanda township is twenty-four miles.
     The principal water course that cuts the surface of the county is the
Hocking river. It is a small stream, scarcely deserving the title of
river, and is formed by the junction near Hooker's station of its two
branches. The west fork, which is the principal, and therefore called
Hocking, or originally Hockhocking, takes its rise from a spring near
Greencastle, and near the center of Bloom township. The maps differ
a little as to the head of Hocking, but old residents of the township fix
it a little southwest of the village of Greencastle. From its source it
meanders along to the rocky precipice just within the edge of Greenfield
township, sometimes spoken of as the upper tails of Hocking, and 
having received the waters of two or three tributaries, becomes the water
power of the "Rock Mills," the appellation by which the place has long
been known.
     The east branch, sometimes spoken of as Claypool's run, rises in
the north part of Greenfield township, and runs in a nearly due south
direction until it unites with the main branch a short distance above
Hooker's station. From the junction, the course of the Hocking is due
southeast, until it enters the north east of Hocking township, and after
skirting the west border of the city of Lancaster, enters Berne township
less than a mile below the city. It then curves more to the west, and
flows, in a nearly due south direction to Sugar Grove, where it receives
the waters of Rush creek, and about one mile and a quarter below
passes out of the county through section ten of Berne township.
     Rush creek is the next stream of importance in Fairfield county, and
is something larger than Hocking. It, likewise, has two branches, both
of which have their origin beyond the county. The principal or north
fork enters Richland township from the east, and about at its center,
and pursuing a nearly due west course across about two-thirds of the
width of the township, takes a direction a little east of south; passing be-
tween the Rushvilles, still continues a south course to Bremen, after which
it curves something to the west, and passing across a part of Marion
township, Hocking county, turning nearly due west, re-enters Fairfield
county and unites with the Hocking at Sugar Grove.
      The east, or south branch, takes its origin in Perry county, and 
enters Rush creek township at its northeast corner, and forms a junction
with the north branch about one mile south of Bremen. Both branches
have numerous small tributaries.
     Clear creek, in the southwest part of the county, has its origin in
Amanda township, and embodies in its course several small tributaries.
It drains some of the richest lands in Fairfield county, especially in
Amanda and Clear creek townships, its course is very serpentine, 
especially in Amanda township. Its general course is southeast, to where
it passes into Hocking county across the eastern line of Madison 
township, at the north corner of section twenty-four; then passing across
the northeast corner of Clear creek township, entering Madison diagon-
ally from northwest to southeast, and near its center enters the Hocking
river several miles below Sugar Grove.
     There are three small streams, all passing down out of Pleasant
township, and known respectively as Pleasant run, Ewing's run, and
Fetter's run. Of these three, Pleasant is the largest. They are all
tributaries of the Hocking, and mingle with its waters at different
points below Lancaster.  The latter two, viz., Fetter's and Ewing's
runs, form a conjunction at a point about northeast of Lancaster, from
which, until it enters the Hocking a short distance below Lancaster, it
has been known as Baldwin's run. Pleasant run enters the Hocking
some miles below Lancaster. They all three rise in the north half of
Pleasant township, just south of the dividing ridge between the waters
of the Hocking and those of the Scioto.
     The divide which determine the flow of the waters respectively



 

