The township of Dover originally formed a part of Ames, and as such was settled as early as 1799. It was not, however, separately organized as a township till 1811. On the 4th of April, 1811, the county commissioners ordered:
“That so much of the township of Ames as lies west of the thirteenth range, be erected into a separate township by the name of Dover.
1 Ordered, further, That the clerk of the board notify the inhabitants of the township of Dover to meet at the house of Othniel Tuttle in said township, on Saturday, the 20th of April, instant, for the purpose of electing township officers.”
Thus Dover, as originally organized (including all that part of Ames lying west of the thirteenth range), comprised the present townships of Ward, Green, and Starr, in Hocking county, and Trimble, York, and Dover, in Athens. The main settlements were on Sunday creek and near the waters of the Hockhocking, and it was many years before the forests of the remote parts of the township were invaded by any but the solitary hunter and trapper, or the hardy frontiersman who could not brook near neighborhood.
Among the early settlers of Dover were Daniel Weethee, Josiah True, Abraham Pugsley, Azel Johnson, Henry O’Neill, Samuel Tannehill, Barney J. Robinson, Cornelius Shoemaker, Nehemiah Davis, James Pickett, Jeremiah Cass, Jonathan Watkins, the Nye family, Reuben J. Davis, the Fullers, Luther Danielson, George Wilson, Benjamin Davis, Uriah Nash, Eliphalet Wheeler, Reuben Hurlbut, Samuel Stacey, Thomas A. Smith, Uriah Tippee, Abner Connett, and others mentioned elsewhere.
The township is thoroughly well watered by the Hockhocking river, Sunday creek, and their tributaries. A portion of its surface is rather rough, but the hills are of moderate elevation, and admirably adapted to the growth of wheat and fruits, and to sheep raising; while in other parts of the township are broad and fertile plains. The mineral resources of the township are extensive and valuable. In the southern portion are the salt regions, near the junction of Sunday creek with the Hockhocking, about Chauncey and Salina. There are two extensive deposits of coal-a vein four feet thick mined from the surface, and another six feet thick reached by shafting about a hundred feet. There are also excellent limestone and building stone in the township.
There are three villages in Dover, viz: Millfield, on Sunday creek, in the northern part of the township, with a population of about two hundred; Salina, a thriving village on the Hockhocking, where the salt works of M. M. Greene & Co. are situated, and Chauncey, on the opposite side of the river from Salina. Chauncey was laid out in 1839. About 1831 Resolved Fuller bored a salt well on the upper portion of his fine farm (including the present site of Chauncey), obtained good salt water, and prepared to manufacture salt on a small scale. In 1833, however, he sold his works and about four hundred acres of land to Calvary Morris and Norman Root, of Athens, who built an enlarged furnace and so extended the business, that in 1837 they sold it to Messrs. Ewing and Vinton for six thousand five hundred dollars. In 1838 Messrs. Ewing and Vinton, together with Elihu Chauncey and Nicholas Biddle, capitalists of Philadelphia, bought Resolved Fuller’s farm, on which Chauncey is located, for twelve thousand five hundred dollars, and the next year laid off the town. They invested largely in surrounding lands, bored other salt wells, built a brick hotel and several houses, and expected to establish a thriving town. But the place has never prospered greatly, and has at present a population of only one hundred and fifty.
The total population of Dover in 1820 was 607; in 1830 it was 550 (its territory having been curtailed); in 1840 it was 1290; in 1850 it was 1232; in 1860 it was 1423.
“Weethee college,” at Mt. Auburn in the northern part of the township, is one of the best educational establishments in the county. It was founded in 1861 entirely through the efforts of the Rev. J. P. Weethee, who continues to be its controller and liberal patron. Youth of both sexes are taught here, and the institution has begun a career of assured success and usefulness.
The early settlers of Dover were sterling men and not behind any others in the country in their desire for knowledge and progress. Part of the credit of forming the old ” Coonskin library ” justly belongs to them. Many shares were taken by persons living in those parts which afterward became Dover, and by the men who were in later years the fathers of the township. In January, 1816, at a meeting of the shareholders of the library it was
“Resolved, That one of the directors of the association be hereafter chosen from among the shareholders belonging to the township of Dover, and the said director shall have the care of as many books belonging to the library as the shareholders in Dover are entitled to draw, and shall deliver out, receive in and mark the damages on said books agreeably to the rules and regulations of the society; and once in six months he shall deliver over to the society all the books in his care, and meet the other directors for the purpose of transacting the necessary business of the society.”
Eventually a division of the library was made, and by an act of the legislature passed December 21, 1830, the “Dover library association” was incorporated, with Daniel Weethee, Alanson Hibbard, Azariah Pratt, Josiah True, John B. Johnson, William Hyde, and John Pugsley as the original incorporators, and Daniel Weethee, Alanson Hibbard, and Azariah Pratt as directors for the first year.
We have not been able to procure the records of the township previous to 1825; they have been lost or destroyed. The following are the township trustees since that time.
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