THIS township was established the 6th of September, 1816, by its present name and boundaries; it is just five miles square, being the first township in the sixteenth range, of the United States Military Lands. It had originally been part of Liberty Township, and subsequently part of Plain. Its first settlement commenced about the year 1802 or 1803. A large proportion of the early settlers were from the State of New Jersey. The first, or north-east quarter of the township, was patented to Gen. Jonathan Dayton, of that State, in 1800, and he had it platted into lots of one hundred acres, and sold a number of them in New Jersey to persons who had never seen the land. It is said that those thus purchasing determined their locations by lot.
Amongest the early settlers in this township, were Daniel Dague, Moses Ogden, Peter Francisco, Wm. Headly, Michael Stagg, Abraham Stagg, Jacob Tharp, Jacob Smith, John H. Smith, and Jonathan Whitehead; and subsequently, Joseph Edgar, John Kelso, Michael Neiswanger, Shuah Mann, etc.
About the year 1811 or '12, Jacob Tharp erected the first grist mill on Black Lick Creek, which was afterward known as Somerville's mill, and is not owned by Thomas Rees. The third, or south-west quarter of the township, was held by the heirs of L. Brien until 1850, when it was sold and conveyed by them to David Taylor, Esq., at ten dollars per acre. In 1853, he laid out a village on this land, erected a ware-house, saw mill, etc., and named the place Grahamsville, though it is generally known as “Taylor's Station.” The great body of his purchase he sold out in suitable farm lots, at a handsome profit.
The village of Smithville was laid out by Wm. A. Smith, in the year 1851. There is a post office at this place, called “Black Lick post office.” It was established in 1852. Thomas McCollum was the first postmaster, and continued until 1856, when he was succeeded by C. S. Morris, Esq.,; and in 1857 Morris was succeeded by Ezekiel Compton. There is another, and older post office in this township, at Headley's Corners, called “Ovid post office.” It was established in 1832. Dr. Ezekiel Whitehead wa the first postmaster. He held the office a few years, and was succeeded by William Headly, Esq., the present incumbent.
In 1840, this township contained 1,040 inhabitants. In 1850, it contained 1,236. In 1853, the township contained eleven school districts, and an aggregate of 534 youth between the ages of five and twenty-one years. In 1857, the agregate of such youth was 559.
SUCCESSIVE JUSTICES OF THE PEACE.
1817. Jacob Smith and William Dean, elected.
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