HISTORY OF FAIRFIELD COUNTY

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HISTORY OF FAIRFIELD COUNTY

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between the Scioto and the Hocking, so far as the surface of Fairfield
county is concerned, takes an irregular direction. The northern portion
of the county, including the townships of Walnut, Liberty, and Violet,
and the north third of Pleasant, are drained by the Little Walnut, a
tributary of the Scioto. The divide is therefore shown to be between
the south two-thirds and the north third of Pleasant township, thence
west to near the center of Bloom township, thence south through Bloom,
Amanda, and Clear Creek townships, approaching nearest the west
line at the south part of Clear creek, for the rivulets in the western 
portions of these townships run off in the direction of the Scioto, and 
become its tributaries.
     PRAIRIES.---Fairfield county never has had any extensive prairies.
The largest one within the bounds of the county is that which has been
known as the "Muddy Prairie," situated in Amanda township, eight
miles west of Lancaster. It is of two or three miles in diameter from
south to north, and about one mile wide from east to west. On its
north margin, and extending in the direction of Royalton, the character
of the timber, and the general appearance of the country, gives one the
idea pretty distinctly of barrens, commonly so called, such as are seen
west of the Scioto. The next largest spot of prairie in the county is at
Lancaster, extending from Kuntze's Hill along up the Hocking to near
Hooker's Station, in Greenfield township. The average width of this
strip of prairie land is probably about a half mile. Much of it was at
an early day a swamp, and portions of it are yet too soft for safe travel.
There is also a strip of true prairie ground extending across the north
end of Berne township, along the line of the Zanesville Railroad, as far
as Berne Station, and again in the vicinity of Bremen, and along the
Raccoon. There are also spots of prairie land along Little Walnut
creek, in Walnut township, and along Clear creek, in Clear Creek
township. Also at several other points in the county there are typical
dispositions of the timber and surface conditions sufficiently marked to
inspire the idea of barrens.
     Fairfield county has no body of water within its limits, or ever has
had within the historic age, that deserves the name of lake or lakelet.
That which approaches nearest to it is the "'Big Reservoir" in the
north part of Walnut township; but this is almost entirely artificial, and
only a part of it lies within the county. Previous to the making of the
Ohio Canal there existed there a natural pond of water, the exact area
of which can not now be ascertained. But upon the construction of
the canal all that low body of land now constituting the reservoir was
filled with water by artificial systems of draining, for the purpose of
forming a feeder for the canal in times of low water. Its present area
is something over three thousand acres. In some of its parts the water
is of considerable depth. About one-third of its surface lies within
Licking county, a portion in Perry, and the remainder in Walnut 
township of this county.
     The next considerable body of water in the county is the small reser-
voir at the north-west corner of the city of Lancaster, which is a feeder
to the Hocking canal; but it is also chiefly artificial. This little reser-
voir has a water surface of probably thirty acres, but unlike the big
reservoir, contains few fish.
In the pioneer age of the county there were numerous small ponds
of water distributed all over its surface, but they have been so far
drained and dried up that, outside of the two reservoirs, there is nothing 
within the county that would at this day claim hardly the dignity of
a respectable small pond. One of the principal of these was Neibling's
pond, on the site of the present Lancaster, and which is elsewhere 
described in this volume. Also, at Muddy Prairie and in the prairie west
of Lancaster, were once considerable ponds, but there are no ponds in
either of them now.
     Fairfield has at no former time been characterized for extensive
swales or marshes. One of the most considerable shoales, probably, that
ever existed in the county was that which passed directly through the
center of the present Lancaster, crossing Main street just where
Shark's alley is, and where it originally dipped into a considerable
pond. This has also been particularly described in the first chapter on
Lancaster. There were also a few swales in the northern townships,
but they have been drained and changed into arable land. The 
principal boggy spots were in the prairie along the western bank of the 
Hocking, along the line of the present Muskingum Valley Railroad, in the
direction of Bremen, at the Muddy Prairie, Claypoole's run, and Clear
Creek.
     SURFACE.---There are few, if any, counties in Ohio with less waste
land than Fairfield. There are few acres within its entire borders that
are not capable of cultivation, varying, however, somewhat in richness
of soil. The eastern part of the county is mostly of a gently undulating
surface, and generally well adapted to wheat growing. The southeast
part, embracing a portion of Berne township, and the most of Rush Creek,
is level, and a great deal of it quite fertile. At Rushville, in Richland
township, along the borders of Rush Creek, there is considerable 
interruption in the surface, especially in the vicinity of the two villages.
The creek, in passing between East and West Rushville, cuts through
a very considerable elevation, forming high and precipitous banks on
both sides, which are underlaid with a fine quality of the Waverly 
sandstone. These interruptions continue more or less, until the stream
pushes out of the county, at its southern border. In the vicinity of
Bremen, and Rush Creek bottom, it widens out into a considerable
space of rich table land.
     The northern part of the county, comprising nearly all of Richland,
Pleasant, Walnut, Liberty, Violet, Bloom, Amanda, Greenfield and the
northern part of Hocking, is either gently rolling, or level, with the 
exception of the bluffs along Ewing's and Fetter's runs, and a ridge of
hills running north of Lancaster, and again up Hocking, in the vicinity
of the Rock mill. The staple products are corn, wheat, grass, and all
varieties of small grains and vegetables. About Lithopolis, in Bloom
township, there are also considerable interruptions in the surface, in the
vicinity of a small stream that passes the north border of the village.
     Going west from Lancaster to Amanda, the face of the country is
considerably broken into hills and ledges of sandstone, especially
within the first four miles out from Lancaster. Upon reaching the Muddy 
prairie, two miles east of Amanda, the surface drops to a level, and
continues so, with only moderate undulations about the village of



