Thorn township is, as originally surveyed, just six miles square. It
is the north-western township of the county, and is bounded on the north
by Licking, and on the west by Fairfield county. It derived its name
from the numerous thorn bushes, bearing red berries, which grew in
early times adjacent to the little lakes near the northern line of the
township. There are other theories of the origin of the name of the
township, but the one herein given is generally believed to be the correct 
one. Thorn was organized as a political township, about 1804, by
the authority of the Commissioners of Fairfield county, of which it was
then a part.
     Nearly all of the township belongs to the drift formation, and the
soil, as a whole, is highly productive. The water system may be denominated 
a little complex, when compared with any of the other townships 
of the county. Jonathan's Creek, the northern branch of the Moxahala, 
drains most of the eastern part of the township, and the northern
branch of Rush Creek, the western part. . Honey Creek empties into
the Reservoir. Walnut Creek heads in the western part of the township, 
and flows into the Scioto river. So it will be observed, a small
portion of the township belongs to the Scioto Valley. The natural 
outlet of the lakes, the nucleus of the Reservoir, was into the Licking
river; hence, that part of the township which is drained into the Reservoir, 
is in the Muskingum Valley. When the Reservoir was constructed, 
as a feeder to the Ohio Canal, an outlet was made into the Scioto,
therefore some persons claim that all the land drained into the Reservoir 
by Honey Creek and other streams, is in the Scioto Valley. This
is a fine point, and of no practical importance. There is not the least
doubt, however, about Walnut naturally flowing into the Scioto, and,
consequently, all the lands drained by it are, indisputably, in the Scioto
Valley. With the exception of the part that belongs to the Scioto system, 
the land of Thorn is nearly equally divided between the Muskingum 
and Hocking vallies.
     The surface, in the western and northern parts of the township, is
usually denominated level, though it is nearly all rolling enough to
drain. The eastern and south-eastern portion is hilly, and yet of such a
character as to be excellent farming land, and interspersed with vallies
that are very rich. The level land in the northern part of the township
is also extremely fertile. In the richness of its soil and yield of farm
products, Thorn excels any other township in the county, and is, in
fact, surpassed by but very few in the State.
     Oak and chestnut were the prevailing timber in the hilly parts, and
in the valley parts ash, maple, beech and walnut. There was a large


amount of hickory in various parts of the township. Wild plums, wild
cranberries and the red thorn berries, already mentioned, were in early
times very plentiful in the northern part, in the neighborhood of the 
little lakes. The land where they grew is now nearly all covered by the
waters of the Reservoir.
     The little natural lakes, referred to, consisted of pure, clear water,
and were well stocked with fish, principally sun, cat and salmon. There
was a number of lakes or ponds in other parts of the township, that
contained water the year round, except in July and August, when they
dried up, and were supposed to breed fever and ague. They have all,
or nearly all, been drained long since, and their beds furnish a rich,
black soil, highly productive.
     The early settlers of Thorn came principally from Pennsylvania and
Virginia, and a large number of them were either Revolutionary soldiers, 
or their descendants. As a matter of course, they were generally 
poor, and lived just long enough to clear away a heavy, dense forest, 
and convert a wilderness into a field of profitable agriculture. Any
of these old settlers, who died out of debt, leaving forty acres of land
to each child, was considered well off. Very few of these old pioneers
lived to see the railroad era, and the comforts and enjoyments of later
     The permanent settlements began in several places, about the same
time, without any one seeming to know that the others were there.
The sound of an ax, the tinkling of a cowbell, or the barking of a dog,
was often the first thing to reveal to the lonely settler that he had neighbors 
not far away. These settlements commenced in 1801 or 1802. accounts 
as to the exact time conflicting. Of the first settlers were George
Stinchcomb, Sr., Daniel Snider, George Valentine, ____ Hooper, John
Humberger; and soon came the Neals, Zartmans, Friends, Fishers
and others in quick succession.
