Alexander, Athens County, Ohio History

Alexander, one of the four townships into which the county was divided on its organization, originally included the territory which now forms eleven townships, viz: Bedford, Scipio and Columbia townships of Meigs county; Vinton, Clinton, Madison, Elk and Knox of Vinton county; and Lee, Lodi and Alexander of Athens county. Its territorial extent was the same as that of Ames and just twice that of Athens. The township was located and surveyed in 1795. Athens and Alexander being the “college townships,” were generally spoken of in connection, and, as Alexander lay south of Athens, it was for a long time familiarly designated as “Southtown.” Among the residents of Alexander as early as 1 Soy were Robert Ross, William Gabriel, Amos Thompson, Enos Thompson, Edward Martin, Isaac Stanley, John, Jonathan, Joseph, Thomas and Isaac Brooks, Matthew Haning, Thomas and John Armstrong, Jared, Israel and Martin Bobo, Caleb Merritt, Joel Lowther, Michael Bowers, William Strond, Esquire Bowman, Abner Smith, Charles and Isaiah Shepherd, Thomas Sharp, and Richard and William Reeves. The population of the township in 1820 was 854; in 1830 it was 882; in 1840 it was 1,451; in 185o it was 1,735; in 1860 it was 1,675. Hebbardsville, pleasantly situated in the western part of the township, is the principal center of population.

Jeremiah Clements and Israel Bobo, noted as hunters in the early settlement of the county, killed in one season sixty-five bears in one neighborhood, included in the site of the present town of Hebbardsville. The same men were fond of whisky, and, to get a supply, took a horse-load of bear skins to the Ohio river and traded for a barrel of the desired article. The next difficulty was how to get it home. They finally cut two poles from the forest and formed a sort of drag to be drawn by the horse, the largest ends of the poles resting on the ground. The barrel of whisky was then secured between the poles and thus dragged through the woods to Alexander township, where they lived. This was the first barrel of whisky ever brought into Alexander. In after years the use of it became common and greatly the fashion, but at the present time it is not kept for sale at any place in the township.

In Alexander the Methodists were, as usual, the pioneer church. At a very early day they built a meeting house at “Centre Stake,” and the Presbyterians not long after built one near the site of the present Cumberland Presbyterian church. There are now in the township three Methodist churches, three Free Will Baptist, one Old School Presbyterian and one Cumberland Presbyterian. Near the latter church is located the principal cemetery in the township, which is being tastefully improved. Pleasanton, situated in the eastern part of the township, on the road between Athens and Pomeroy, is a thrifty settlement, containing about twenty-five families. Simon Pierce built the first house here about 1817. Other settlers located here from time to time, and in 1851 a post office was established and the place called Pleasanton.

The early records of the township were destroyed by fire in the house of John McKee in 1827 or 1828, but as nearly as can be ascertained the first trustees were Caleb Merritt, John Brooks, and Thomas Sharp, and Caleb Merritt the first justice of the peace.

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