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Elijah and Rachel (Foster) Chenoweth, natives of Maryland, were early settlers in Kentucky, and about 1795 emigrated to Pike county, and settled near what is now the southern boundary of Ross. They removed, in the fall of 1799, to Pleasant township, Franklin county, being its first pioneers. Elijah Chenoweth was born June 12, 1762, and died December 5, 1828. His wife died April 17, 1825. Their children were: Thomas, John F., Joseph, Rachel, Cassandra, Elizabeth, and Elijah.
Joseph Chenoweth, the subject of this sketch, was born September 6, 1798. He grew to manhood in the home of his parents, where Elijah Chenoweth now lives, and became one of the widely and well known citizens of the county. He began in a humble way, and eventually accumulated great wealth and attained high honors. Early in life, and before he had any means other than a liberal capital of energy and industry, he made a living by driving between his home and Baltimore, carrying provisions east, and ten loading his wagon with those articles of merchandise for which there was a demand in the new settlements of Franklin, Pickaway, and Ross counties. He also did considerable teaming between Chillicothe and Franklinton. In later years, his business was farming and stock dealing. He bought and sold great numbers of horses, cattle, hogs, and sheep, and was one of the first to drive stock across the country to the eastern market. H was as extensive a dealer as there was in the country. He added to his original farm, and became the possessor of about one thousand six hundred acres of land, the greater part of which, a considerable time before his death, he divided among his children.
Mr. Chenoweth was noted as a man of spotless character, and of many admirable traits. His generosity was one of the leading ones, and he had the life-long kind regard of many to whom, in one way or another, he had given assistance. He was a member of no church, but was most liberal in his support of the cause of religion, and when the Methodist people of the little village of Harrisburg decided to build a church and set about the undertaking, they would have succeeded but poorly had not Mr. Chenoweth come to their assistance. He made the society a present of the lot upon which the church stands, burned the brick of which it is built, and furnished money very liberally beside. No man in the vicinity ever entertained more ministers than Mr. Chenoweth. His house was always open to them, and was their favorite stopping place. But, for that matter, his "latch string was always out" for everybody. He had an immense circle of friends, and few ever came into the neighborhood in which he dwelt without paying him a visit. He was a very cordial, affable man, and none more enjoyed companionship.
The personal popularity of Mr. Chenoweth, and the uprightness of his character, made him a strong candidate, in 1841, for the legislature of the fortieth general assembly. He was elected on the Whig ticket, as a colleague of Nathaniel Medbury, and served two terms as the representative of Franklin county. In his later years he was a Republican.
Mr. Chenoweth's first wife was Margaret, daughter of Amos Heath, of Pickaway county. Their children were: Rachel C. West, Jane Helmick, Elijah, Joseph, Sarah Hays, William, Elizabeth McKinley, Isabella Sheeters, and Jerry. It is a remarkable fact that there has never been a death in this generation of the family. All of the sons and daughters are living, and all are in Pleasant township except Jerry, who is a resident of Columbus. Mrs. Chenoweth died December 22, 1861, at the age of sixty-five years, four months, and fifteen days. The widowed husband took, as his second wife, Margaret Williams. Mr. Chenoweth died January 9, 1869.