     Here is a list of all who can be recalled up to about the years 1815-
16: George Stinchcomb, Jr., Daniel Snider, George Valentine, Jacob
Overmyer, Joel Strawn, John Nesbit, Robert Henderson, Daniel Kemper, 
John Smith, Benjamin Moore, Jesse Stevenson, Jacob Miller, William 
Karr, Henry Bowman, Geoffrey Weimer, Henry Boyer, Alexander 
Morrison, Solomon Brown, James, Henthorn, Thomas R. Johnston,
Jacob Anspach, Peter Humberger, Michael Fisher, Hugh McMullen,
Peter Zartman, George Long, Jacob Cover, Christian King, Christian
Foster, John Humberger, George Parkinson, David Thompson, Adam
Fisher, Adam Bogenwright, David Helser, John Fisher, Philip Crist,
David Sellers, William Stall, John Ortman, Samuel Henderson, Jacob
Crist, Christian Hoover, Joseph Cooper, Samuel Ortman, Joseph Bowman, 
Thomas Curry, Jonathan Roberts, John Fisher, Andrew Foster,
Israel Penrod, Peter Cool, Jacob Long, Jacob Wiseman, Andrew
Cooperrider, Henry Baker, James Henderson, Joseph Good, Benjamin
Good, John Crist, William Fullerton, Eli Watson, Abram Sain, Peter
Rarick, John Henthorn, James Neal, Joseph Henderson, Joseph 
Watkins, Jacob Hooper, Ezekiel Hooper, Henry Foster, Luke Johnston,
John Brown, John McMullen, John Kendall, William Taylor, Edward
     According to Dr. Scott's History of Fairfield County, published in


1876, the following named persons were all citizens and tax-payers in
Thorn township in 1806, and no doubt they were, for he took the names
from the official records. There is no telling how much territory Thorn
embraced at that time, but many of the names are unmistakable
Thorn township names, as the township is constituted at present. Here
is the list of tax-payers in Thorn for 1806:
     Edward Anderson, John Bartholmew, Joseph Barnes, David Brooks,
David Baker, James Black, Paul Bean, John Bearshore, John Binkley,
John Harris, Uriah Hall, Henry Humberger, David Heller, John Humberger, 
Peter Humberger, James Henderson, Jacob Hooper, Daniel
Huber, Henry Neff, James Neel, Robert Orr, George Ogg, John Parr,
William Ream, John Ramsey, Mathias Redingur, Mathias Ripple,
Henry Bowman, John Berry, Mordecai Chalfant, Joseph Cooper, Jacob
Cooper, William Claypool, John Dixon, M. Dean, Leonard Emrick,
John Fisher, Jr., John Fisher, Joseph Ferguson, Joseph Fickle, John
Good, Widow Graham, Charles Howard, William Harris, Edward
Harris, George Huffman, Christian Hoover, John Johnston, William
Johnston, John James, John King, Peter Livingston, Clelland Meek,
Mr. McMullen, Frederick Myers, Frederick McInturft. Andrew Myres,
George Mager, Adam Myers, John Myers, John McMullen, James
Mervin, Thomas McOwen, Jacob Ream, Ludwig Reddinger, John
Reason, S. Stockberger, Joel Strawn, Jacob Stotts, William Starret,
Peter Starkee, William Skiner, Andrew Smith, Peter Sane, William
Taylor, Michael Thorn, John Thompson, George Valentine, George
Weadman, Jacob Wiseman, John Weadman.
     A large majority of the settlers who came to Thorn previous to 1820,
were Pennsylvania Germans; and the German was, at first, the prevailing 
language in churches, schools and society. There were English
speaking settlers, of course, but German was more spoken than English, 
for a long while, but its use has died out. The common schools
are all English, and the youth, for a quarter of a century or more, have
been taught this language almost exclusively.
     The internal improvements of Thorn township, until 1871, consisted
of the common road only, but Millersport, in Fairfield county, is only a
short distance from the northwest corner of the township, and is situated
on the canal, and it became the place where most of the wheat was
sold. Brooke & Lewis, Thorn township merchants (one from Thornville 
and the other from New Salem), built a warehouse on the canal a
little east of Millersport, and, for several years, purchased nearly all
the surplus wheat of the township,which, in the '30s, and up into the
'40s, was very large, and the principal export, as the surplus corn was
nearly all sold to drovers, and fed on the ground; for, until cattle were
shipped East by the cars, there were large numbers from Southern
Ohio, Kentucky, and Northern Indiana, driven through this township
on the way to the Eastern market.
