Richland Co., Ohio


Historical Information

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Perry Twp.

source:  Mansfield News, 10 January 1903


Submitted by Jean and Faye



By A. J. Baughman


Perry Township

Leipaic [Leipsic] township was organized in 1861 and embraced the territory of the present Perry and a part of Congress township, the latter now in Morrow county.  The first officers of the new township were sworn into office Sept. 28, 1816, as follows:  Trustees, John Cook, James Huntsman and John Coon; clerk, Jonathan Huntsman; supervisors, Philip Stealts and Benjamin Hart; overseers of the poor, George Goss and Lawrence Lamb; fence viewers, Henry Sams and Caleb Selby.

On Oct. 11, 1816, the name of the township was changed from Leipsic to Perry.  As it had formerly been allied with Jefferson and there was an indebtedness of $54.24, each township assumed one-half the amount, $27.47, each.  The administration of public affairs was not expensive in those years.  Hart, for his pay as supervisor of the west half of the township, received seventy-five cents for his services.

Perry retained the boundary given it in 1816 until June 5, 1825, when it was reduced to six miles square—the original survey—and the western thirty-six sections received the name of Congress.

Morrow county was created (in part out of Richland) in 1848, and Perry was again divided and reduced to its present limits—six miles long and three miles wide and contains eighteen sections of its original territory.  The central part of the township is rolling tableland, with an elevation that makes a watershed divide between the Clearfork of the Mohican on the north and Owl Creek (the Kokosing) on the south.

A considerable portion of Petty township is  beech-wood country, and when first settled the land was covered with decayed vegetable accumulation that made the surface look invitingly fertile.  All the ordinary crops are successfully grown, but upon the upland where the soil is argiliaceous, care must be taken to maintain its fertility.

Perry township has a very interesting history, some of the events and incidents may be mentioned in this connection.  The first house in the township was built on Section 11, in 1809, by John Frederick Herring, who also built a grist mill at the same place, the second mill put in operation in Richland county.  This mill was on the south branch of the Clearfork, four miles west of Bellville, where the Lexington-Fredericktown and the Bellville-Johnsville roads cross.  It was known for fifty years as the Hanawait [Hanawalt] mill, but after serving well its day and purpose for about three-fourths of a century, it is now no more.

The Eby mill was built in 1837, was operated thirty-seven years, and stood farther up the stream.  Frairle’s woolen factory was run successfully for many years, and a grist mill was formerly operated at the same locality, where the Walters bridge spans the south branch.

A number of both grist and saw mills were erected in the township and did a flourishing business for years, but the shrinkage of the streams lessened the water power with which the mills were operated, and with the change in business affairs and in operating methods, country mills of all kinds generally went out of business.

The people of Perry have always been abreast of the times in their religious matters and the Christian, Methodist, Lutheran, Evangelical, United Brethren and perhaps other denominations have congregations and places of worship.  In about 1810 quite a religious revival was had in the western part of the township.  One man, being “almost persuaded,” prayed that a sign might be given him and one night while in bed he heard a noise and, arising to ascertain the cause, discovered that the family Bible had fallen from a shelf to the floor.  He picked it up and opened at the passage:  “He brought me up also out of a horrible pit.”  He sent messengers out to his neighbors, with “speed, Malise, speed,” messages that a sign had been given him, with the request that they gather at his house.  “Instant the time, speed, Malise, speed.” and his neighbors came that same hour of the night and held services of prayer and praise until noon the next day and many were “converted.” 

Darlington, the only town the township, was formerly called Hagerstown, after Christopher Hager, the first settler on the land where the village stands.

The Lost Run region in the southwest part of Perry township is one of the most picturesque and attractive of the many interesting localities in Richland county.

Lost Run is a north tributary of the Kokosing, and cuts diagonally across the southwest corner of the township, from the north [a few unreadable sentences]  The Lost Run distillery has been operated a number of years and is situate a short distance north of the county line.

Lost Run got its name in this way:  A man on a prospecting tour to locate lands became lost in the wilderness and, coming to this stream, followed it down to a settlement in Knox county.  The locality inspires a desire for rural domesticity.  It is a region where the milkmaids can sing their evening songs in the quiet valley with refrain: answering in echoes from the surrounding hills.

Of Perry township people, past and present, the names of the following families are prominent: Hosack, Bigbee, Sagar, Bisol, Mann, Ewers, Toben, Painter, Follin, Culp, McFerren, McDonald, Hardman, Poorman, Baughman, Walters, Eckert, Craven, Oiln, Coursen, Kochbeiser, Daily, Rubl, Lantz, Baker, Steel, Hiskey and others. Jacob Algire settled in Perry township in 1827.  His wife’s maiden name was Mary McFerren.  David Buckingham came in 1823 and in 1840 married Eliza Broadbeck, a relative of the Shaucks.  Bickley Craven was born in Perry township, and his wife’s name was Sarah Woodrow.  Jackson and Samuel Eby came from Pennsylvania in 1831 and built a saw mill in 1837, on the Clearfork, called “The Perry Mills,” and operated the same for thirty-seven years.  Jacob Erow came from Green county in 1857, and several in the Union army during the war of the rebellion.  John Garver came from Pennsylvania with his parents in 1834.  He married a daughter of Jacob Hardman.  John Hannawait was born in Baltimore in 1803.  He came to Ohio at an early day and purchased the Herring mills, which he operated for many years.  His wife’s maiden name was Susan Kilnefolter.  Their son, J. L. Hannawait, is a resident of Mansfield.  Johnathan Huntsman came in 1816.  He married Nancy Wherry.  The Huntsman family is one of the most numerous in the township, and are well-to-do people.  The Lantz family came in 1833.  Samuel Lantz married Leah Brubaker.  Alexander McKinley settled in Perry in 1864.  His wife’s maiden name was Jeruah Runyan.  The Olins came from Vermont.  Gideon Olin, father of Nathaniel Olin, was a major in the war of the rebellion, was a judge of the court and member of congress.  Nathaniel Olin was the grandfather of Olin M. Farber, of Mansfield.  The Painter family came in 1813, and located in the southeast part of the township.  In 1827 Robert Parker came from Baltimore in a one-horse wagon and located in Perry township.  Thomas Phillips settled in Perry in 1814 and married a daughter of Abraham Hetrick.  Mr. Phillips, was in his day, one of the most prominent men in the township.  His won William was a member of the Sixth-fourth O. V. I., and was killed at the battle of Stone River, Dec. 31, 1862.  The Rubl family have been prominent and prosperous for several generations.  John Steel was born in Perry township in 1818 and Steel run in the eastern part of the township was named for him.

Mrs. Ida Eckert Lawrence, of Toledo, lived in Perry township when she was a young girl.  She is now called the “Ohio poet,” and has within the past decade risen from state, not only to national but to international fame.  Newspapers and critics of two continents have accorded her praise.

At Painters, west of Bangorville, a government meteorological station is maintained.

The leading institutions of Perry township are farm homes, country schools an churches.  The people are industrious and prosperous and, being removed from marts of trade and commerce, are but little affected over strikes, trusts or political agitations.  “Home,” to the people of Perry township is a dear word, as it should be to all, for it is the place where the tired toiler finds rest at eventide.  It is the place where love is not only fraternal, but divine and where joy permeates the very air, and prayer trembles into its most solemn and earnest importunity and where sorrow drops its bitterest tear.

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