Bearfield is one of the original townships of Perry county, Ohio, and
was organized in 1818. It is situated one township north of the southeast 
corner of the county, and, with Monroe township, forms the most
eastern portion of the county. At the time of its organization it Was a
full township, containing thirty-six sections, and remained so up to
1850, when there were nine sections taken from the southwest corner of
it to form a part of Pleasant township, thus leaving it with twenty-seven
sections, or seventeen thousand two hundred and eighty acres of land.
It is bounded on the north by Harrison township, of Perry county, and
Harrison township, of Morgan county; on the south, by Monroe and
Pleasant townships, of Perry county; on the east, by Harrison and
Dearfield townships, of Morgan county, and on the west, by Pleasant
and Pike townships. The township is naturally divided into two parts,
or slopes, by a ridge passing in a northeastern and southwesterly 
direction, the northern slope dipping toward the Muskingum valley, and
occupying about two-thirds of its surface. The southern slope dips
toward the Hocking valley, and contains about one-third of its area.
The streams are all small, and from this natural division flow both north
and south, the greater number rising within its own borders. The
largest stream is that of the south branch of Jonathan's Creek, which
flows from the central northern part of Pleasant township, in a northeastern 
direction, and flows out at its northern boundary, near McLuney, 
in Harrison township. The township is all underlaid with a stratum
of the best of soft coal, four feet thick. This coal is mined in the northwestern 
part by drifting; but if it were obtained in the southern and
eastern parts it would necessarily have to be by shafting, so rapidly
does the stratum dip. Iron ore and fire and potter's clay are found in
many places. The iron ore is of the black band mineral, and yields
about forty per cent of iron. The potter's clay is of the best quality,
from which all kinds of common stoneware are successfully manufactured.
     The surface of this township may well be said to be everywhere
undulating. It has so small a portion of valley land that it is scarcely
worth a mention. The hills are not so high, but a great many of them


are rather steep; yet there is not much of the land that is not arable,
and its fertility is beyond dispute, as many an industrious farmer, who
now enjoys a full competency for his declining years, can testify. Coal
mines, iron ore deposits, potter and fire clay banks, and farm products,
are seldom more happily united than in Bearfield township.
     It is said that James Black was the first settler in this township, who
must have come before 1812, but how long before is unknown. He
settled near where Porterville now stands. As early as 1815 came the
father of Jacob Hearing and settled, a neighbor to James Black. The
following is a list of the first settlers, as could best be obtained from
available records: Benjamin Tatman, Bartholomew Tatman, John G.
Hearing, David Worley, Charles Crook, Samuel Ogburn, John B.
Holcomb, Benjamin Morgan, Lawson Teal, Samuel Worley, James
Palmer, Edward Conner, James Montgomery, Isaac Kent, Michael
Longstreth, William Lashley, Andrew Woods, John Younkin, Thomas
Tatman, John A. Hearing, Samuel Younkin, William J. Moore, Elisha
Palmer, Matthew Palmer, Leon Strait, William Tatman, John 
Montgomery, John Thrapp, L. J. Baker, Ezekiel Rose, John J. Jackson,
David Little, Lloyd Teal, and John Handsley. These people came
from the Eastern States and the Old Country; consequently, were a
mixture of various nations.
     Upon their arrival, all the hardships and realities of a pioneer life
were upon them. The "Giant Oak" stood king of the forest, and
defied the "Woodman's ax." At once it was to be seen that there
was life for a struggle, and prosperity for continued effort.  Making
bare their muscles to the labor, and with wills determined to know the
best or worst of it, log cabins sprang up like mushrooms from a hot bed,
and passed away like fairies in the morning dew-drops, giving place to
the hewed log-house, and eventually to the unique frame and brick
architectural dwellings of the present day and generation, as the harvest 
of the fallow, broken by the wooden mouldboard as it was directed 
by the muscle that received sustenance from the hand and horse
grist mill, and toated upon the pack saddle, together with the venison,
the bear and the turkey, nature's provision for man's coming. In those
pioneer days, the sickle was thrust, the flail was wielded or the oxen
trod out the grain, which was fanned by the sheets of pioneer couches,
for twenty-five cents per bushel, in trade.
     Corn was plowed with the rudest plows for twelve and a half cents
in trade. Tea and coffee were luxuries that was too expensive to be
often indulged in; upon Sunday or a holiday they might be allowed.
Yet at their log rollings and house and barn raisings we still can catch
a breath of their hilarity and neighborly feeling, and we are often 
constrained to say, "They enjoyed themselves more than we do now,"
never taking a thought that then they had no time to quarrel with each
other, or look up the intricate points of law and push a law suit. They
were busily employed.
     The most of the land in this township was entered directly, by the
citizens themselves, at $1.25 per acre. Some of the southern part came
through the hands of Buckingham and Sturgess.
     It is creditably stated that of those who took up land through 
Buckingham, many were unable to pay for it, and some could no more than