     The first mill was built on Jonathan's Creek, near where the old
Zanesville road crossed the stream. It was a small log building, with
one corner set on a stump. It was, for a number of years, a noted
place on the road between Zanesville and Lancaster. It is related that
a traveler,being directed at Zanesville to go by Cooper's mill, he kept
inquiring for the place all along the road, and which everybody seemed


to know. When he reached the noted mill he was very much disappointed,
and even disgusted, and expressed himself in very uncomplimentary 
language. He closed his remarks by saying he would go on
West; he had no call to stop there. Yet Coopers mill was a famous
place, in its day. Samuel Hite also erected a little spring run watermill, 
a sort of corn-cracker, where a fair article of corn meal was made.
He finally turned it into a churn-mill. There was also a horse or cattle
power mill on the Hooper place, that ground corn, and probably other
grain. Thomas Norris also erected a mill, of similar character, on the
Townsend Reed farm, where good corn meal was made. The early
settlers were all fond of corn bread. One year, when the wheat was
killed by frost in May, and the corn also gave out, the people lived on
chickens and early potatoes for several weeks; then roasting ears came,
and as soon as corn was hard enough to grate meal was grated, and
then corn cakes, milk, butter, and chickens made a meal good enough
for kings, and a very welcome one to the hard pressed pioneers.
     There were many good sugar camps in Thorn, and the sugar-
making season was a memorable one. The sugar was, in fact, one of the
principal forest trees. The pioneer girls and boys had jolly times,
gathering and boiling sugar water, and "stirring off." The little sugar
camp in the woods was quite a feature in early times, in Thorn township.
     Samuel Dixon brought the first colored person into the township.
He (Dixon) came from Virginia. "Peg" was a fine looking black
woman, of about twenty years of age. Next was the old man Perry
and his family, and Old Jerry. They were accustomed to attend prayer
meetings at New Salem church, where they often prayed in public,
fervently and devoutly, and in strains of intense earnestness, eliciting
many amens, and other tokens of approval, from the members of the
     In 1832, the Asiatic cholera raged fearfully in the central-southern
part of the township, and a large number of deaths occurred. George
Clum and William Friend, who lived in the cholera region, were about
the only grown male persons who did not take it; and yet, as long as
the dreadful scourge raged there, these two men visited the sick, the
dying, and prepared the dead for burial, neither of them sleeping in a
bed for several weeks, so constant and untiring were they engaged in
their self-sacrificing ministrations. Dr. William Trevitt then resided in
Thornville, distant five or six miles from the infected district. He was
a skillful physician, and saved every case he reached before the patient
got into a certain condition. He kept three horses constantly bridled
and saddled, and rode both day and night. Two of his horses dropped
dead under, the spur. He saved one of his patients after his horse
fell dead, though he ran a considerable distance with his saddle-bags on
his arm. If he had arrived five minutes later, it is believed, his patient;
would have died. After Henderson (for that was the patient's name)
got well. he went to Trevitt's office and inquired for his bill. Trevitt
turned to his book, and told him the ordinary charge of only two or
three dollars. Henderson asked him what his horse was worth. Trevitt 
told him that he had paid eighty dollars for him, only a few days
before. Thereupon Henderson took out his pocket-book and counted
out eighty-five dollars, and offered the money to Trevitt, who declined


to take any thing but his regular fee, which he took and put in his
pocket. Henderson then took out change so as to leave just eighty
dollars remaining, the price of the horse, which he left upon the counter,
with an emphatic remark, that that money belonged to Trevitt, and not
to him. The cholera raged fearfully for several weeks, and then 
disappeared as suddenly as it came. It was very bad in Newark, Licking
county, at the same time.
     As rich and populous as Thorn is, it was, for a long time, destitute 
of internal improvements, was off the main thoroughfares of travel
and commerce, and occupied a somewhat isolated position. Still, the
farmers managed to market their surplus products without any very
serious difficulty. There was the National pike only a few miles north,
and the Zanesville and Maysville pike, only a little further south.
There was the Ohio Canal, with a warehouse at Millersport, just over
the township line, in Fairfield county; and, with the one convenient
market, and the two other not distant outlets, the people managed to
get along comfortably and make money. There was an every other
day mail and hack line between Lancaster and Newark, passing by
way of Thornville; so, after these two places obtained railroads, the
inhabitants of Thorn could get away without much difficulty, when they
wished to make a railroad journey to distant parts of the country. Previous 
to the railroad era, they were even better situated, comparatively,
for they could reach a through line of stages at Jacksontown, only a
few miles north, or at Somerset or Rushville, not much farther south.
There was, at one time, a turnpike projected to run from Lancaster to
Newark, by the way of Thornville, and engineers surveyed the line.
