HISTORY OF FAIRFIELD COUNTY
Hocking township was the home of the first settlers in this region of the country, and in part only, contains some of the fair fields, after which the county was named. The northwestern portion of this township is somewhat undulating, but rich in soil, and produces large crops of all kinds of grain. The whole of the southeastern portion is made up of valleys and hills. The soil is sandy and shallow; on the ridges of the hills nothing can grow except ferns, mountain laurel, pine trees and a few hardy shrubs. Pasture is very poor and the timber, mainly chestnut, oak and pine, attains to a considerable size. The old red sandstone predominates, and generally leaf mould and vegetable deposits are found mixed with clay and iron. In the extreme southeastern corner of this township, is the State Farm, consisting of 1210 acres of ground, or nearly two sections of land which meet at opposite corners. At this junction are the buildings of the institution. The buildings consist of the Main building, the Ohio. Hocking, Muskingum, Cuyahoga, Scioto, Huron, Miami, Erie, Maumee, and Union family buildings, shoe, brush, blacksmith, tailor, paint, carpenter, bake shops, carriage, meat, ware, engine, gas, ice, corn and green houses, water tower, hospital, mending room, knitting room, chamber of reflection, laundry, two horse barns, a piggery, cow barn, and out buildings. The land upon this site was formerly owned by a Mr. Reber, near the spring of which is where he had his dwelling-house. He had four large buildings where the main buildings are now, and the farm was principally used for raising tobacco. Mr. Henry Meyers owned this land, and it was he who sold it to the State, receiving as compensation about $15. per acre. In 1857-58, Charles Remelin, of Cincinnati, prevailed upon the State Legislature to establish a Reform School for unruly boys, and at his suggestion the first log structures were erected, and on January 30, 1858, the first ten boys were received into the institution from Cincinnati, himself being appointed as its first superintendent. Since then, there have been 3,586 boys received, there being 538 now remaining. The estimated worth of these buildings in 1876 was $200,000., and the cost to the State for each boy was $118.00. Geo. E. Howe succeeded Mr. Remelin, and remained in charge many years. Mr. Charles Douglass is the present superintendent. Just north of the State Reform Farm is a natural curiosity worthy of the many visits made to see it-it is a large rock, in area comprising an acre of ground, and is situated upon the summit of the Old Stump Hill. This hill is near the old Lancaster and State Farm road, and just south
of and adjoining Mr. Uhl's farm---is probably 150 feet in height. The rock upon this hill is from forty to seventy-five feet in height, and some years since was named "Christmas Rock." This rock at one time, probably at the time of the great earthquake at the crucifixion of Christ, was cleft from end to end, from top to bottom, laterally and lengthwise, into fissures, there being at least a baker's dozen of them. These fissures are in some cases but a foot or so in width, others being four or five feet, but in all cases rise perpendicularly from forty to sixty or seventy feet in height; from end to end, some extend in length 300 feet. Standing above these fissures one has a picturesque view of the valleys and hills looking towards Lancaster, this city being six miles off, and visible to the eye at this point. The pioneers of this township were the first settlers of this county. Of these early settlers may be mentioned Joseph Hunter, the Greens, Shaefers, Spurgeons, Woodrings, Reeces, Wilsons, Converse and others. Some of these were early on the ground, and were generally from some eastern State, coming to Pittsburgh in wagons, thence unloading their effects into a flat-boat, would float down to the mouth of the Hocking River, and from there would take dugouts or canoes and make their way to the new settlement or to New Lancaster, as it was then known. Prominent among these pioneers was the first settler, Joseph Hunter, a man of dauntless courage, and of sterling worth, and father of Hocking H. Hunter, one of Ohio's leading lawyers; he came with his family from Kentucky, and settled on Zane's Trace, about one hundred and fifty yards northwest of the present turnpike road crossings, which place became Hunter's settlement; this was in April, 1798, and at that time Captain Hunter was the only white man known to be in the county. He felled trees and erected himself a cabin and lived until in the year 1846, when he died; his widow, Dorothy Hunter, died several years thereafter. Some two weeks after the settlement of Captain Joseph Hunter, Isaac Shaefer and a few others came down the Ohio and up the Hocking River and stopped a few days with Captain Hunter, looking up a location, but not being suited, went to Sugar Grove, and soon after to where the old Deffenbach Mill is, and then built the original mill that afterwards went by that name. Mr. Shaefer came from Lancaster county, Pennsylvania; there were in this company, who came with Mr. Shaefer, Mr. Abraham Ream and family from Reamstown, Pennsylvania; after settling in this county, he established what was subsequently known as the Ream's Mill. In 1799 Isaac Shaefer married Julia A. Ream, and in 1800 there was born unto them Delilah Shaefer, the first white child in the county, if our informant is correct. This honor has generally been given to Hocking H. Hunter, the lawyer, who first saw the light of day August 1st, 1801. There were besides Delilah, Joab, Isaac, John, Rachel, and Sarah Shaefer, children of this pioneer couple, who lived and died in this county, with but one or two exceptions. Mr. Ream's daughters were married to John Pannebaker, Abraham Shaefer, Isaac Shaefer, Joseph Stukey, Lewis Hershberger, and Henry Aneshensel, all of whom were likewise well known in the county in an early day. The Green family were prominent as being among the first in the
