History of Herkimer County: Ohio twp, 1893

from the History of Herkimer County, N.Y. 1893, by George A. Hardin, 1893

OHIO, is one of the comparatively recently formed towns of Herkimer county, and was taken from Norway on the 11th of April, 1823, when it was given the name of West Brunswick.  It retained this name until May 3, 1836, when it was changed to its present title.  In the same year a portion of the town was taken off and annexed to Wilmurt.  The town is all within the Jerseyfield patent, excepting the triangular portion lying northwest of the West Canada Creek, which is in the Remsenburg patent.  The surface of the town is elevated from 700 to 900 feet above the Mohawk River, and is moderately hilly.  In the eastern and southern portions the soil is loam and gravely, and good for tillage, while the remainder is sandy and light.  The principal streams are West Canada Creek, flowing across the northwest part; Mount's Creek, crossing near the center of the town in a southwesterly direction; Black Creek in the southern part, which flows into West Canada Creek five miles above Trenton Falls; Fox Creek in the western part, and other smaller streams.  There are several small lakes in the town, among them Mount's, Curtis, Crooked and Round Lakes.  A small part of the northeast and northwest sections is still heavily wooded.

This town was settled previous to the Revolution, when it formed a part of the Kingsland district, and was the theater of one of the cold blooded atrocities that marked that period.  The first settler was named Mount, but his first name is not now known.  He located on pleasantly situated land on the east side of the stream that has always borne his name, near the center of the town; the property is now owned by George R. Turner.  There he had erected comfortable buildings, a sawmill, fences, etc., gathered stock and planted an orchard.  The dwellers in this pleasant home were doomed to suffering at the hands of a relentless foe.  The father and mother went one day to little Falls, twenty miles distant, with grain to be ground, returned home and found their two sons dead in the barn, their scalps taken, and a little negro boy, who lived with them, alive and anxiously waiting his master's return.  "Mr. Mount came from New Jersey.  His secluded position rendered it quite certain, being about twenty miles from the German settlements on the river, that neither he nor his sons participated in the conflict going on between the crown and the colonies, by any aggressive acts against the former, and if he had at any time previously been visited by any of the strolling actors in the bloody drama then being performed, he did not indulge in offensive language, as he seems not to have been molested." [Footnote: Benton's History of Herkimer County, p. 455]  Mount's buildings were not destroyed at the time his boys were killed, but later they were burned by some one.  A mill, however, that was situated on Mill Creek, a few miles north of Grayville, was burned at that time. [Footnote: another version has been given me of this Indian murder by a gentleman who was employed as a surveyor on the tract in 1808, and had gathered his information from persons then living near the Mount farm.  From this relation the family consisted of Mr. Mount, his wife, daughter, two sons and a negro boy.  Two Indians had been lurking about the place several days, but had not made any hostile demonstrations, as the young men had taken their loaded rifles with them when they left the house, but on the day they were killed and scalped in the barn, they had neglected this precaution.  When the report of firearms was heard in the house, the rest of the family fled to the woods and made their way to Little Falls as fast as they could.  Mr. Mount did not see his wife and daughter, after leaving the house, until they met at Little Falls.  The Indians, my informant says, burned Mount's buildings when they found that the family had left the place. - Benton's Herkimer County, pp. 455-6]

It is quite certain, but not now susceptible of proof, that other settlers were located in this town previous to the Revolution.  The Mount tragedy is supposed to have occurred in the summer of 1782.  David Thorp moved upon the Mount farm soon after the Revolution and lived there many years; he was father of David, jr., who was a member of Assembly in 1832.

In 1790 John Miller settled in this town, and was soon followed by a Mr. Warner, Aaron Thorp, Harmanus Van Epps, and others.  The first tavern in the town was kept on the Mount farm by David Thorp.

