TOWNSHIP HISTORY

[1800 - 1830]     [1832 - 1880]     [1880-1976]

Zane Township was organized in 1818, and was named for Isaac Zane, a pioneer settler. It is one of the oldest in current Logan County. Not in existence until 1816, Logan was then Champaign County. Big Darby and Mill Creek began here, making for a natural watershed which was very important to the early settler. The soil was rich and trees in abundance. Drinking water was plentiful in the form of natural springs. A great number of wild animals provided meat; therefore, all the essentials to make this area "home" for many in the early 1800's could be found here. The first recorded land was by Robert Power - March 17, 1800.

Job Sharp, the first white settler in either Logan or Champaign Counties. He was a native of New Jersey, but entered the north-western territory from Culpepper Co, Va., locating near Chillicothe in 1800. He remained here but a short time, and then with his family, consisting of Phebe, Achsah and Sarah, together with his son-in-law, Carlisle Haines, a mere lad, he started with a four-horse team for the head waters of the Machachack, and arrived in what is now Zane Township on Christmas Day, 1801.

In the spring a small clearing was made, upon which they raise a crop. Thus, in the midst of the mighty forest which stretched for miles in every direction, and in whose shades lurked the Indian and his still more savage companions, the wolf and panther, beleaguered by the terrible privations of pioneer life, then was planted the germ of that civilization which today flourishes throughout the length and breadth of this section. Job Sharp died on January 13, 1822. His wife, Phebe, who survived him a short time, was a remarkable woman, being for many years the only physician in this locality, and well versed, it is said, in those simple but effective remedies that were used in curing diseases which prevailed in pioneer settlements. She was highly esteemed by all the early settlers, and her dying request was that she should be buried, not in the cemetery, but at the roadside, so that her friends might see her grave when passing, and thus call to mind her beneficence.

The story of the first cabin built is not detailed clearly, however, the second stood long enough for the following photo to be taken. This cabin was built by Job Sharp about 300 feet to the south of the current home of the Harold Elliott and Robert Templeton families.

Two years later Thomas Antrim came. His wife was the daughter of Job Sharp. By trade a blacksmith, he was also a Quaker preacher. Daniel, his son, was the first child born here. The next two years brought John Sharp, Moses Evans, James Stokes, and Joseph Stokes. James Stokes built the first frame house in the area.

In 1806 came Daniel Garwood and John Inskeep, who become the first justice of the peace and a county legislator (partially responsible for the forming of Logan County). Inskeep was also our earliest minister and established the first church; Joshua Inskeep built the first brick house which is the current home of Mrs. Carol Manchester. Joseph Curl also settled here in the hopes of mining salt (Salt, at the time, was priceless, being the only way to preserve food), he spent years and more than a thousand dollars and got nothing.

Clothing worn by the settlers were basic. All were hand made, mostly from leather. Fabric or even spinning wheels were luxuries left far behind in the east. Shoes were more like socks, either made from pigskin or sometimes moccasins were traded from the Indians.

Household utensils were mostly wooden items made locally. Later better tools, dishes and pots and pans were brought by traveling peddlers. The first cookstove was purchased for $55.00 by Dr. John Elbert. This was looked upon as an extravagance by most. Any needed item that couldn't be made here, took a considerable amount of time to obtain. Salt, for instance, mostly came from Sandusky. The trip took about 9 days. Tinware came from Licking County, almost a week's journey. Most trips of this nature were planned so that grain could be taken, and whatever they needed brought back. It was very common for several families to join together for such a trip.

Bear, wolves, and rattlesnakes were quite common and farm hogs that had gotten loose became so great in number and ferocious that they were hunted the same as the other predators.

The Shawnee, Mingo, Wyandott, Delaware and Pottawatamy indians were common to the area. For the most part, however, they were friendly and were content to trade with the settlers. Some of the items they had to offer were skins and furs, moccasins, and baskets woven from "box-alder" stems. These were traded for grain, meal, potatoes and salt. The Delaware tribe brought cranberries, about equal in value to wheat.

The son of James Curl, at the age of 7, strayed from his brothers, while hunting berries in the woods. Everyone in the area searched for the boy for days. Finally, 8 days later he turned up at the home of Samual Tyler - 20 miles from home. From stories he told, he had been confronted by both wolves and bear, but not harmed.

It is interesting to note here that a similar incident happened in Zane Township in 1970. Kevin Stratton, age 3, son of Mr. & Mrs. Melvin (Nancy Wolever) Stratton, wandered from his home around 7 p.m. one evening. At first his parents searched and then as he was not found, people of the area and law enforcement officials joined in the search for Kevin. At 3 a.m., a helicopter was called in to search the area. Finally, at 7:10 the next morning, Kevin was found by the helicopter pilot, scared and tired but safe by a pond only a mile from the house. He was returned to the waiting arms of his very much relieved parents.