PICTURE IS IDENTICAL IN SIZE TO THE ORIGINAL
township also. William Green came in 1798 also, but soon after his arrival sickened and died. His was the first death, and his body was buried in a hickory bark coffin on the west bank of Fetter's Run, a few rods north of the old Zanesville road, east of Lancaster. The elder John Green settled just south of Van Burton's, and on land near. He was married to Mrs. Bilderback, who, with her former husband, had been taken prisoners at Wheeling, Virginia, while salting their cattle, one Sunday morning, and carried to Chillicothe, where her husband. Mr. Bilderback, was scalped, and where she made her escape. The Coateses were at the Crossings in 1799, and Samuel Coates, Jr., as early as 1800, became postmaster for the new settlement, as once a week the mail was carried, by the Zane Trace, from Wheeling to Maysville. James Converse was the first store-keeper. He lived near where Robert Peters now resides. In 1801 his house was used for an assembly room. where the settlers had met to make provisions for a defense against a supposed attack the Indians were about to make, but the conference ended in a fight and a brawl among themselves. Near the foot of the Baker Hill is where Hunter built his mill, on Hunter's Run. When Green come he followed this run up until he came to the knob, now the Beck property; here he killed a bear and a deer, and afterwards located on that spot. It is claimed by some that Allen Green, his son, was the first white child born in the county. Maurice Reece emigrated from Pennsylvania in 1799 and settled just north of Spurgeon's Knob, at which place James Hunter taught school as early as 1801. Andrew Hunter, son of John Hunter, emigrated from Virginia with Maurice and Jesse Reece in 1800 and settled where Andrew Hunter now lives. The above mentioned settlers were among the very first who came to the county. The township, after 1800, received many additions, and emigration rapidly set in,. so that clearings, cabin raisings, etc., became the order of the day, and the settlement naturally extended its limits, and being taken up along the Muddy Prairie and Arney Runs, the same as on that of Hunter's. Every early settlement, as soon as practicable, erected mills. Those first in use were Hunter's, Ream's, and Shellenberger's; later still, one was built on Muddy Prairie, and one oil mill on Arney's Run. This latter mill was located where the engine-house for the State Farm is now, and was owned by one Daniel Arney, who, in order to obtain sufficient amount of water for grinding purposes, would be required to save it for days and weeks at times. There was a mill just below his oil mill, in Madison township, that complained of this matter, and the disagreement finally led to a law suit that ended in compelling Mr. Arney to let the water off at least within certain periods of time, and in breaking him up. Hamburg is the only town or village in the township. It is in the southern portion, on the old Chillicothe road, and was formerly, during the days when the only mode of travel was by stage, an important point on the old Zane's Trace, but it has lost the grandeur of its former prestige, and is now but a mere collection of a few houses, a store, a school
and a church or so. It was probably laid out by William Medill, soon after the War of 1812, and the first house built by him is now owned by Mr. John Hyde, and is still standing; it was used quite awhile for a hotel. During the palmy days of Harrison's time, this General was said to have frequently stopped there in company with other noted personages of his time. Mr. Henry Siver, the present infirmary director, started the first store in this place, in 1851. A tan yard was kept by Mr. John Kniester. He lived in one part of the building, and worked in the other. The Lutherans established a society in this town, and built a church as early as 1850. They also built again in 1882. Soon after the erection of the Lutheran church, the Methodist society also erected a building. The membership of the church is now very small. About one mile west of Hamburg, where Jacob Kerns, Jr., now lives, was the Cross Keys Hotel, kept for many years by Jacob Kerns, Sr., who came to the county as early as 1812. Mr. Jacob Kerns also erected a log school house on his place, soon after his arrival, for the accommodation of the early settlers. Just west of Jacob Kerns place, and on the land now owned by H. W. Kerns, is a Methodist Church building, erected in 1875. .This society worshiped in an early day, in a brick house on the old Sawyer farm, just below that point. On the Lancaster and Circleville turnpike, in the western part of the township, is the Mt. Zion Church, erected as early as 1835. The Brethren Church, one and a half miles southeast of Mt. Zion Church, was established about the same time. The Lutherans also built a church on Mr. Beck's property. This building was erected just before the late war.