 

HISTORY OF FAIRFIELD COUNTY

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HISTORY OF FAIRFIELD COUNTY

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Stoutsville, until the Pickaway county line is reached. The largest
portion of Clear Creek township, which lies directly south of Amanda,
is level, and for the most part highly fertile.
     Immediately south of Lancaster, the hills set in, and continue more
or less rugged to the south county line, embracing the southern part of
Hocking township, all of Madison, and a considerable part of Berne.
The valley of the Hocking, below, or south of Lancaster, and on its
east side for a considerable part of the distance to Sugar Grove, is lined
with out-cropping ledges of sand rock, which gives the valley a highly
romantic appearance, especially from the elevated lands about the State
Farm on the west, from some points of which the ranges of sandstone
are seen at a distance of three or four miles on the east side of Hocking.
     Some of the hills rise to a considerable height. The site of the 
Reform Farm is six hundred feet above the level of the Hocking table
lands, situated only four miles to the east, and about five hundred feet
above the site of Lancaster, six miles distant. Some of the interruptions 
south of Lancaster, and within the bounds of Berne township,
are exceedingly rugged and romantic.
     The Kettle hills, so called, a romantic place, two miles south of the
Court House, is not, perhaps, equalled or surpassed in Ohio for wild-
ness and beauty of scenery. It is a dip down of about one hundred
feet, forming an area of nearly level land at the bottom of about two
acres, which is thickly set with forest trees and underbrush. Then 
precipitous and nearly perpendicular sand rocks stand up on all sides,
surmounted with pines and cedar, and other growth of timber, which,
frowning down into the depths, give it rather a gloomy appearance.
The usual place of descent is at the north-east corner, and down through
a cleft in the rock by means of projecting points, and by grasping the
bushes and roots of trees that grow out from the fissures of the rocks.
At the north side of the basin there are projecting rocks, forming 
beneath dark cavernous recesses quite away from the world above, with
all its noise and clamor. It is a lonely, gloomy spot to visit; but to the
lover of nature's wild freaks, one well worth visiting.
     The passage from Lancaster to the Reform Farm is, in its entire
length of six miles, over an elevated ridge, from which, to look off on
either side, brings into view landscapes and views not surpassed in
grandeur and sublimity by the wildest views of western Virginia or
Pennsylvania. The hills, far and near, are covered with a mixture of
evergreen and forest trees, presenting to the eye a variegated scene
not often equalled---a view one loves to linger over.
     Passing south of the farm a still more wild and rugged section is 
entered, which continues over the entire area of Madison township to the
Hocking county line, yet the soil on much of this elevated land is pro-
ductive, some of it yielding fine crops of corn, but is probably better
adapted to fruit growing. The rocks of these hills are mostly of the
Waverly sandstone kind, cropping out more or less along the rugged
declivities. There are few and very small spots of table land in 
Madison township.
     As in all other counties of the State of similar topographical and
geological construction, Fairfield contains numerous fine springs of pure
limpid water, mostly of the kind called hard or limestone water; but of
springs denominated mineral there are few, if any. Springs issue from
the hill sides and from beneath ledges of rocks, and also from the 
lowlands. Every part of the county abounds more or less with good
springs, among which Cold Spring, at Cold Spring Hill, near Lancaster,
is probably one of the best. At the west end of Wheeling street, Lan-
caster, there were originally a number of excellent springs, and on that
account Mr. Zane, the original proprietor of the town, donated the lot
of ground containing them to the citizens for public use, but in the con-
struction of the Hocking Valley canal the lot was taken for its use, and
now forms the basin, so-called, at the foot of the street, by which they
have been destroyed. There is at the fourth lock, on the southeast
border of Lancaster, one of the strongest springs of water in the county.
None of these springs afford the same quantity of water they did in the
early days of the country. The flow has been diminished by the 
general drying up of the surface.