Two murders were recorded in the early history of Zane Township. One occurred over a lawsuit between Walter Marshall and Isreal Pool. The two were in the midst of settling the account when Marshall pulled a knife. A third party, D. S. Norviel stepped in and was immediately stabbed to death. Marshall was tried and acquitted on the grounds of self-defense.

The second murder, also the result of a lawsuit, happened in 1878. Amos Inskeep shot and killed George Rockwell, a Logan County Sheriff's deputy. In keeping with the judgement of the suit, the deputy was in the process of taking animals from Inskeeps' farm as a settlement when he was killed. Being tried for first degree murder, he was discharged after the jury failed to find him guilty. Later, after he had escaped from jail, he was tried, this time charged with second degree murder, was found guilty and spent the rest of his life in prison.

Other than grain and livestock, sugar making was the largest business in the earlier years. It has been noted that Zane Township has the largest concentration of maple sugar trees in the state. The Indians were the first to gather sugar water. Some came from a great distance every year to make sugar. Telford Blackburn probably had the largest sugar camp on record. The operation cost in the neighborhood of $900.00 and produced an average of 3500 pounds of sugar; or $350.00 per year. The output for the whole area was about $3,000.00 per year.

The sugar making business flourished during the 1920 and 1930's, using the old iron kettle furnaces with around 30 camps being in operation. During the late 1930's the evaporator method came into use and many camps converted to fuel oil furnaces due to the declining wood supply. About this time the number of camps started to decline and by the 1940's only a few were left. Delph DeVore's camp was one of the last to give up the iron kettles and in 1954 he donated his kettles to Blendon Woods north of Columbus, Ohio where a replica of the camp is being made and hopefully will be an operating display in the next year. At the present time [1976] only two camps are operating within the township, Tom Wiant and Charles Allen Prall.

 

The first grist mill was built by Job Sharp in 1803. Built for his own use for making corn meal its production was 1 bushel of corn in 24 hours of grinding. After rebuilding 4 years later it could handle 4 bushels per day. It was turned by a water wheel powered by a double spring-fed mill race.

 

The first flour mill was built at East Liberty - then called Garwood Mills and a part of Zane Township. People brought wheat from as far as Urbana to be ground. The first mill in current Zane Township was built by Caleb Ballenger in 1831. In 1861 it was rebuilt by David and Daniel Eicher and was one of the best in Logan County. This mill still stands on Wayne Watkins farm.

 

Three sawmills were operated on Mill Creek between 1815 and 1831. They were operated by Joshua Inskeep., Stratton and J.H. Garwood. The first steam-powered sawmill in this part of the state was in Middleburg and owned by Chesher & Sons. It was later converted to a bucket factory to facilitate the sugar-making industry. This sawmill was located just south of the present home of Mrs. Irma Heath.

 

The following describes the earliest of the churches in the township.

 

The first church was that of the Friends, built about half a mile northeast of the present town of Middleburg, and was built about 1805. It was a double log structure, with puncheon floor. This was occupied until after 1825, but was finally abandoned. There the first school was taught, and in the graveyard adjoining the first burial was made. The oldest grave-stone now to be found is that of Esther, wife of John Garwood, and bears date 20th day of the 12th month, 1811. It is a simple sandstone slab. Col. Haines, when a boy, acted as sexton, and, time after time, kindled the charcoal fire on the brick hearth that occupied the centre of the church. The remuneration that he got was 25 cents for several months work. This structure was also occupied at times by the Methodists, until they built a church of their own, about eighteeen feet square, at what was known as inskeep's mill-dam. This latter church was built about the time of the war of 1812. This church was on what was known as the Mad River Circuit, and had preaching on week-day. Meetings were held once in six weeks. This church was used as a place of worship until about 1830, when it was used for a short time by the Protestant Methodists. The third church erected was that of the Methodist Episcopal, and was known as the Mt. Moriah Church, and its building dates 1829. It was a hewed log structure, built by voluntary contributions of labor. The first members were Dr. John Elbert and wife, John Inskeep and wife, Thomas Ballinger and wife, Joseph Euans and wife, Benjamin Weatherby and wife, Allen Sharp and David Sharp; the latter, in all probability, was the first minister. This building was succeeded, in 1854, by a brick structure which cost $1,225. This edifice was burned in a very mysterious manner, at midnight, August 24, 1874. How the fire originated was never definitely known, but was generally supposed to have been set on fire. It was rebuilt, however, the following year, at a cost of $1,425, and was furnished at an outlay of some $300 more. In April, 1860, a severe storm unroofed it and blew in a gable end, which necessitated an additional outlay of $350. The build was torn down in 1975.

To continue with the chronology of the churches, and for other historical information, please contact our township offices. 

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