The undertaking received no great encouragement, however, and was
soon abandoned. It is said that Samuel Hite, the old pioneer, was the
only man, through whose land the line was run, who was friendly to
the enterprise.
     There was, however, an ambition for a produce mart within the
limits of the township, and an effort was made to secure the same.
     The Licking Summit Reservoir had been constructed as a feeder to
the Ohio Canal, by means of high artificial embankments. This construction 
turned the three or four little natural lakes into one large body
of water, and also submerged much of the adjacent flat country.
     The "Licking Summit Reservoir Improvement" was the name of
an enterprise that was expected to bring Thorn township into direct
connection with the canal, and furnish a good home market for all 
surplus farm products. In pursuance of this idea, a boatway was cut
through the Reservoir from the feeder, some three miles northeast of
Millersport, on the Ohio and Erie Canal, to a point at the southeastern
extremity of the Reservoir, about one mile from Thornville. A two-horse 
tread-wheel boat was to tow canal boats to and fro along this 
boatway, a distance of several miles.
     Thornport was laid out, a large hotel and warehouse were speedily
constructed, and quite a little town sprung up as if by magic. Things
went on swimmingly for a season, and the strange craft plied regularly
between Thornport and the Feeder, on the Ohio and Erie Canal, carrying 
out the surplus grain products of the township and returning with
salt, groceries, hardware, dry goods, and other commodities. But just


as the only "seaport" of Perry promised to be a substantial success, if
not a "beauty and a joy forever," the wicked floods of adversity poured
in and quenched all the rising hopes of promise. One day as a canal-
boat was being towed in slowly through the delightful, placid waters,
and all earth and sky apparently as lovely and serene as the blue waters
of the lake itself, a storm suddenly loomed up in the northwestern sky,
and almost in a twinkling rain descended in torrents, forked lightnings
flashed, and the thunder rolled and jarred until even the big catfish at
the bottom of the lake were stunned. Worse than all for the hardy
seafarers, the winds blew a fearful hurricane, the waves of the agitated
lake tossed and rolled around as fearful as the waters of the Atlantic in
mid ocean. There could be but one result. The frail fleet was not
prepared to weather such a gale, and the whole concern was wrecked,
the boatmen thankful that they had escaped a watery grave. It is
probable that the boatmen who encountered this "storm at sea" carried
exaggerated reports of it to the men of the Ohio and Erie Canal, and
it is certain that no captain or men would venture out into the Reservoir
again; and thus ingloriously ended the inland navigation of Thorn
township, and the costly boat channel, scooped out with so much toil
and difficulty, became a desert waste of waters. Thornport went
quickly down as a consequence. The "banquet halls" of the big hotel
became deserted, and rats, weasels and minks played prisoners' base
in the commodious warehouse where had been safely stored thousands
of bushels of golden grain. If Oscar Wilde, who complains that this
American country has no ruins, could be led through the old hotel and
warehouse at Thornport, his ethereal, esthetic nature would be gladdened, 
and if his eyes could behold the wreck of the boats, he would
long to return to Europe no more.
     Thorn was not destined, however, to remain forever without internal
improvements. The railroad era came to her directly. A road bed
was made through the township in 1853, but no road was actually
secured and cars run, until 1871, when the Newark, Somerset, &
Straitsville was opened, and Thornport-one mile from Thornville---
made a station. Thornport was not to sleep in ruins forever, and a
new town has sprung up there. The old hotel, warehouse, and other
old buildings remain to represent the place as it was before the disastrous 
wreck of boats; but many new houses are near at hand to represent 
the new railroad town of to-day. The old and the new are there,
side by side, and the contrast is an impressive one. The Ohio Central
runs close along the western border of Thorn, and is nearer to many of
the inhabitants than the N. S. & S., which runs through the eastern
part of the township.
     When the richness and fertility of the soil is considered, it is a little
wonderful that so large a number of inhabitants left at an early day for
the northwestern section of the State. The fact is, the population
greatly increased along from 1828 to 1838, and this, with a highly favorable 
report of the region named, by those who knew it well, influenced
many to move where land was more plentiful, and the country less
thickly inhabited. Rev. Jacob Hooper, of Thorn, who, from 1820 to
1825 had been a missionary among the Wyandot Indians, brought
back such glowing accounts' of the richness of the Sandusky region,


that every year furnished its movers from Thorn to the new country.
