HISTORY OF FAIRFIELD COUNTY
Violet township is in the northwestern part of Fairfield county; is bounded on the north by Licking county, on the east by Liberty township, on the south by Bloom township, and on the west by Franklin county. The township was set off and incorporated in 1808, and from the variety and abundance of its wild flowers it took the name of Violet. Its surface is slightly undulating, slopes southward, and is drained by Black Lick, Sycamore and Walnut Creeks. There are many swamps on the low lands, and the valley of Sycamore Creek frequently suffers from inundation. From the beginning, a majority of the inhabitants have been Ger- man---that class of Germans who pride themselves on being good and reliable citizens. The first man to take up his residence here was an old Revolutionary soldier by the name of George Kirke, who entered the eighty acres on which the village of Pickerington now stands, on which he built himself a very ordinary log hut, which served as a stopping place---could hardly be called a dwelling---in which he sought shelter from wild beasts and storms, but in a few years a purchaser came in the person of Abraham Pickering, who bought the tenth section of land including Kirke's claim, and in 1815, laid off a few lots, giving them the name of Pickerington. The early settlers were Edward Ricketts, Henry Stemen, Westenburger Hustand, Dr. Talbert, H. Donaldson, A. Donaldson, Abraham Pickering and Mordacai Fishbaugh, all of whom settled in or before 1806. The township at that time was a dense forest of beech, hickory, sugar, white and blue ash, and red and white elm. In selecting farms, it was customary for several to join together, get the range and section from corner trees, pick out a section and for one of them to hasten to the land office to secure it by making an entry and paying the one-fourth part (fifty cents per acre) down. There was then a busy time among them helping each other to build log cabins. Some brought their families with them, while others came alone, preferring to build the cabin first. Indians were few and friendly, and soon left for lands further west---while here, the children of whites and Indians played together, amusing themselves by wrestling and running foot races. Wild animals, such as the wolf, deer, bear and wild-cat, were numerous and gave the settlers some trouble. Fresh pork seemed to be a dish for which the bears had a special liking, and many were the times when bear meat paid the forfeit, and graced the table of the humble cabin. Wolves were the most annoying, frequently running a chicken into the very door of the house, in day- light, and at night forming a dismal chorus, so peculiar to themselves.
In 1815, a bounty of five dollars per scalp was offered; this made them an object of pursuit and soon thinned them out. The northern twelve sections of this township belonged to the Refugee lands and was noted in early times, for its numerous flocks of wild turkeys and pigeons. Turkey was an ordinary dish for the farmer, and during the fall and winter months, many of them were dressed and sent to market. Shooting pigeons formed the farmer-boys' holiday pleasure and frequently his day's work, to keep them from destroying the crops. They lit in such numbers on trees as to break the branches. Pickerington, the oldest town. now has about three hundred inhabitants. When first laid out, lots were given to any one who would build on them. For a few years it seemed to do well, then came to a stand still with indications of finally dying out. The Hocking Valley Railroad, passing through the southern part of the township, seemed to invigorate it to some extent, but it was not long till it began to decline again, which decline continued until the Ohio Central Railroad passed through its limits, when it awakened to new life. It now contains many fine residences, two churches, a substantial, modern style school building, an elevator, a flouring mill, two dry goods stores, five groceries, one drug store, one hardware store, two hotels, a tin shop, two blacksmith shops, a harness shop and a lumber yard. During the first few years William McIntosh and Abraham Pickering, of this place, were extensively engaged in buying hogs for eastern markets. The rich fruits of the forest formed such an abundance of food, that rearing them was very little trouble, and many of the farmers gave it considerable attention. The price paid was $1.20 per hundred weight, and when a sufficient number had been secured, they were driven to market to Baltimore, Maryland; the trip taking about three months. They continued in this until the Ohio Canal was opened, when hogs were slaughtered and the pork shipped. A lodge of Independent Order of Odd Fellows was instituted here the 22nd day of November, 1881. The charter members were Samuel Fishbaugh, D. I. Petty, E. D. Kramer, W. G. Mercer, G. I. Stewart, G. W. Waggy, John Ault, James Dickinson, Phillip Pickering, G. W. Eversole, John H. Shoemaker, James F. Sain, J. M. Sharpe, John L. Vanarsdalen and D. C. Ebright. The membership at this time is forty-four. Probably the first dry goods store was kept by James Mullen, on the south-west corner of the public square. James O'Kane owned the next one and after a few years sold out to Drumm & Lee, who several years after were succeeded by the McArther Brothers. Up to this time there were no groceries, as the dry good stores kept a general assortment of family supplies. The first hotel was kept by Colonel John Ricketts. Stephen Whitesel built the first blacksmith shop and was followed by James Cannon. The town now enjoys a good trade with the surrounding farmers, and will, no doubt, in time grow into a well developed thriving, inland town. Waterloo is a small village on the Ohio Canal and Hocking Valley Railroad, with fewer than one hundred inhabitants. It was laid out in
