Beers' History of Herkimer County: Ohio twp 1879

 "1879 History of Herkimer County"
published by Beers, page 239.

This town is in shape nearly a diamond and contains, according to the last report of its assessors, 34,444 acres of land. It was formed from Norway, April 11th, 1823, and named West Brunswyck, which name was changed to Ohio May 3d, 1836, and in the same year a part of Wilmurt township was taken off. This town is all in the Jerseyfield patent, except the triangular corner lying northwest of West Canada creek. This triangular portion of the town lies in the Remsenburgh patent. The Jerseyfield patent is dated April 12th, 1770, and given to Henry Glen and others, for ninety-four thousand acres and allowances.

The principal creeks in this town are West Canada, which crosses the northwest corner of the town, from northeast to southwest; Mount's creek, crossing near the center of the town in a southwesterly direction; Black creek in the south, which enters West Canada creek five miles above Trenton Falls; Fox creek in the west, and other small streams, upon which are a number of lumber mills. There are several small lakes in this town, the most prominent of which are Mount's, Curtis, Allen, Crooked and Round lakes. The northeast and northwest corners of the town are still an uninhabited wilderness, with the exception of here and there a lumberman's or hunter's shanty.

The recent date at which Ohio was formed allows it little history under its present name, yet the town embraces territory upon which deeds the most foul, were perpetrated by tories and Indians previous to and during the Revolutionary war. Outrages, such as the wanton slaughter of the innocent members of different families, were, in the early settlement of the town, sanctioned by such men of note as JOHNSON, GRANT and BUTLER, who, in their inhuman zeal for fame and the crown, allowed those under their charge to use not only fire but the scalping knife and tomahawk in the subjugation and devastation of this sparsely settled region of country. For a time immigration to this town was not only checked, but the few pioneers who had braved the storm of war as well as the settlers' inevitable hardships to gain a place they might call their own, were mercilessly slaughtered or driven away, some never to return while others lingered upon the very threshold of danger, hoping that some day they might enjoy the fruits of their former labors. The time did come when their fondest hopes were realized, when they again could sit around their own firesides; the tide of emigration began to flow this way and the evidences of industry began to appear. The dense forests melted away before the woodman's axe, and cleared fields and abundant harvests were the fruits of peace. This town claims the honor of embracing within its limits the ground upon which the notorious Colonel Walter N. BUTLER was killed October 30th, 1781, as related on page 58.


The population of this town according to the census of 1875 was 986, of whom 860 were native and 126 were foreign born; there were 281 voters in the town. There were in the town 206 inhabited houses, one brick house and nine log houses, the balance frame. The total value of dwelling was $116,340. The cash value of the real estate was then $395,058, and the assessed value of the same in 1877 was $139,164, while the corrected or equalized value was only $85,038. The gross amount of sales from farms in 1875 was, in round numbers, $36,500. In 1875 the town produced 3,507 tons of hay, being less than one ton per acre of the land mown. Only 658 bushels of corn were raised in the town in that year, while there were raised of oats 22,844 bushels, and 22,027 bushels of potatoes. There were sold in the town that year eggs to the value of $538. The dairy products of the town for 1875 were 79,800 pounds of cheese, and of butter 42,075 pounds, from 1,049 cows; while from 186 swine slaughtered were produced 46,737 pounds of pork.


The early settlers of this northern town were inured to hardhips of the severest kind previous to their locating in this then western wilderness. After all they might have suffered in their far off eastern homes, they were destined to pass through the fire of a seven years war, conducted upon a plan of barbarity almost unequalled in the annals of civilized warfare. The chief sufferers by tory and Indian atrocity were a family by the name of MOUNT, who came here from New Jersey, some years before the Revolution and located on a very pleasant plot of ground on the east side of Mount's creek, very near the center of the town, now owned by George R. TURNER. MOUNT must have been here some years, although his name is not found amoung those of the ninety-four persons to whom the Jerseyfield patent was granted. He had made considerable improvements upon his place, such as clearings, fences, a substantial log house, a good barn, and a saw-mill; he had gathered considerable stock, planted an orchard, and gathered the usual amount of farming tools for those days. He no doubt went there under the patronage of some of the proprietors, and expected to end his days in the seclusion which miles of forest afforded, with none "to molest or make him afraid" save the wild beasts of the forest. But alas, the time came when the thick forest was no barrier to the minions of the crown, and when neutrality between the contending parties availed him nothing against the murderous savages. His family consisted of himself, wife, two sons, one daughter, and a negro boy. The father and mother having gone one day to Little Falls with grain to be ground, returned to find their sons dead in the barn, their scalps taken off, and the little negro boy alive, anxiously awaiting the return of his master. Mr. MOUNT soon left Jerseyfield and never returned. His buildings were not burned at that time, but were soon after. At the time the young MOUNTs were killed, a saw-mill on Mill creek, southeast of MOUNT's place, was burned.

According to tradition this murder was committed in the latter part of the summer of 1782. Previous, however, to Mr. MOUNT's leaving, other settlers had occupied portions of the territory now included in the town of Ohio, but at what exact date, we are unable to learn. In 1790 John MILLER settled in this town, and was soon followed by a Mr. WARNER, David and Aaron THORP, Harmanus VAN EPPS and others. The first tavern in this town was of logs, and kept by David THORP, on the MOUNT farm. The first store was opened on the corner, just north of the MOUNT place, in 1820, by Ephraim ASH.


Grayville, located on the banks of Black creek, and on the line between Norway and Ohio, was first settled on the north side of the creek, in Ohio, in 1818, by Philo MCDONALD, who built a saw-mill on the site of the present mill, now owned by Mr. GRAY. Mr. MCDONALD owned the land upon the north side of the creek, and in 1820, Mr. Latham GRAY purchased three hundred acres of land on the south side of the creek, and at once commenced improvements. Soon the place was known as Grayville. In 1828 Mr. GRAY located his family at this place. In 1837 he manufactured for Messrs. Perry & Swezey, who were then doing business in Newport, the first cheese boxes in which cheese was ever sent to the New York market. Soon after Mr. GRAY located, he opened the first store in this place, where WILLOUGHBY's store now stands. He also gave S. BULLOCK a lot upon which he built the first blacksmith shop in this village, in which Marshall WILLOUGHBY worked. A younger brother of Mr. B. is still keeping a shop upon the same site. The first tavern here was built by George BENCHLEY in 1844, on the site of the present hotel. In 1843 Jeremiah PETRIE opened a boot and shoe shop in Grayville. The present tannery was built in 1853 by Oliver HARVEY and William LADEW. They tan on average, 36,000 sides of leather per year. The church, Methodist Episcopal, was built in 1870, and the shool-house in 1871. The first postmaster was William L. GRAY, and the present one is James M. BROWN. At first the mail was received once a week, at present it is received daily. There are at present two stores, a church, a hotel, a blacksmith shop, a wagon and furniture manufacturing establishment, and a population of about three hundred and fifty.

Ohio City is a small hamlet, about two miles west of the center of the town, containing one church Methodist Episcopal, a school-house, two blacksmith shops, a wagon shop, a tavern and a post-office. The present postmaster is Albert ABEEL. The population of the place is not far from one hundred.

At the Methodist Episcopal church at Ohio City services are held every Sabbath. The society was organized several years ago. We have been unable to obtain any reliable information upon which to base a correct history. There is also a union church about two and a half miles southwest of Ohio City, in which services are held occasionally. No one connected with it could give information as to its history.

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