HISTORY OF PERRY COUNTY
Hopewell was originally organized as a political township, about 1810. The source from whence the name was derived, does not appear to be known, but it is worthy of note, that two neighboring townships ---one in Licking and the other in Muskingum---bear the same name. A majority of the early settlers were Pennsylvania Germans, who were, in religion, Lutherans, German Reformed and Tunkers or Dunkards. There is a claim that one Ridenour, whose first name has not been obtained, was the first settler of the township, but this is by no means certain, and it now seems to be impossible to determine with any considerable degree of accuracy, who was, in reality, the first permanent settler. It is evident, however, that the Ridenours, Zartmans, Swineharts, Cooperriders, Skinners, Strawns, Helsers, Bowmans and Basores, were among the earlier settlers. The following named persons were residents of the township, as early as 1816 or 1817: Asa Wilson, John Jonas, James Bogle, James Dean, George Stockbarger, Wm. Armstrong, Holmes Bogle, Benjamin Shelley, Daniel Nunnemaker, John Basore, Peter Eversole, Charles Hamisfar, John Helser, Joseph Ferguson, Cornelius Skinner, Henry Warner, David Boyer, Alexander Zartman, George Gordon, Henry Walters, John Strawn, John Helser, William Skinner, Jacob Ridenour, Philip Rousculp, Wm. Dannison, Thomas Tipton, Daniel Parkinson, Jacob Keefover, Wm. King, George Shelley, Sen., James Ramsey, Jacob Fought, Isaac Fickle, Daniel Fickle, John Swinehart, Lewis Wilson, John Cooperrider, Adam Cover, Robert Herron, Henry Zartman, John Daniels, Joseph Wheatcraft, Edward Wheatcraft. Jonathan Franks, Adam Wiseman, George Swinehart, John Ridenour, Isaac Wilson, Martin Ridenour, Andrew Smith, Henry Fought, Isaac Ridenour, Benjamin Overmyer, James Wilson, Jacob Mechling, William Bogle, Jeremiah Strawn, Lewis Ridenour, John C. Strawn, John Gordon, Thomas Strawn, Bernard Bowman, Robert Chalfant, Thomas Benjamin, John Sturgeon, Thomas Cowen, Christian Darsham, Thomas Kendall, Abisha Danison, Henry Walters, Peter Rison, Jared Danison. Hopewell is a full congressional township, or six miles square, as originally surveyed. It lies in the Muskingum valley, and is watered by the north branch of Moxahala (commonly called Jonathan's Creek,) and tributaries. It is a good township of land, the greater part of it sufficiently rolling to afford good drainage. The principal portion of is in a good state of cultivation and is chiefly devoted to grain, stock raising, and wool growing. Considerable fruit is also grown in certain sections of it. A small portion of it is hilly. Previous to the railroad era, the greater part of the surplus products
was taken in wagons to Newark and Zanesville. Wheat was the principal export. The Newark, Somerset and Straitsville Railroad was built through the township in 1871, and there are now two railway stations in it, Glenford and Chalfants. The projected Columbus and Eastern Railroad is to pass through this township, in a little different direction from the Newark, Somerset and Straitsville, though following the line of this road a part of the way. The township will have good facilities for marketing all surplus products of every description. There is considerable good limestone rock in Hopewell; also an abundance of valuable glass rock, which has been quarried and shipped to distant places, and used in the manufacture of glass more than sufficient to prove its quality and value. There is some talk of a glass manufactory at or near Glenford. One of the most important local features of Hopewell, is what is generally known as the "Old Fort," situated not far from Glenford. It is, in fact, quite a curiosity, and to all persons interested in such matters, well worth going to see. The Fort was, formerly, a popular resort for pic-nic parties from neighboring villages. It has also been visited by antiquarians and other investigators, and some account of it has found its way into newspapers and books. John H. Shearer, now editor and publisher of the Marysville (Ohio) Tribune, when editor of the Somerset Post, in this county, visited and inspected the famous spot, and with care and particularity made out a full description, which is hereto appended: "Here, within two and one-half miles square, are many wonderful works of art, the relics of a race of beings who have long ago disappeared from the earth, and who have left no other monuments behind them to tell who they were or where they existed. These ancient works consisted principally of circular, semi-circular and oblong Forts and trenches, singularly joined together, for what purpose God only knows; they are mathematically laid out, and may have served those who built them either as a defence against hostile neighbors, or as a means of recreation. They are singular enough indeed and cannot fail to fill the mind of the beholder with deep interest in regard to the nations who have left behind them these monuments of their existence. "Then there is the 'Stone Fort,' two miles south of the above mentioned Earthen Fort, which has been the wonder and admiration of mankind over all other ancient fortifications. It is situated on a very high eminence, perhaps the highest in Hopewell township. The ascent to it on either side is fully a fourth of a mile, if not more, and very abrupt and rocky. On the top of this hill there is a level plain, of about twenty-five acres, of as beautiful land as can be found any where in the township. On the outer edge of this plain, and where the land begins to descend, there is a long wall of stone averaging in size from a brickbat to a large bucket. "At one period, judging from the quantity of stone, this wall must have been eight or ten feet high, sufficient to debar a foe from entering. The walls, however, are demolished, the stones thrown down and scattered, and many of them have been hauled away we learn for various purposes. But still there are enough there yet to show that the work has been one of much labor.