 

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HISTORY OF FAIRFIELD COUNTY

13



                               Chapter III.
                          FLORA AND FAUNA

     FLORA.---Almost the entire growth of timber over the whole area of
the county is of the hard wood kind, including hickory in all its
varieties, black walnut, sugar tree, hackberry, beech, water beech,
iron wood, wild cherry, swamp beech, and oak. Of the querous, or
oak family, there are a great many varieties, including white oak of
four or five kinds---black oak, red oak, jack oak, pin oak and burr oak
(the latter being perhaps the least abundant in the county), dog wood
and laurel. Of the soft woods may be mentioned chestnut, white and
pitch pines, poplar, cottonwood, silver leaf, sassafras, and soft or swamp
maple.
     In some of the northern townships the beech predominates suf-
ficiently to have acquired the appellation of the beech woods. South
and southwest of Lancaster are the principal pine groves, mostly among
the sandstone hills. The hills skirting the State Farm road are partic-
ularly characterized by thick groves of both the white and pitch pines.
The oak family is distributed everywhere, as are the different varieties
of hickory. Black and white walnuts are found in certain localities,
and occupy generally the bottom and richer lands, as does also the
wild cherry, The sugar tree is found on all varieties of soil, but chiefly
on the most fertile. The oak family, as a rule, loves best the hills and
clay soil. Chestnut timber is most abundant in the vicinity of Lancaster, 
and on the hills to the south and southwest. The hackberry, iron
wood and water beech prefer low, rich lands. The burr oak is also
indigenous to the low and rich lands. Pines flourish best among the
hills and sandy soils, and in this county they are most abundant along
the sandstone hills skirting the Hocking Valley. Poplar, cottonwood,
and silver leaf belong to rich soil, but none of them are very abundant
in Fairfield county. Sassafras grows on all varieties of soil. Swamp or
soft maple is not very abundant in the county, though it is a native, and
occupies the lowest lands. Dog wood grows everywhere, but best in
good soil. The laurel is limited to the sandstone hills along the Hocking, 
and in the vicinity of Lancaster. Hazel has never been much of a
growth in Fairfield county, and only a few dwarfed bushes here and
there are to be seen. The hazel seems to have refused the friendship of
civilization. The little clusters of the bush that are still to be found
seem sickly and pining away. The paw-paw, however, still flourishes
well on the rich flats along the water courses in some parts of the
county.
     The ash and elm were quite abundant in the county at an early day,
but have become rather scarce. Of the former there were three varie-
ties---the white, gray and black; of the latter two, the red or slippery
elm and the white elm. Both the ash and elm belong to good land,
especially the elm. The slippery elm has been chiefly valuable for the
medicinal virtues of its inner bark, used as a soothing mucilaginous
remedy. The wood of the white elm has been used in the mechanical
arts, on account of its hardness when dry. Neither of the elms will
burn when green. Ash wood burns well green or dry. Ash wood is
valuable in the arts, especially the white. The elm has been largely
destroyed on account of its general worthlessness, while the ash has
been cut down for firewood and lumber. The white elm bears domes-
tication, and flourishes well along the margins of solid city pavements.
But if the slippery elm be transplanted it, after a,while, becomes sickly.
The same is true of the black locust; it decays if planted in town. In
some parts of Fairfield county the black locust originally grew
luxuriantly in a wild state; it is now very scarce.
     The honey locust still flourishes on the low lands along the streams
and flats. Buckeye was at no time abundant, and is now scarce.
The spice-wood bush, in the pioneer age, very abundant on the low
rich lands, is now almost extinct. It would not survive in juxtaposition
with civilization. The twigs of the spice-wood, decocted, formed a highly
agreeable beverage of an aromatic flavor, and was much used by the
first settlers of the country. Teas made from the spice-wood and the
bark of sassafras root, when trimmed with maple sugar and cream or
milk, was liked by nearly everybody.
     The whortleberry (commonly called huckleberry), is a very abund-
ant growth on the sandy hills of the south part of the county. The
fruit comes every year, and ripens in June and July. There are thou-
sands of bushels of the berries marketed every summer. Blackberries
and dewberries are likewise abundant annual crops, mostly in the south
part of the county. The surplus crop is shipped beyond the county.
Both the blackberry and the dewberry seek waste fields and fence 
corners, or along the margins of prairies or the jungle of fallen timber.
But they also flourish under cultivation..
     The ginseng plant was recognized by its unpretentious trilobed single
stem, of six or eight inches in height, surmounted by a cluster of three
or four red berries in August and September. During, perhaps, the
first twenty years alter the settlement of the county commenced the
ginseng was found in great abundance on the low, rich lands. It grew
in clusters, or patches, like the podofillin, or May apple. For many
years extensive raids were made upon the ginseng patches by the 
diggers, because it had a market. It was supposed to possess valuable
medicinal qualities, and was bought up by speculators and shipped out
of the country.
     Its virtues resided in the root, which was a tribulb, resembling in
shape the radish, usually one large central bulb, flanked by two smaller
ones. The digging season was in the latter part of August and early
September, and was indicated by the ripening of the berry and the yellow 
color of the leaf. One might search the wild low lands now a whole
day without finding perhaps a single ginseng plant.
     The sanguinaria lanadensis, or poocoon root, was of two varieties---
the red and the yellow, and was very plenty in the early years of the
county. It grew on the same kind of soil as the ginseng, which it very
much resembled. It seemed, however, to prefer a limestone surface.



