A Bit of Early History of Bloom Township, Fairfield Co., OH

From Combination Atlas Map of Fairfield County, Ohio, L. H. Everts, Philadelphia, 1875

This township was set off in 1805. Jacob Smith, a soldier of 1812, came to Ohio in 1807; obtained land, and passed his life upon it. Others of old settlers, remembered in 1822, were Abraham and Jesse D. Courtright, Zepheniah Drake, Christian Morehart, Peter Powell, Conrad Plattner, Michael Thrash, John Smaltz, Michael and Jacob Allspaugh, Levi Moore and Daniel Hoy. J. D. Courtright, in 1810, laid out the village of Greencastle, situated at the centre of the Township. The tavern-keepers of its three public houses, in 1822, were John Wilson, Conclin, and J. Courtright. Dr. E. S. Miner was then the practicing physician for that region. The first tan-yard was carried on by John Wright; along in 1824 he died, and Thomas B. Cox came from Lancaster, and, in connection with a store, carried on the tannery up to 1840, and became wealthy.

Lithopolis, formerly called Middletown, because half-way between Lancaster and Columbus, was laid out by Bougher about 1814. It is a place of a thousand or more inhabitants; has three churches, an academy, which has had an old and creditable reputation, and the usual proportion of stores, groceries, and other buildings. It has a Masonic building. On its first floor is a store, kept by John Brossman, the leading merchant.

The first task of the early supervisors was the extraction of stumps from the roads; and a wholesome regulation concerning elections was that no one should cast a ballot who had not, as vouched by the road-master, worked two days on the road-stumps.

The first school teacher in Bloom was Abraham Courtright, in 1805. There were no resident lawyers. In local disagreements before a Justice, Lancaster furnished the attorneys to expound the law. the first church, yet standing, was built near what was called the Old State Road by the German Presbyterian Society, about 1807.

From the earliest day stock-dealing has been a needed pursuit. Before canals and railroads, hogs were gathered here in droves of four hundred or five hundred, and, proceeding seven or eight miles a day through the woods, swimming the Ohio in a close drove, and climbing the Allehanies, were driven to Baltimore and Philadelphia, and even to New York; the trip occupied two to three months.

In tax collections, the collector appeared by appointment at a convenient locality in the township to receive th tax. People came in and paid, and the collector passed on.

The country was a wilderness of timber; saw-mills were numerous. Barnett, Jacob Allspaugh, Samuel Kistler, and Judge Chaney, the last two, aged eighty and eighty-five, still living, are old saw-mill men.

Supplies were brought on horseback from Wheeling, Marietta, and, in time, from Zanesville. In 1822 there was but one grist-mill in Bloom Township. When farmers wished a milling, they joined teams to pull the heavy wagons, and made the trip to Zanesville, fifty miles distant, in a week's time. Wheat was exchanged for salt, and it was an occasion of much rejoicing when a bushel of wheat brought a bushel of salt.

In 1822 there were but two churches in the township. They were built of hewn logs, and known as Union churches by Lutheran and German Reformed Societies, who alternated in the use of the houses. Rev. Stake was the Lutheran, and Rev. Wise the German Reformed, preacher, both old pioneer clergymen.

No Sunday-schools were known for many years. The Methodists, the Presbyterians, and other sects held their services in private houses at this period.

The great body of the settlers were what are known as "Pennsylvania Dutch,", and theirs was the general language spoken. Jefferson and Lockville are villages situated in the northern part of the township. The population, in 1840, was 2288.

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