Sandusky, Seneca, Hancock, Wyandot and Allen received the greater
part of the emigrants from Thorn. In Allen county, so many of the
Crists, Smiths, Stambaughs, Riebolts, Wisemans and others settled in
one part that they concluded to have a Thorn township named after the
old home in Perry. Near Fostoria are the Wisemans, Williamsons,
Hoopers, Foxes, Williamses, Norrises, Reeds, Stinchcombs and many
others, once all residents of Perry county.  Honey Creek, Seneca
County, was also noted for its Thorn township people. The Cooleys,
Valentines, Steels, Stinchcombs, Reeds, Crists, Davises, Teals, Camps,
Gafields and many others are from old Thorn.
     Some time in the Thirties there was a failure of crops in the Sandusky 
country, and Thorn having furnished such a large percentage
of the early settlers, responded with alacrity, and the contributions in
corn and flour were quite large. Although the people of Thorn were
then hard run, they were not slow in bringing in their offerings for the
suffering people of the Sandusky region, ranging from one hundred
pounds of flour down to a quart of corn meal. The contributions had
to be hauled to Sandusky by wagons, Findlay being one of the principal 
distributing points. Many a tear trickled down the cheeks of
the poorer class of people, as they brought in their little offerings of
meal, sincerely regretting that, by reason of their own pressing 
necessities, they could be no larger.
     Jacob Strawn, the Cattle King of Illinois lived in early times a little
distance northeast of Thornville. He was successful, but sold his farm
there and started West, saying he would be the richest man in his State
or nothing. He made his word more than good, for he became the
largest land owner in Illinois, and the largest cattle owner in the United
States at the time of his death. Strawn was waylaid and killed near
his own home twenty or more years since. It is not a little singular
that another Perry county man, John W. Iliff (Harrison township),
who died at Denver, Colorado, only a few years since, was, at his
death, the greatest cattle owner in the known world.
     John Fisher, a Pennsylvanian, was an odd genius in his way, and
at one time aspired to become the largest land owner in the township,
and did, at one time, actually own five sections of land running across
the township, and had it all paid for. He was carrying on negotiations
for the sixth section when the failure of a firm for whom he was a
heavy indorser, broke him up, and he was sold out by the sheriff. The
old man gathered a little from the wreck, and went to Indiana, but he
was too much broken down to rise again as a heavy land owner. The
acres that he once owned in Thorn township would be a large fortune
in this day.
     The politics of the township has always been Democratic, from the
days of Jackson to the present. The Democrats have usually numbered
about three to one of other parties. The breaking up of the Whig, the
organization of the Republican party, and the civil war, made some
personal charges, but the relative strength of the Democratic party 
remained about the same. It is also worthy of note, that the party 
rallied to the support of Horace Greeley, when he was a candidate for
President, as strongly as it did for Jackson, Polk, Buchanan, Tilden


and Hancock. For more than fifty years it has been the same unyielding, 
overwhelming Democratic township, though there are probably not
to exceed half a dozen men remaining there who voted for Jackson in
     The Indians came into the township quite frequently in early times,
to hunt bear. The borders of the little lakes, ponds and swamps,
were favorite haunts for that animal. There was a large swamp in the
Hooper region, where bears would congregate. When the Indians
would visit the neighborhood, to hunt bear, or for other purposes, they
would take possession more freely than was agreeable, but they never
disturbed anything but something to eat. There was an Indian trail
through the township, on the way to or from Washington, D. C., or
back and forth between the Indian towns on the Muskingum and Scioto.
The old Indian Spring, so called, was a little north of the house of
George Stinchcomb, Sr., and was walled up with split puncheon. The
Indians were fond of something good to eat, and did not confine their
diet to bear and dear meat. They could readily scent a bake-oven full
of pies, and when they were baked enough, they would take them out
and eat them after the style of some men of paler faces. They liked
to trade a sick dog for a well one; and if the sick dog got well, they
wanted him also. Some of the Indians were very kind and considerate; 
and when the fact is taken into consideration, that they mingled
freely with the early settlers and their families in Thorn, with no resultant 
tragedy, it goes far to establish the fact, that they were not naturally 
bloodthirsty wretches, but when waging war, carried it on as 
barbarians, which they were.