pay the interest on the money they borrowed from him, or was due on
back payments, the enormous interest of twenty per cent, being charged
by him for money invested, or upon back pay for their farms, purchased 
of him at from $5.00 to $10.00 per acre. In consequence of this they
were obliged, many of them, to sell out the very land they had doubly
earned and made fruitful by their toil, in many cases saving a mere
pittance from years of hard labor. Hence it comes that, few of the first
settlers or their children remain to this day in the southwestern part of
the township.
     It is difficult to tell now, where the first mill was built, but it is quite
likely it was upon South Fork creek, in about 1817, by Frank Harris.
That part of the township was afterward made a part of Pleasant township, 
where a more complete history of the mill is given.
     Levi Little, who once lived upon the present site of Porterville, in an
early day had a hand mill where they used to grind all night, and in
that length of time could grind about two bushels of corn, three or four
bushels of buckwheat, or one and one half bushels of wheat. The burr
was small and turned by means of a pin fastened near the edge upon
the top. They turned with one hand and fed it with the other. It was
afterward turned to a horse mill.
     It is claimed by some that the first mill was built upon the head
waters of Black's Fork creek, by a man by the name of Fate, who 
afterward sold it to Petit. At this mill they ground corn, buckwheat and
wheat, and sawed lumber. A man by the name of Underhill once had
a horse mill on the line between Perry and Morgan counties.  One of
the oldest mills was built by Levi T. Deaver, near the edge of the
township, not far from Deavertown, of Morgan county.
     There is now no mill running in the township, all having gone
     For a better class of work, and quicker returns, the farmers often
went to Zanesville on horseback to mill, via the cow paths, riding one
horse and leading another, which wore the pack saddle and carried
most of the grain.
     In 1818, as above stated, this township held its first election, and the
names given as the first settlers, were the first voters, or at least most
of them were voters here at that time. Then the ballot was cast for
the first Justice of the Peace, who in all probability was Samuel Ogburn.
At that time the votes were polled as they have been ever since, some
place, and in some kind of a building, upon the sixteenth and school
section of the township. If Ogburn was not the very first, he was
among the first to hold that office. Upon the sixteenth section they
now have a township house where the votes are polled. The number
of votes cast in 1882 was two hundred, not varying but little from that
number at any time. It is said that David Hearing was the first man
married in this township.
     This township has no railroads nor pikes. The Cincinnati & 
Muskingum Valley, a branch of the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati & St. Louis
Railway, passes near its northern boundary at McLuney.
     As James Black is considered the first settler, it is altogether 
probable that around him gathered the first neighborhood, and thereby the
first schools were held in that neighborhood, on a farm owned at the


time by Jesse Simmer, and now owned by Ephraim Bennett. The first
school teachers there were, first of all, Abraham Striker. Samuel
Younkin soon after. Robert Sandburn taught in 1820, and Thomas
Petit in 1821. They all taught in the log cabin school house, so 
frequently described in this history, that a repetition here would be to 
increase the monotony of the story. The public school system was adopted 
as soon as practicable, and as is shown in the county history.
     There is now in this township six sub-school districts, and in each
there is a good, substantial frame school house, where at least an average 
term of school of six months is kept up each year, the teachers receiving 
their pay from the public school fund. There are one hundred
and forty-eight male and one hundred and forty-eight female scholars