"The entrance to the fort, which is on the southeastern side, is cut through a solid sand rock, the distance of one hundred feet or more, and ascends up into the Fort nearly in an angle with the hill. It is about eight feet wide and perhaps fifteen feet deep. The mouth of this lane or entrance is nearly covered by a large rock, which appears to have been detached from the main ledge by some convulsion of nature and removed some thirty feet to its present bed. A few rods west of this entrance there is another entrance of about the same dimensions, and no doubt used for the same purpose. "On the extreme southeastern side of the Fort, where it runs to an obtuse angle, there is a door or opening, which leads off some fifty yards and connects with a small Earthen Fort. This latter Fort, which contains about half an acre, has been thrown up from the earth within, as the trenches are yet very visible, being at least three feet deep, notwithstanding the leaves, vegetation, etc., have been accumulating over them a thousand years, and perhaps much longer. We noticed a number of very large trees growing upon the walls of the 'Stone Fort,' and on the embankments of the 'Earthen Fort,' that were very old. We noticed one old red oak, in particular, could it speak it no doubt could tell a history of six or seven hundred years, and yet these works were constructed prior to the growing of this tree, and it may be, that generation of trees have grown and fallen over those walls, before this dates its existence. Since these works have been constructed, the summit of this hill has evidently been fearfully convulsed by some natural power. "In numerous places, large masses of rock, bearing portions of the wall, have been detached from the main rock, and removed fifty feet from their ancient positions. The lanes or entrances into the Fort have no doubt been caused by the same power. The numerous breaks and fissures in those otherwise solid rocks, are evidence enough of this fact. "The rock, or a very large portion of it, is conglomerate, a mixture of the white pebble and sand, and we picked up several specimens of marine conglomerate, or stone formed from shells, such as are usually found to compose the body of our black limestone. "About the middle of the 'Stone Fort,' there is a huge mound of rocks of the same size of those in the wall, and covering nearly the fourth of an acre of land. Its height is about thirty feet, though it is not as high as it anciently was. Man prompted by curiosity, has displaced the stone and disfigured the pile, expecting perhaps to find some hidden treasure deposited there. "What purpose this massive pile answered in the economy of its founders, we could not even conjecture. Our fancy led us to suppose that it might have answered as a kind of 'King's Bench,' upon which the monarch of that ancient race occassionally ascended (if they had a monarch) and in the dignity of his power proclaimed to his subjects: 'I am King of this people !' We were equally at a loss to conjecture for what purpose the small Earthen Fort, which connects with the large one, could have been used, unless it answered as a kind of side pocket to store away provisions in. It does not look as though anything of particular utility had been connected with it, though we confess we are not a very good judge. But there the works are, the wonder and
admiration of mankind, of the eventful history of whose builders, not even a sentence is known beyond the diversity of the merest conjecture. "Then added to these interesting relics, a half a mile or so south are the Great Artificial Mound, the Pools, the Standing Rocks and many other objects of a deeply interesting character, where a party can spend a whole day with pleasure and profit. "Upon the whole, these regions are fraught with peculiar interest, especially to the antiquarian, and to those who love to look upon the luxuriant, wild, and romantic scenery of Nature." Hopewell Baptist congregation was organized at a very early day--- probably as early as 1812---but a church edifice was not erected until a few years later, and was built in the southwestern part of Hopewell township, on the road leading from Zanesville to Lancaster---originally Zane's Trace. Several of the original members of the church emigrated from Somerset county, Pennsylvania; among them, Thomas King, who subsequently became the first Representative of Perry county, and was afterwards an Associate Judge. Mr. King was an intelligent man, of sound judgment, and was frequently called upon to arbitrate difficulties between neighbors, and was a veritable "peace-maker." He had no children of his own, but he and his wife raised a large family, nevertheless, and did a father's and mother's part by all of them. A strict Baptist, he was not only tolerant but liberal in all matters pertaining to religion and the general diffusion of knowledge. On one occasion he was speaking in favor of granting the use of Hopewell Church for a general Sabbath-school, and his remarks were making an impression, when another old brother became somewhat excited and cried out "Jezebel." The Hopewell Church was the mother Baptist Church of the county, and nearly all the Baptist preachers of this part of the State preached there at one time or another. The society was a very strong one for forty years or more, but of later years accessions have not been equal to the deaths and removals, and the society has diminished in numbers. The Baptist farmers were well to do and liberal, and the Muskingum Baptist Association was frequently held with the Hopewell congregation, and all visitors entertained free of charge. The cemetery, adjacent to the Hopewell Church, is one of the oldest in the county---probably older than any at Somerset. What is known as Shelley's, or Good Hope Lutheran Church, was organized and built in 1818, though there had been preaching at private houses several years previous to that date. The names of Rev. Jacob Leist, Rev. Jacob Foster, and Rev. Andrew Henkel, are given as among the early preachers. Rev. Foster came to this part of the country about 1805, and died about 1815. Rev. Andrew Henkel, one of the pioneer pillars of the Lutheran Church in Ohio, came to what is now Perry county about 1812, having been ordained to the ministry at New Market, Virginia, a little prior to this date. Rev. Jacob Leist remained a few years and then removed to another county. All the original members of this church are probably dead. The names of Jonathan Franks, John Cooperrider, George Shelley, George Deffenbaugh, and John Cochranbaugh, are given as among the first members. Rev. Jacob Leist preached in private houses prior to the coming of Rev. Andrew Henkel. Among these houses were those of Lewis and John Cooperrider.
