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Pages 361-368

Immediately after the formation of Franklin county, in 1803, the territory embraced within its limits was divided into four nearly equal parts, or townships. The southwest quarter, then nearly double the size of the present entire county, was designated as Franklin township, a name which a part of the original territory still retains. It is the only township in the county that bears its original name. It was reduced to its present limits by the erection of prairie township in 1819. It is bounded on the north by the townships of Norwich and Montgomery, south by Jackson, east by Montgomery and Hamilton and west by Prairie. In this township transpired many early events of importance. Here was begun the settlement of this now populous and wealthy county. Here, in August, 1797, was laid out the pioneer village in the county, Franklinton, now annexed to the city of Columbus

It will be in our province, in the following sketch, to treat upon those matters pertaining to the township of Franklin as at present organized.

The surface features are generally level, the only exceptions being along the course of the streams, where it is rolling.


The principal water course in the township is the Scioto river, which enters the north part of the township, flows in a southeast course for perhaps one mile, then changing to a nearly due east direction, cuts off a portion of the northeast corner of the township. Reaching the eastern boundary of the township it turns southward, coursing along this boundary line, which it forms. This stream is of some importance as furnishing water-power advantages. The Olentangy river, next in size, flows from the north, discharging its waters into the Scioto at or near the point where it turns southward on the east line of the township. Flowing from the west, across the south part of the township, is Scioto Big run, which, with its tributaries, completes the water courses of the township.


The red men of the forest were more numerous in the early settlement of the township. They were principally of the Wyandot [Sic.] tribe, though there were scattering members of the Delawares and Mingoes. An extensive encampment was situated on the west bank of the Scioto river, not far from where now stands the Harrisburg bridge. For several years previous to the settlement, the Indians raised corn, on what came to be known in later years as Sullivant's prairie. The venerable Nelson Foos, to whom the writer is indebted for many facts in this history, says that the Indians were peaceable and friendly towards the settlers, and that, although when under the influence of whiskey, they fought savagely among themselves, rarely, if ever, did they molest the whites. Jacob Fisher relates that on the general exodus of the Indians, one remained, a harmless old fellow, who subsisted on game, with an occasional donation from the settlers. He was eventually shot by a hunter named Daniel Harrington.


Early in the year 1797, Lucas Sullivant came to Ohio, and with a corps of chain-carriers, markers, etc., engaged in surveying land and locating warrants, in the Virginia military district, west of the Scioto. The subsequent fall, the village of Franklinton was laid out by him, and to facilitate settlement, the lots bordering a certain street were donated to such as would become actual settlers thereon. The name "Gift street" was given the thoroughfare passing between these lots. That this inducement to settlement was successful, is clearly attested by the immediate and constant growth of the primitive town. We learn that during, the first years of the settlement, the great amount of sickness in the vicinity retarded, to a considerable degree, rapid immigration. The diseases being malarial were more annoying than dangerous, and the natural advantages of the country—fertile soil, abundant range for cattle, and game of all kinds in unlimited quantity, were features too important to be overlooked; and gradually the colony increased until the war of 1812 came on, during which period, Franklinton is said to have reached the zenith of its prosperity.

W. T. Martin says, upon the authority of A. McElvain, who came from Kentucky to Chillicothe with his parents, in the spring of 1797, and subsequently settled in Franklinton, that the "first with family who settled in Franklinton, then called the Forks of the Scioto, was Joseph Dixon." This was during the fall or winter of 1797-98. Mr. Martin gives the names of the following first settlers: George Skidmore, Robert and Jeremiah Armstrong, William Domigan, James Marshall, John Brickell, John Lisle and family, William Fleming, Jacob Grubb, Jacob Overdier, John Blair, John Dill, Arthur O'Harra, the Deardurfs, and the Sells.

For a sketch of Lucas Sullivant, the reader is referred to the history of Columbus.

Joseph Foos, who was a native of Ohio [Sic.] [see Joseph Foos biographical sketch], removed to Harrison county, Kentucky, where he married Lydia Nelson. Late in the fall of 1798 he came to Ohio, making settlement in Franklin township. His log cabin was constructed upon the farm now owned by the Osborn heirs, on the Harrisburg pike. In 1803 he built a brick house in Franklinton and engaged in hotel-keeping.


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