     CHURCHES.---Fletcher Chapel is of the Methodist Episcopal 
denomination, and is commonly known as the Holcomb church. It is the
oldest church we now have any knowledge of in this township, and was
probably organized in about 1815, and met in private houses previous
to 1820 to 1825, at which time they built a log church on Joseph Holcomb's 
farm. In private houses they meet at George Reed's, John
Fate's and Joseph Holcomb's. The first members were John Fate and
and wife, Joseph Holcomb and wife, Mrs. George Reed, Patton Ferson
and wife, Thomas Hollingshead and wife, Asher Holcomb, who was
the first class class leader, and a few others. The first preachers were
Rev. Samuel Hamilton and Rev. Cornelius Springer. They were afterward 
supplied by the Ohio Conference, and were known to be in the
Zanesville district, and in Deavertown circuit until 1882, when a change
was made, and it became one of four appointments of which the Rev.
Raymond Griffith is pastor, but is still in Zanesville district. Previous
to the change they for many years past had preaching once in three
weeks, but since that they have preaching alternate Sundays. The old
log church was supplanted in 1846 by a frame building that is now
     The first Sunday school met in the log house and was kept up until
about 1867, only during the summer season; since that time they have
continued during the whole time, and now number about fifty scholars,
with M. G. Sayre as Superintendent. Charles Crider, Ephraim Bennett, 
Bartholomew Longstreth and William Sayre are class leaders of
the church, and there are about seventy members.
     Pleasant Grove M. E. Church is commonly known as the Tatman
Church, and is situate in the southeastern portion of the township, near
Joseph Wallace's farm. It was organized in about from 1832 to 1837,
and first met in Bartholomew Tatman's house on the farm now owned
by Joseph Wallace. Bartholomew Tatman and wife, one McClannahan 
and wife, Samuel Ogburn, one Mr. Iden and some others, were
the first members. B. Tatman was likely the first class leader. The
first ministers were Samuel Harvey and Samuel Hamilton, and have
since been supplied by the Ohio Conference.
     Soon after their organization, they built a hewed log church hard
by the site of the present frame church, which took its place in about
1861, built under the pastorate of Rev. Joseph Barringer. There are


now about sixty communicants, with John M. Holcomb and Isaac
Cooper as class leaders.
     The first Sunday school was organized in about 1867, and met only
during the summer season until 1881, when it was continued during the
year, and up to the present time. There are now about fifty scholars
     This charge belonged to the Deavertown circuit until 1882, when it
was changed and put into the Millertown circuit.
     Bethel M. E. Church was organized about, 1837, with James Moore,
Elias Moore, William Moore, Urias Moore. John Handsley and family,
Alexander McClannahan, and some of the Petits as first members.
James Moore was the first class leader. The first preachers were John
Reed and Samuel Hamilton. They first worshipped in a log school
house near where they afterward built a hewed log church.
     That house stood until about 1845, when the society having removed
to Porterville charge, the house went down or was moved away, but
the cemetery is still kept up.
     In a very early day there was a class organized in the vicinity of
where the United Presbyterian church now stands, and near which
they built a church, now remembered as the Teal church; but for some
unknown reason, and at a date unknown, they disorganized. It was a
pioneer church, no doubt. Some time previous to 1854 the Methodist
Episcopal church organized a class in section 16, and met at first at
private houses. Rezen Hammond and wife, James Allen and wife,
Alexander Burgess and family, Bernard Smith, who was the first class
leader, Eliza Koons, and others, were the first members; about twelve
or fifteen in number. In 1854 they moved the Teal church from where
it stood and rebuilt it on the farm of Rezen Hammond, where they
worshiped until the time of the late rebellion, when differences of opinion 
split the society, and it became disorganized, some joining at the
Holcomb church, while others went to near Porterville, and, with others, 
formed what is known as the Christian Union church. The Hammond 
church, by which name it was usually called, held Sunday school
for several summer seasons, during its organization.
     ZION.---In about 1847, there was organized a Disciple church, near
Porterville, with Daniel Rusk at the head, which continued for a few
years, when it was changed and became a Christian denomination.
     The Disciples, and other Christian people, had built a log house,
for general church purposes, but it appears that a deed for the lot was
made to the Christian denomination, who still hold the deed. How
long either the Disciples, or Christians kept up their organization, is
unknown, but together they held meetings until the time of the late 
rebellion, at which time the Christian Union church was organized, 
taking the place of the others. In 1868 they supplanted the log church by
a neat frame building, where they still hold services. It was changed
to the Christian Union denomination, with Rev. Ammon Biddison as
their pastor. Simultaneous with the organization of the church Sunday
school was commenced, and is still continued with an attendance of
twenty-five or thirty persons.
     Porterville Methodist Episcopal church was organized in the old log
church, where the Zion now stands, under the pastorate of Rev. Benjamin 