St. Paul's Lutheran Church, popularly known as Smith's Church, was also organized in 1818, under the ministration of Rev. Andrew Henkel. The following names are given as among the early members: Paul Bean, Peter Hetrick, William Mechling, John Swinehart, Martin Ridenour, Philip Rousculp, Isaac Ridenour, John Ridenour, Alexander Zartman, Jacob Mechling, Godfrey Weimer, Lewis Ridenhour, Frederick Mechling. The church edifice was built in common by the Lutheran and Reform churches, and is occupied by both denominations. The Reform congregation, which uses the St. Paul Church edifice jointly with the Lutherans, was also organized in 1818, or about that time. The compiler is indebted to Isaac Zartman for the following list of names among the organizers and pioneers of this church: Andrew Smith, John Basore, John Vocht, Jacob Vocht, Alexander Vocht, John Daniel, Henry Basore, and the wives of all or nearly all of these persons. This has been an active, living church from the time of its organization. The land on which the church stands, consisting of four acres, was donated to the church, or churches, for school, cemetery and church purposes, by Jacob Mechling, in those days considered a wealthy citizen, who came at an early day and secured homes for each of a large family of children, was the pioneer Justice of the Peace, a liberal supporter of religion, and a worthy exemplar of virtue, frugality and thrift. One-half acre was added by Andrew Smith, of the Reform Church. There is a thriving Methodist Episcopal congregation in Hopewell, commonly known as the Chalfant Church, a sketch of which is given in connection with the Methodist Episcopal Church at Somerset, with which charge it is connected. The robbery of Emanuel Bear, of this township, in June, 1874, and the apprehension, trial and final conviction of the robbers, constitutes an interesting chapter in the criminal annals of the county. Mr. Bear was a well to do farmer, about sixty years of age, and at the time, himself, daughter, an aged lady, and a Miss Rousculp, were sleeping in the farm house, which he owned and made his residence. Three men wearing masks, entered the house in the night, struck a light, covered Mr. Bear with their revolvers, and demanded to know where he kept his money. He declined to tell, but the daughter was frightened into disclosing its whereabouts. One of the robbers began to look for the money, while the others attended to Mr. Bear, threatening him with instant death if he attempted to arise from the bed. The money---about $600 ---was found and appropriated, together with a watch and a few other articles. Before leaving, the robbers threw something into Mr. Bear's eyes, which for awhile blinded and almost crazed him, and prevented any alarm or pursuit until his assailants had made good their escape. One Blackburn, a notorious desperado, who was suspected of having been connected with the robbery, was arrested in Dresden, where he resided, and imprisoned in the calaboose; but he watched his chance, shot and wounded the marshal, and made his escape. Blackburn subsequently wrote to some one, that Isaac and James Linton, of Dresden, Muskingum county, Ohio, and "another fellow" were the guilty persons. The two Lintons were then arrested, brought to New Lexington, had a preliminary trial, and were committed to jail to await the action of
the grand jury. Before the time for court had arrived, they dug a tunnel from their cell under the foundation walls of the jail, and thus made their escape. In the course of time, Blackburn was again arrested and incarcerated in the New Lexington jail, to await his trial at court. In company with two other prisoners, he cut through the brick wall near the ceiling of the jail into the Auditor's office, from which all three made their exit by a window; the two other prisoners made good their escape, but just as Blackburn got outside the window he was discovered and seized by the Deputy Sheriff, and after a desperate struggle, and assistance arriving, conveyed back to his quarters in the jail. Blackburn was, at the ensuing term of court, indicted, convicted and sentenced to the penitentiary for a long term. The Lintons, who had fled to Indiana, were subsequently arrested, brought back to New Lexington, Ohio, indicted, convicted and sent to the State prison. At the trial of the Lintons, Blackburn was brought from Columbus to appear as a witness in the case. He testified that he, Isaac and James Linton were the persons who perpetrated the crime. It was with some difficulty that Blackburn had been convicted, although the accused had been seen in the neighborhood where the robbery had been committed; but with his testimony, added to that of others, there was no chance for the Lintons to escape. The pursuit of the accused persons, who were finally convicted