 

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14    

HISTORY OF FAIRFIELD COUNTY

15
The roots of the sanguinaria, especially the red, sometimes called blood
root, were valued for their supposed medicinal properties, and were a
good deal sought after. It was claimed to be an Indian remedy. This
plant has, likewise, nearly entirely disappeared. It seems, with the wild
man of the forest, to have been indigenous to a condition of undisturbed
nature.
     The snake root, known as Seneca snake root, Virginia snake root,
and black snake root, so abundant once, and so much used during the
pioneer age as teas and bitters by infusing them in whiskey or cherry
bounce, are now difficult to find. The black snake root was indigenous
to sandy, rich soils, and was recognized by its stalk of eight or ten
inches in height, and its lanceolated leaf. Its virtues resided in the
root, which was a small, dark brown tuber, giving off a profusion of
dark, hair-like fibers. It was classed among the tonics. The other
snake roots grew on higher lands, as a rule. The Seneca snake root
sent up a stalk sometimes attaining three or four feet in height. Its
root was tuberous, and of a light yellow color. It was also supposed to
be used by the Indians as a medicine. These snake roots were used
both as tonics and diaphoretics, or sweating medicines. They were
found quite profusely around Mount Pleasant, and the low lands along
Hocking and the other water streams. An isolated plant of either of
them can now and then be found yet in some out of the way place.
     There were, likewise, in the wild and new condition of the country
almost innumerable varieties of stinking weeds, grasses, and plants
that are scarcely to be seen at all now, while hundreds of varieties not
found here at first have taken their places.
     The wild nettle was a native of the soil of the Northwest. It grew
very luxuriously in certain sections of Fairfield county. It was a rather
majestic weed, and rose up usually from two or three to five feet in
height, standing very thick on the ground. Its fibre resembled that of
common flax, and when treated in the same way was capable of being
wrought into fine linen, and was so wrought. A nettle patch is rare
now.
     The May apple was found in immense patches, even in acres, both
on the high and low lands. It also appears to be failing with each
year, so that at the present very small patches are found, probably less
than a tenth of what the woods afforded seventy years ago, and these
in the least frequented spots.
     The wild plum will not tolerate encroachment, nor can it be domes-
ticated and still maintain the full development and richness of its fruit.
It is strictly a forest plant. To cut away the forests about a wild plum
thicket is to consign it to decay and ultimate death. And there are
none of the luscious, large wild plums any more to be found, that seventy
years ago were so abundant along the Hocking Valley and in other
parts of the county. The few trees that remain are dwarfed, and yield
small, sour plums.
     Black haws, of which the valleys once so abounded, have shared
the same fate with the plum. The crab-apple bears the acquaintance
of man better. It seems even to be improved by culture.
     FAUNA.---The wild animals found in the Hocking Valley, when the
first settlers arrived, are referred to in more than one place in other
chapters of this work. A more particular notice of them may be proper
under this head. Wolves, bears, panthers, wild-cats and deer, were
native denizens of the forest long before man came. They did not 
remain long; even those that escaped the rifle ball and the snare took
their way farther back into the depths of the still wild forests. The
grey and red fox lingered longer among the craggy recesses of the hills
of the southern part of the county. The grey squirrel was too much
attached to the farmer's corn field to readily part company with his
newly formed acquaintance, notwithstanding the continual crack of the
cruel rifle, to which they become such easy and frequent prey. The