Ellis, in 1833, and in 1856 they built a frame church edifice in 
Porterville, under the direction of Rev. Sheets and Rev. Jno. Gregg. 
The first organization consisted of about thirty members; among whom 
were Jno. Bell, who was the first class leader, and his wife, one Bullick 
and wife. Jacob Brock and wife, Mrs. Abi Butt, Mary Skinner, Adam 
Dennis and wife, and at that time, the Bethel charge, west of this place, 
was disbanded, and most of that membership moved here. The first 
church-house stood until 1881, when a neat new frame church was built 
in its stead, at a cost of $1,975.00. Rev. G. P. Fry was pastor during 
its building. They now have a membership of about eighty, with Rev. 
R. H. Griffith as pastor, and George Holcomb, J. S. King and Marian 
Newlon as class leaders. Sunday School was organized at the time 
they first occupied their own church, with Jno. Ball as Superintendent, 
since which time it has been continued, and for several years past, during 
the whole year, and now has an average attendance of about 
thirty or forty scholars. Levi Aler is now Supertendent.
     GOSHEN UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.---In 1827, a society was 
formed in the vicinity of where the above church stands, known as the 
Associate Church, which so continued until 1868, at which time that 
body and the Associate Reform Church were united, and formed the 
United Presbyterian Church.
     The Associate Church was organized by Rev. John Walker. In 
1839 they built a church-house, under the pastorate of Rev. David 
Lindsay, which stood until 1877, when a larger frame house was built 
in its stead, which still stands, the ground being leased by W. C. 
Moore for as long as it is used for church purposes.
     W. C. Moore and wife, Nancy Moore. Mary Moore, James Beard 
and wife, Mrs. Jane Rusk, Miss Feckner, Mrs. Margaret Adams, 
Robert N. Moore and wife, Martha Moore, Margaret Moore, Susannah 
Moore and Robert R. Moore, were first members. From 1827 to the 
time of building the first church, they met in houses and barns, and 
many times at Robert Moore's, sen. W. C. Moore was the first Elder. 
There are now twenty-two members, with Jno. Taylor. James L. 
Moore and Robert N. Moore as elders. The largest membership they 
have ever had was about fifty or fifty-five souls. Sunday school was 
first organized in 1877, when James L. Moore was Superintendent, and 
had about thirty scholars. They now have about sixty scholars, and 
Jno. Taylor is Superintendent.  Previous to 1877 they had Sunday 
school only a part of the time. They now have school every summer, but 
do not continue during the winter season.
     PORTERVILLE.—The town was laid out by John Porter in 1848, in the 
treme eastern edge of the township, and on the dividing ridge, before 
referred to, from which the water sheds both north and south.
     This is a village, or hamlet rather, of about forty souls, beautifully 
situated, in which health, the greatest temporal blessing vouchsafed to 
humanity, is abundantly enjoyed. It is surrounded by the most desirable 
farming community of the township, as the hills seem not quite so 
rugged. From here to every point of the compass, stretches out before 
admirers of nature, hill and dale, forming every variety of scenery. 
Soon after it was platted, Jno. Adams opened, in Porterville, a general


merchandise store, and a postoffice was established, receiving mail by
horseback carrier from McConnellsville; the mail now is carried in the
same manner but from Rendville, in Monroe township. The stores have
changed hands several times since Adams first opened the business.
There is now one store of general merchandise kept by P. W. Newlon,
and a furniture and undertaking room, kept by E. Hearing. It has one
church and blacksmith shop.
     In 1870 there was erected, in the extreme north edge of the township, 
near McLuney, a potter shop, where all kinds of common stone
ware is manufactured. It employs several hands, and makes seven
hundred gallons of ware per week. A great deal of the first ware made
here was shipped to Maryland and Virginia, but it is now wholesaled
at McLuney station.
     The facilities for manufacturing in this vicinity are not excelled any
place, as everything is found near at hand, except salt.
     There is a claim made that a pioneer by the name of Dusenberry
settled on Bear Run, in Bearfield township, in 1802. If this be correct,
it is undoubtedly the first settlement in the township, and one of the first
in the county.
     James Moore, of Bearfield township, was the inventor and operator
of the first portable steam saw mill ever run. He had an eight-horse
power saw mill, and employed a firm in Zanesville to build him a light
engine, such as he directed. He invented the attachments, set up the
machinery, and operated the mill for eight or ten years. It was the
first portable steam saw mill in the world. William Moore, a brother
of James, also had an interest in the mill. The well-known Zanesville
mills, which have been shipped all over the world, are all of a later
date than the Moore mill. The portable mill was not only the conception 
of a Perry county man, but it did its first work in Bearfield
township, Perry county.

     The population of Bearfield in 1880 was 997.


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