for their offense, by Mr. Bear, the Sheriff and Prosecuting Attorney of this county, may be regarded as one of the most indefatigable and efficacious any where recorded in the criminal annals of the State. Without the extraordinary persistence of Mr. Bear, and the untiring perseverance of the officers alluded to, no one would have ever been punished for the crime. Glenford, a small village that has grown up since the building of the Newark, Somerset and Straitsville Railroad, is the principal town in Hopewell township. M. Estella Mechling, an intelligent schoolgirl, eleven years of age, describes Glenford as follows: It is a small town, situated in Hopewell township, Perry county, Ohio, on both sides of Jonathan's Creek, and on the Newark, Somerset and Straitsville Railroad. It is noted for its large sand stone quarries, glass stone and building stone, and limestone for the manufacturing of iron. This limestone is shipped to Newark, Shawnee and other places. Glenford has a population of seventy to eighty, it has two dry goods stores, one school examiner, one grocery, one dress making and fancy store, one carpenter shop, one shoe and boot shop, one blacksmith shop, one gristmill, run by water or steam; one warehouse for wheat, corn, etc.; one tool house, one watering tank, one express office, one post office, one section house, two boarding houses, one sewing machine agent, one agent selling reapers, mowers, wagons and buggies, one physician, one school teacher and two engineers. The town is noted for its beautiful surroundings, its rolling hills, and the hill of the Old Fort, less than a mile south of Glenford. This hill and Fort can be seen from town and is so much of a curiosity [so ancient its date is not known---Compiler] a circle of stone thrown up three or four feet high, inclosing more than twenty-seven acres of land, a big pile of stone within the circle and an entrance to all, between two high rocks. It used to be a pleasant place for the scholars at the school near by. There
is a large grove near town, and this is one of the most beautiful places for festivals, Sunday school, or other celebrations, political meetings and pleasure seeking parties. The passenger train passes through Glenford four times every day, Sunday excepted, two local trains and about four coal trains daily. Chalfant, a small village and railway station, on the Newark, Somerset and Straitsville Railroad, is situated between Glenford and Somerset, and has a railway station, post office, store, blacksmith shop and wagon shop, with a population of probably less than fifty. An anecdote, illustrative of the early times, is still related by the older citizens of Hopewell. Just as Rev. Henkel had pronounced the benediction dismissing the congregation, one Sunday, assembled at the house of Lewis Cooperrider, Jacob Strawn, afterward renowned as the cattle king of Illinois, requested the preacher to say to the congregation that he had trapped a large wolf, which request the minister complied with. Nearly all of the men present, and not a few of the women and children, went to the place indicated, and enjoyed a show not witnessable in these latter days. One of the hind legs of the wolf, a fierce and desperate animal, was by some means dragged through the crack of the log trap, and his ham-string cut in twain with a sharp knife. Thus disabled, he was allowed to escape from the trap, when all the dogs, before apparently eager for a fight, showed cowardice except one, belonging to Jacob Mechling, and this one prevented the game from escaping, by his vigorous attacks, which exhibition of pluck brought to his aid the more timidly and cowardly of his associates, and the battle ended against the wolf, after an exciting contest of some minutes. About 1815 or 1816, Henry and Andrew Walters, John Swinehart, Jonathan Franks and Peter Mechling, having been informed that a den of cub wolves had been captured among the rocks of Section 9, and were still left alive, these men assembled to capture older wolves. One by one the young ones were held up by the ears, when some of them would utter a howl of distress. This was kept up until many wolves would skulk into view, but with such caution that only the mother of the cubs was slain. William Mechling was then Justice of the Peace, and the scalp of the old one, and all the cubs bodily, were presented to him, for the certificate which he had to sign in order to draw the premium allowed for such scalps. Brush burning at night would, so late as 1815, set the wolves to howling all around so frightfully as to drive the workmen into their cabins for security. The last of Bruin was seen as late as 1817, not as a pemanent settler, but as a rover in quest of information and booty. Hopewell township, according to the census of 1880, had a population of 1,284.