raccoon and black mink have become scarce, mainly owing to
the hunter's art and to the marked value of their pelts. The opossum,
ground hog and hedge hog, are also becoming rare, while the rabbit
multiplies and burrows about, both on high and low lands, an easy prey
to the boys and the sportsman's shot gun.
     There was a class of wild birds that have mostly fled before the face
of man, but which were very numerous in every part of the country, at
its first settlement. Of these may be mentioned the owl, of all varieties,
the great and small hawk, the kite, sometimes called the swallow tailed,
or forked tailed hawk, the bald, grey and black eagle, the turkey 
buzzard and the raven. The most of these have entirely disappeared.
Buzzards are occasionally seen hovering over the hills, remote from
towns and populous settlements. Black birds and black crows are not
one five hundredth part so numerous now as in the early years of the
country, while a solitary raven is occasionally seen.
     Of wild singing birds, there seem to be fewer now than in the former 
age, though they still continue to make the grove merry with their
melody. This seems strange, when it is remembered that that class of
birds are known rather to follow than lead the advance of civilization.
It is the opinion of naturalists that the chief of the singing birds were not
here at all before the white man came, and that they followed the sound of
the woodman's axe, and the tinkling cow bell. Space will not permit
special reference to the various kinds of singing birds of the woods.
Wild geese and ducks were, likewise, far more numerous than now.
The pheasant, once so numerous through the hills of Fairfield, and
whose drumming was so familiar to the ear of the pioneer families, is
still about the thickets on the hillsides, but in greatly reduced numbers,
owing, doubtless, to the constant raids made upon them with the shot gun
and rifle.
     There were two or three varieties of the crane that often lit down in
the ponds and marshy lands, such as the blue crane, the stork and the
sandhill crane, but they are now seldom seen near the habitation of man,
except in their elevated flights from north to south, and back again,
with the changing seasons.
     The county, in its native state, was infested with such poisonous rep-
tiles as were common to the country, including the viper, copperhead and
rattlesnake, besides all the varieties of snakes less harmful. The prairie
rattlesnake, and the spotted or mountain rattlesnake, were mostly
dreaded. The former inhabited the prairies and meadows, the latter hid
themselves about the hills and rocky crevices. Mount Pleasant furnished 
homes for many hundreds of them, in its fissures and recesses.



 

HISTORY OF FAIRFIELD COUNTY

16        
The bite of either of these reptiles was dangerous, and always fatal.
The copperhead and the viper have sometimes been confounded, but
they were distinct varieties. The black snake, garter snake and water
snake were harmless. The mountain rattlesnake is probably now
extinct in the county, but the prarie variety is still occasionally found in
the low lands along the Hocking and other localities. The big flood of
1873, washed them out by the dozen, and they were slaughtered by the
boys, as they attempted to make landings.
     The early settlers were greatly annoyed by the various kinds of
insects that filled the air in countless millions everywhere. The princi-
pal torment was from the gnat and musquito. Their numbers in modern
years are comparatively small. The black hornet and yellow jacket
were numerous enough in the early years of the settlements to prove
exceedingly annoying.
     The beaver and otter, once valuable for their rich furs, are now
about extinct, especially the former. An occasional otter is still found
along the water courses, where they inhabit. The musk rat still burrows 
himself in the banks of creeks, ditches, and along the canal, and
is ready, on the slightest alarm, to sink instantly to the bottom.