     The Reservoir has latterly become quite a place of public resort for
fishing, boating and gunning parties. Certain kinds of fish are plentiful 
in the Reservoir, and quite a number of persons make a regular
business of fishing. Visitors to the Reservoir are chiefly from Newark,
Lancaster, New Lexington and intermediate points. Boats are kept to
hire out to visitors, with men to row them, when it is desired. Rowing
is pleasant enough when the waters are calm and smooth; but when
the waves are rolling, the sport becomes unpleasant and even dangerous, 
and fatal accidents sometimes occur. Only a year or two since, a
party of several persons ventured out on a windy day, the boat capsized,
and three of them were drowned. The well known author, Emerson
Bennett, laid the plot of one of his famous Indian stories about the
original lakes here and neighborhood. How much actual truth, if any,
is contained in his romantic story of this region, it would be difficult to
     Bears were very numerous about the original lakes and swamps. 
Indians and whites alike made it a business to hunt and kill them. In
very early times, bears from other parts of the country were chased into
the swamps and low lands, where the Reservoir now is. They could
not always be followed up successfully, and sometimes their capture had
to be given up. There were bear chases or hunts in this part of the
township, as late as 1826 or 1827; but, about that time, this wild animal
of the forest was exterminated.
     The population of Thorn including villages, was, in 1880, one 
thousand nine hundred.


     TOWNS.-Thornville, first called Lebanon, was laid out by Joseph
McMullen and John ____. The record of the establishment of
this town is imperfect, there being no date given, but it was probably
about 1811. The post office could not be called Lebanon on account of
the prior claim of Lebanon, Warren county; and when this became
known, the name of  the town was changed to Thornville. The village
grew slowly, but soon had a tavern, church, school-house, blacksmith
and other shops, and a dozen or more dwelling houses. It had, according 
to the census of 1880, a population of two hundred and sixty-nine.
The town now has a post office, one newspaper, three churches 
(Lutheran, German Reform and Methodist), a union school house, two
physicians, one hotel, two dry goods stores, two hardware stores, two
drug stores, two livery stables, and the usual number of small shops for
a village of its size. Within the last few years, and since the building
of the railroad, four or five fine costly residences have been erected.
Some of these are among the costliest in the county. Thornville is 
delightfully situated on a commanding eminence, overlooking a portion of
the Reservoir and much of the surrounding .country. It is on the common 
road from Somerset to Newark, and from Lancaster to Newark.
It is about one mile distant from the line of the Newark, Somerset and
Straitsville Railway. In addition to the new structures, the old part of
the town has been repaired and painted up, within the last few years,
and the place now presents a modern and neat appearance. Thornville
is surrounded by a very rich country, and the business men of the town
have a large and profitable trade, which appears to be on the increase.
The population is also increasing.
     Thornville is distinguished as being the burial place of Hon. Samuel
White of Newark, who died suddenly in 1844. He was the Whig candidate 
for Congress, and had acquired a State and national reputation.
He was making a warm canvass, and probably over-exerted himself in
a long, political speech, causing his death. He had been married to a
Miss Stoneman, daughter of Rev. Jesse Stoneman of Thorn township.
Mrs. White died, and her remains were interred by her kindred who
were buried in the M. E. Cemetery at Thornville. When her distinguished 
husband died, his remains were brought from Newark and laid
by her side. The long funeral procession that wound around the margin 
of the Reservoir, and up the Thornville hill, was the grandest pageant 
of the kind that, up to that time at least, had ever been witnessed
in the county. White's political friends fairly worshiped him, and his
political foes hated and dreaded him. But all political asperities were
laid aside, when the grim messenger came and took the gifted young
orator and statesman beyond the reach of partisan warfare and political
honors. It is worthy of note, that the remains of the great Whig orator 
came to rest in a town and township so overwhelmingly opposed to
him in politics. But the grave banished all resentments, and the ashes
of the distinguished statesman sleep quietly beneath the plain, white
marble stone, which stands at the highest point in the cemetery, adjacent
to the M. E. Church. In addition to name, date of birth and death, the
stone is inscribed with the following simple but impressive sentence:
"We all must tread the road to death."
     Thornport was laid out by W. W. Talbott, in 1839. A large hotel,


warehouse and other buildings, were erected; but when the "Licking
Summit Reservoir improvement " went down, they all went to decay,
and the place became a mere fishing point. Upon the completion of
the Newark, Somerset and Straitsville Railroad, in 1871, the town
brightened up again, and quite a number of new houses has been built.
