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HISTORY OF FRANKLIN COUNTY.
FROM THE FIRST SETTLEMENT UNTIL THE ORGANIZATION OF THE COUNTY, IN 1803.
The first settlement of the territory now composing the county of Franklin, was commenced in the year 1797, while we were yet under the Territorial Government, and in the County of Ross.
In the year 1796, or early in '97, Lucas Sullivant, from Kentucky, then a young man, with his corps of chain-carriers, markers, etc., engaged in the surveying of lands and locating warrants, in the Virginia Military District, west of the Scioto; and in the month of Au"gust, 1797, he laid out the town of Franklinton. To encourage the settlement of the place, he appropriated the lots on a certain street, which he named "Gift street," as donations to such as would improve them and become actual settlers thereon. The settlement of the town was soon commenced. Among the first set
tiers, were Joseph Dixon, George Skidmore, John Brick
. \ ell,* Robert Armstrong, Jeremiah Armstrong,* William Domigan, James Marshal, the Deardurfs, the McElvains, the Sells, John Lisle and family, William Fleming, Jacoh Grubb, Jacob Overdier, Arthur O'Harra, Joseph Foos, John Blair and John Dill, the latter from York County, Pennsylvania.
About the year 1801, Mr. Sullivant having married, settled in his new town; and soon after, Lyne Starling and Robert Russell, and about the same time, Colonel Robert Culbertson, from Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, arrived, with his numerous family of sons, sons-in-law and daughters, both married and unmarried. He was a man of some wealth and distinction, and the first year after his arrival, he was elected a Representative to the General Assembly for the County of Ross.
At the first settlement of the county the Indians were numerous, but friendly, it being some two or three years after Wayne's Treaty; they were principally of the Wyandot tribe, some Delawares, and a fe»v Mingoes. In front of where the Penitentiary now stands, they had an encampment, with their usual wigwams; another on the west bank of the Scioto, near where the Harrisburg bridge is now erected over the river; and they had for years raised corn in what was afterward known as Sullivant's Prairie. There was also another encampment of this kind two or three miles further down the river.
* See Chaps. IX and X, for narrative of Brickell's and Armstrong's captivity.
Agreeably to tradition, about the time Lord Dunmore's army was in Pickaway County, prior to the treaty at which Logan's celebrated speech was delivered, a party from Dunmore's army pursued and overtook a party of Indians at, or near, this second named encampment, and a skirmish ensued in which the Indians were defeated, with the loss of two or three men and a squaw. It is said that Captain Minter, afterward of Delaware County, and also Mr. John Huffman, formerly of Franklin County, were of the pursuing party.*
Next, after the settlement at Franklinton, was a few families on Darby, near where Mr. Sullivant laid out his town of North Liberty, and a scattering settlement along Alum Creek. This was probably about the summer of 1799. Among the first settlers on Alum Creek, were Messrs. Turner, Nelson, Hamilton, Agler and Reed.
• In "Howe's Historical Collections," an account is given of this skirmish somewhat variant from this, in which he says :—" One of the whites saw two squaws secrete themselves in a large hollow tree; and when the action was over, they drew them out, and carried them captive to Virginia. This tree (he says) was alive, and standing on the west bank of the Scioto, as late as 1845." All a mistake.
About the same time improvements were made near the mouth of Gahannah (formerly called Big Belly); and the settlements thus gradually extended along the principal water-courses. In the meantime, Franklinton was the point to which emigrants first repaired to spend some months, or perhaps years, prior to their permanent location.
In 1803, a settlement was commenced about where the town of Worthington now stands, by a company, said to number forty families, from Connecticut and Massachusetts, known by the name of the "Scioto Company" under the agency of Colonel James Kilbourne, who had the preceding year explored the country, and selected this situation for them. They purchased here half a township, or eight thousand acres of land, all in one body,* upon which, in May, 1804, Colonel Kilbourne, as agent for the company, laid out the town of Worthington; and in August, 1804, the whole half township being handsomely laid out into farm lots, and a plat thereof recorded, they, by deed of partition, divided the same amongst themselves, and so dissolved the company. The parties and signers to this deed of partition, were James Allen, David Bristol, Samuel Beach, Alexander Morrison, Ebenezer Street, Azariah Pinney, Abner P.
* They also purchased two quarter townships unconnected with this.
Pinney, Levi Pinney, Ezra Griswold, Moses Andrews, John Topping, Josiah Topping, Nathan Stewart, John Gould, James Kilbourne, Jedediah Norton, Russel Atwater, Ichabod Plum, Jeremiah Curtis, Jonas Stanbery, Lemuel G. Humphrey, Ambrose Cox, Joel Mills, Glass Cochran, Alexander Morrison, jr., Thomas T. Phelps, Levi Buttles, Levi Hays, Job Case, Roswell Wilcox, William Thompson, Samuel Sloper, Nathaniel Little, Lemuel Kilbourn, Israel P. Case, Abner Pinney, and William Vining.
For several years there was no mill nor considerable settlement nearer than the vicinity of Chillicothe. In Franklinton, the people constructed a kind of hand-mill, upon which they generally ground their corn; some pounded it, or boiled it, and occasionally a trip was made to the Chillicothe mill. About the year 1799 or 1800, Robert Balentine erected a poor kind of mill on the run near Gay street, on the Columbus plat; and, near the same time, Mr. John D. Rush erected an inferior mill on the Scioto, a short distance above Franklinton. They were, however, both poor concerns, and soon fell to ruins. A horse-mill was then resorted to, and kept up for some time; but the first mill of any considerable advantage to the county, was erected by Colonel Kilbourne, near Worthington, about the year 1805.