1828 by Squire John Donaldson, on land that he had entered. Wm. Stevenson owned the first dry goods store, which he kept in one room of the old warehouse on the Ohio Canal. A small hotel was kept by Nathan Bray. The village at this date (1882) contained only one store, a saloon, and a shoemaking shop. Its first inhabitants were Levi Moore, David Painter, Thomas Morton, and George Hoshor. Lockville, a small hamlet, is on the Ohio Canal, partly in this and partly in Bloom township. There are several locks in the canal at this place from which the village derived its name. Francis Cunningham laid out the town and built the first store in which he kept a saloon of some notoriety---it being the resort of passengers while the boats were passing the locks. John Tenant and Brother succeeded Cunningham, and in a few years were followed by the Mithoff Brothers. In 1845-50 the Mithoff Brothers erected the largest distillery in the county. Three hundred bushels of corn was consumed each day, making a daily yield of 1,200 gallons of whiskey. They remained in business about fourteen years. Since their leaving the growth of the village is slow, but can hardly expect, at this date to increase. The first church in this township, a Methodist Episcopal, was built at Pickerington, in 1833. Meetings were held at private residences for several years, and then in a school house till a church was built. It was organized by Alexander Cummings and Sedosia Bacon, in 1811; the original members being Abram Ebright, Isaac Ranier, Philip Ford, John Taylor, Sr., John Alguire and their wives. The present membership is about one hundred and fifty. The first Sabbath school was organized in 1833, consisting of seventy-five members, with N. P. Bethel, as superintendent. Since the beginning, seventy-one years ago, one hundred and twenty-nine regular ministers were stationed here, not including Presiding elders. The church (brick) cost $1100, and was built by James Searls. The trustees at the time of building, were Abram Ebright, chairman; Isaac Ranier, secretary; Philip Ford, John Milnor, John Taylor, Sr., William Thompson, Thomas McArthur, James Pickering and Andrew Dougherty, Sr. The next church in the township, was "Job's Church," built by the Lutherans and German Reformed, in 1833, to be used in common between themselves, holding services alternately, every week. In 1849 the old building was torn down and a new one put in its place. Next came the United Brethren of the eastern part of the township, who erected a church on section 13. The original members were Simon Meppor, Jacob Garhart, John Ritter and Samuel McDonald with their families. After several years, a trouble arose in the church and a majority of the old members left it and joined the Evangelical Church, erecting a building on the opposite side of the road from their old church. Following the above United Brethren Church, was the United Brethren Church of Pickerington. This church has a large membership, and this year will erect a modern style building, on the site of the old one. The next is a United Brethren church, built on section 24, by Pete
Houser, Jacob Houser, Jacob Good and their families. It is now prosperous and has a good membership. Andrew Middleton and others were successful in their efforts to establish a United Brethren Church in the northwestern part of the township, and on section 20, where now stands an excellent little church. The first mill in Violet township, was owned by Mr. Badger. It was run by horse power and the grain when ground had to be bolted by hand. The next was a water grist mill, on Walnut Creek, built by George Hoshor. Michael Loucke then built a saw and grist mill on the same creek. Mr. Lee built a saw mill, and Billingsly Allen, a grist mill in the northern part of the township; the latter is still in operation. In 1881 the Strickler Brothers built a large flouring mill in Pickerington, which is still in operation. The first school in the township was taught at Pickerington by Isaac Reneir, a man of extra ability for that day. Clemuel Ricketts taught the next in section 22. The next was taught near Waterloo by Joseph Glinton. Since then, schools have gradually sprung into exis- tence until each district has a good school building, well supplied with the necessary furniture. The township is prosperous and healthful, showing well what a vig- orous appliance of mind and muscle, well directed, can do in fourscore years of time.