The population by the census of 1880, was one hundred and twenty-
five. It is a station on the Newark, Somerset and Straitsville Railroad,
and is also situated along side of the Reservoir.
     Thorn township is laid off into convenient school districts, has good,
comfortable, commodious school-houses, and school from six to eight
months of the year, and taught, as a general thing, by good, 
competent teachers. Public education receives very general attention.
     Agriculture has now reached a high state of cultivation, and the
well-kept farms, houses, barns, etc., and the thrifty appearance of live
-stock, all indicate an industrious, prosperous, and enterprising people.
The population of Thorn, including villages, in June, 1880, was 1,900.
     Rev. Joseph Walmire, late of this township, had an eventful 
experience in his very young days. His father and mother, with himself
and two little brothers, were on board a sailing vessel from the old
country, destined for the United States of America. The trip was
long and tedious; the father and mother of the little boys took sick,
died, were buried at sea, and the orphan children were sold to the
highest bidder, to pay passage and other expenses. The children were
all bought and taken charge of by separate persons, went to different
parts of the country, but all secured good homes, and only one of them
was called by the name of their own parents. They knew nothing of
each other while children, but after they grew to be men, they sought
and found each other out, and henceforward were brothers, and strangers 
to each other no more. Joseph Walmire became a local preacher
of the M. E. Church, another brother was a somewhat distinguished
and talented minister of the Lutheran Church, while the third was a
thrifty, industrious citizen, highly esteemed by all who knew him.
Rev. Walmire died only a few years since. Another of the brothers
was living not very long ago. Whether the third is living or dead, is
not known.
     CHURCHES.-Zion, or Ribel's Church, is the second oldest in the
county. In 1806, Matthias and Elizabeth Reinbold sold two and a-half
acres of land to Zion Church. The witnesses to the contract are Philip
Miller, Henry Humbarger, and John King. The articles of organization 
are dated June, 1806, in the hand-writing of John King, in German,
and the document is now in possession of George Daniel, who
kindly exhibited it for inspection, and to whom the public is, therefore,
indebted for the facts established.
     It appears that Rev. John King, of the Reform; and Rev. William
Foster, of the Lutheran Church, calling to their aid the brethren in their
respective connections, united in the purchase of church and cemetery
grounds, and in erecting a church edifice thereon, now known as
"Ribel's Church." The names signed to this document are in the
order following: William Foster, Preacher; Peter Humbarger. Elder;
Henry Humbarger, Peter Hedrick, Deacons; Matthias Reinbold, John


King-the writer, and also the representative of the Reform people-
Philip Miller, William Stahl, Jacob Reem, William Rehm, Michael
Sterner, Andrew Foster, Leonard Emrick, Paul Bean, Jacob 
Weissman and Adolph Weissman.  Rev. Henry King, of Baltimore,
Ohio, is a son of the Rev. John King, above named, and is still
     This record shows Rev. John King to be the first preacher of his
sect who settled in the county. He came as early as 1803-'4. He was,
so far as there is record proof, the first preacher that ever settled in
Perry county, and the Rev. William Foster was the next, and both
united in the work of the Christian to build one house for two sects, and
their labor stands to this day, blessed and approved. Both 
congregations are strong, active, influential, and sustain regular religious 
     The Regular Baptist Church in Thorn is on Section 17. Henry
Bowman, one of the very first settlers, gave one acre of ground. The
first person buried there was a child of one Israel Penrod. The senior
Baptist members were Adam Bogenwright, James Smith, Samuel P.
Hite, Stephen Smith, Rev. William Karr, Jacob Balsly, Rev. George
DeBolt and others. The first building was erected of hewn logs, near
1824, and the first preachers were Rev. Kauffman and Rev. Eli Ashbrook. 
The church at present is a frame of commodious proportions,
and enjoys regular preaching.
     The German Baptist Church of Thorn township. Perry county,
commonly called Dunkers, or Tunkers, which, in German, means
"to dip;"  hence the appellation of Tunkers, and later that of Dunkers.
Like all other churches in early times, the meetings were held in private 
houses, in barns, and in the open groves, when weather permitted.
The names of Schofield, Gall, Plank, Hendricks, Snyder, Dennison,
Helser, Bosserman, Funderburg, Cover, and Froude are among those
of the earliest known in Perry county. The membership is large and
very respectable in character. The preachers have no stipulated salary,
but assistance is extended voluntarily, or when needed. No member
of the church is permitted to become a public charge. Help to the
needy is a duty enjoined. Faith and repentance prior to baptism are
essential to membership. The minister is called by vote of the majority
of the congregation. The preference of the voter is expressed 
privately, and the tally is kept by the elders. The church or council
meetings are held on Saturday prior to the Sunday meeting and preaching.