What is now known as Grayville (or Gray) was first settled on the north bank of the creek in this town by Philo McDonald in 1818.  He built a saw mill on the site of the present mill owned by C. B. Gray.  He owned the land on that side of the creek, and in 1820 Latham Gray purchased 300 acres on the south side and began improvements.  From him the settlement took its name.  In 1828 he brought his family to the place and under his energetic labors and the efforts of others who were attracted thither, the hamlet became an active center of business.  In 1837 Mr. Gray made for Perry & Swezey, who were then engaged in business at Newport, the first boxes in which cheese was ever sent to the New York market.  Mr. Gray opened the first store in the place, where Ira Williams is now doing business.  He also gave S. Bullock a lot on which was erected the first blacksmith shop in the village.  W. W. Bullock still carries on business there.  The first tavern in the village was built by George Benchley in 1844, on the site of the present hotel kept by Charles Wallace.  In 1843 Jeremiah Petrie opened a boot and shoe shop, and in 1853 the present tannery was built by Oliver Harvey and William Ladue.  Douglas Bennett was employed in this tannery for a time.  The tannery was closed up a few years ago.  The first postmaster was William L. Gray, and the present one is Dr. E. Kelly.  The mail, which is now received daily, formerly came once a week.

Many other mills have been built in the town at various times.  William Hemstreet, father of John and Samuel Hemstreet, built a saw mill that is still running between Ohio City and Grayville, on Mount's Creek.  Just beyond that is the mill known as the Jacob A. Radley mill, now owned and operated by William Summers; and between these is the steam mill of Augustus Christman & Son.  Their father was John Christman, an early settler in that vicinity.  Another saw mill was built by John Dagenkolb, a mile and a half west of Ohio some fifteen years ago.  The saw mill at Grayville is now run by C. B. Gray.

Ohio City is a hamlet a little west of the center of the town.  There is no manufacturing carried on here.  Albert Abeel came early to this section and kept a store at Ohio many years; he died recently and is succeeded by his son J. W. Abeel.  Gilbert J. Johnson has kept a public house in a building erected by Albert Abeel in 1840.  Abeel was a bright man and an active Republican politician.  The father of Gilbert J. Johnson was Henry I. Johnson, who came here in 1850 and settled two miles east of Ohio, adjoining Cornelius Turner, who was an early settler in that neighborhood.  Michael Sweetman wa also an early settler in the Turner neighborhood, and died in 1829, leaving descendants.  Other settlers who should be mentioned are the father of the late Samuel Gibson, who located near the Hemstreet mill; Asa Vickery; William Coppernoll, whose father, G. A. Coppernoll, wa an early farmer of the town; the Willoughby family and others, sketches of whom appear a little further on.

At the present time John Sullivan and Ira Williams are merchants at Graysville, and S. A. Nellis has a grocery at Ohio City.  The present postmaster at the latter place is Gilbert J. Johnson.

There are now eight school districts in the town.  There was formerly a German Lutheran church in which services were held a number of years, but they have been discontinued.  The Methodist church at Ohio City was organized in 1847, in which movement Jeremiah E. Phillips was prominent.  The first trustees were James m. Coppernoll, Reuben H. Wood, Jeremiah Phillips, Rowland Emery, Gilbert Allen.  It was then known as the union Presbyterian and Methodist church.  The Presbyterians do not have services now, although their society is till in existence.  Richard Knight was the first Presbyterian pastor, and Alvin Robbins the first Methodist, in 1843.  The present trustees of the church are George Turner, John Cummings, Lewis Wagner.  Rev. H. L. Hastings is the present pastor.

Considerable lumber business is still carried on in the town, mostly in the northern parts.  But the chief industry is dairying, one factory being situated near Ohio City, and one just over the line in Norway; the latter receives patronage from this town.

Back to The Town of Ohio Page

Back to Herkimer/Montgomery Counties GenWeb

Back to New York State GenWeb

Back to USGenWeb

Last Updated: 4/6/00

Copyright ©1998 - 2000 Lisa Slaski
Copyright ©1997 - 2000 Martha S. Magill
All Rights Reserved.