These are sometimes held quarterly, sometimes twice a month.
     The Jonathan's Creek branch of the German Baptist Church comprises 
Perry, Fairfield, Licking and Muskingum counties. The organization 
of this branch of Christians dates back in Germany to 1708.
They have, here in Perry, no church record, or roll of members, and
this may be true elsewhere. The minister, when first elected, is on
probation, and in his first degree of advancement. If faithful, he may
be advanced to the second degree in the same way, and by the same
vote which first chose him, and in the same way they are advanced to
the third degree, or full ministry, ordained by the laying on of hands
of at least two ordained elders. When placed under oath they affirm;
they are non-combatant in war, which they oppose; they seat 


themselves around a table at sacrament of bread and wine after the supper,
the sexes at separate tables. The sick are also anointed with oil in the
name of the Lord. They believe in a change of heart prior to baptism,
and without which baptism is of no effect for salvation. The denomination 
has a good, commodious house of worship, situated in the eastern 
part of Thorn township, on the common road leading from Somerset 
to Thornville. Many Dunkers, or German Baptists, were among
the earliest pioneers of Thorn, and religious worship was held at
private houses at a very early day, no doubt previous to 1810. Daniel
Snider was a preacher and leader, and services were often held at his
house. Snider also preached in Fairfield, Muskingum and other counties, 
and was widely known, and everywhere venerated by the brethren
of the denomination to which he belonged. He died at the age of 93,
universally esteemed.
     There are quite a number of Dunkers in some other parts of the
county, but there is no other public house of worship.
     The Lutheran and Reform churches in Thornville were both 
organized at a very early date-from 1810 to 1812. A little later the two
congregations united in the building of an edifice to be used jointly.
Rev. William Foster, the founder of the Lutheran Church in Perry
county, was, no doubt, the principal officiating minister in the organization 
of the Lutheran congregation, and Rev. Andrew Henkel came
along about that time or soon thereafter. The writer has seen a printed
certificate of baptism, signed by Rev. William Foster, of date A. D.
1806, the rite having been administered in Thorn township. Foster
died about 1815 or 1816, and Rev. Andrew Henkel appears to have
succeeded as pastor of nearly all of the Lutheran churches in Perry
     Rev. John King was, no doubt, the minister in charge when the
Reform congregation was organized. He came to what is now Perry
county in 1803 or 1804, and, according to the best information, was the
first minister of any denomination to settle in the county.
     The Lutheran and Reform congregations continued in the joint
ownership and use of church property until about twenty years since,
when each society separately erected a large, commodious and costly
house of worship.
     Both the Lutheran and Reform churches are strong and active, and
sustain stated preaching and Sabbath schools.
     The Methodist Episcopal Church in Thornville was organized and
a church built at an early day. The edifice, which was of brick, was,
after a short time, reported unsafe, when it was torn down and a large
frame building erected in its stead, which continues to be used at the
present time. The Rev. Jesse Stoneman was, in his lifetime, a member 
of this church, and his ashes repose in the cemetery adjacent. The
charge is attached to the Rushville Circuit, and secures its ministers by
appointment of the Ohio Conference. Regular preaching and other
church services, including Sabbath school, are sustained.
     Friend's or Crist's Church (Methodist Episcopal), situated in the
southwestern part of Thorn township, though not strictly speaking a
pioneer church, is one that has been long established, and sustains
regular preaching and other religious services common to the 


denomination with which it is connected. The society has a neat, comfortable
house of worship, and, in proportion to its numerical strength and
general ability, is zealous and liberal in church work and in contribution
to the various funds of the church. The regular ministers are appointed 
and sent by the Ohio Conference.
     The Methodist Episcopal Church at New Salem is on the Perry
county side of the line. A church was organized and a log house of
worship built at an early day-about 1818 to 1820. This was in use
until 1838 or 1840, when a neat, commodious frame edifice was erected
near the site of the old one, which has been occupied until the present
time. The society is tolerably strong in numbers, active, and preaching 
and other church services, including Sabbath school, are regularly
sustained. Its ministers are appointed by the Ohio Conference.


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