This township was settled under the auspices of the Ohio Company in the year 1798-about a year after the settlement of Athens and Ames. Some events connected with its history can, however, be traced back to a period nearly twenty-five years prior to that date. We have referred elsewhere to ” Dunmore’s war” and to the building of a fort at the mouth of the Hockhocking in 1774. When the first settlers came into Troy in 1798, the outlines of Dunmore’s camping ground were plainly discernible. Over a tract containing about twenty acres young saplings and underbrush had grown up, and it had the appearance of an old clearing. For many years after this the settlers used to find, in plowing their fields, mementoes of Dunmore’s army, such as hatchets, gun barrels, bullets, etc. A rusty, but tolerably well preserved sword is still to be seen (or was recently), in the college museum at Athens, which was found on the west side of the Hockhocking near the roots of a fallen tree. Possibly in that campaign across Athens county, made nearly a century ago, it adorned the person of some young English nobleman whom love of adventure or of fame induced to accompany Lord Dunmore in his arduous march; or, perhaps, it was wielded by the strong arm of some native son of Virginia, who, a few months later, was striking swift and manful blows for his country’s independence. Whatever its history, it has lo -g rested in silence and rust. Though it may once have ” spoken for itself,” it is never likely to find tongue again, and every observer is at liberty to imagine for himself who its owner was and what its history may have been.
From its position at the mouth of one river and on the banks of another, both of which were more or less frequented by the Indians, this section of country must have been very familiar to them. Perhaps for hundreds of years before the white man came hither, the light canoe of the Indian used to glide down the Hockhocking, and from its narrow channel out upon the smooth flowing waters of the Ohio.
In 1798 a company of about forty persons, including men, women and children, started from near Springfield, Massachusetts, for the west. They landed at Belpre, and from thence came in 1799 to what is now Troy township and settled on the Hockhocking about seven miles from its mouth. In this party were Eleazur Washburn, Noah, Cyrus, and Xerxes Paulk, Horace Parsons, and Ephraim Frost with their families. Xerxes Paulk and Horace Parsons were Baptist preachers; the latter was pastor of the first Baptist church in the township for about thirty years.
Troy, as its boundaries were originally defined by the county commissioners at their first meeting, comprised the territory which now constitutes the townships of Orange and Olive in Meigs county, and Rome, Carthage, and Troy in Athens county. At that time the Hockhocking river was the dividing line between Athens and Washington counties, but by an act of the legislature passed February 18, 1807, the portion of township No. 5, range 11 (now Troy), lying east of the river, was detached from Washington and added to Athens county. The formation of Carthage township in 1810 and of Rome in 1811, and the erection of Meigs county in 1819, taking off two townships, reduced Troy to its present limits. The population of the township in 1820 was 541; in 1830 it was 459; in 1840 it was 1,056; in 1850 it was 1,421; in 1860 it was 1,747. The first election for township officers was held in 1805 at the house of Ebenezer Buckingham. Stephen Buckingham was township lister for that year. These men were the founders of the Buckingham family which, removing subsequently to Muskingum county, became celebrated for wealth and social influence.
Rome township being stricken off from Troy in 1811 took with it many of the prominent early settlers, some of whom are noticed in Chapter XVI, as Asahel Cooley, Levi Stedman, Daniel Stewart, and others. Kingman Dutton, father of Mr. Samuel Dutton, still living in Troy, settled at the mouth of Hockhocking with his family in 1806. At that time there were only two roads in the township-one passed through the center, running from Belpre to Chillicothe, the ferry of which was kept about two and a half miles above the present site of Coolville by Xerxes Paulk; and another from Belpre down the Ohio to the mouth of Hockhocking, thence by the ridge (through Carthage township), to Athens. About 1815 a road was laid out from the mouth of Hockhocking up the eastern bank of the river to Federal creek, where it intersected the Federal creek road from the Ames settlement. At this early period the great majority of the emigrants to Athens county used to come down the Ohio to the mouth of Hockhocking and then ascend that river in pirogues or canoes. Kingman Dutton kept a number of these craft, and he and his son carried on the business of conveying emigrants and their goods up the Hockhocking. Abram Brookhart settled in Troy in 1811, and was township trustee for several years; Jonas Smith, who came in 1810, was township trustee for several terms; Silas Blizzard and Martin Griffin came in 1810. The township records prior to 1837 are lost.
The present population of the township, owing to the losses in war, drainage by emigration and other natural causes, is but slightly greater than it was in 1860. Hockingport, at the mouth of the Hockhocking river, one of the earliest settlements in the county, gives no signs of future growth. Formerly, when the merchants of Athens, Amesville, Coolville, and other places had their goods landed at Hockingport and hauled thence to various parts of the county, the place had some activity. But since the construction of the Marietta & Cincinnati railroad, Hockingport has been deprived of its principal source of business. A much more interesting and thriving village is Coolville, on the west bank of the Hockhocking five miles from its mouth, the settlement of which was begun in 1814 by Simeon W. Cooley and his son Heman, who built a mill there. The town was laid out in 1818, incorporated in 1855, and its present population is about three hundred. Surrounded with a good agricultural region and an industrious population, Coolville is likely to continue one of the most pleasant villages in the county. It has three churches, two district schools, a prosperous seminary, a town hall, masonic hall, etc.
Among the earliest settlers in Troy were Benajah Hoyt, Xerxes Paulk, Joseph Guthrie, Daniel Stewart, the Barrows family, William Pilcher, Asahel Cooley, John Torrence, Oliver Rice, Cummins Porter, Stephen Buckingham, Abram Richardson, Truman Hickox, and the Frost family. Some of these are noticed in connection with Rome and Carthage. Benajah Hoyt was probably the first white settler in Troy. He came from Nova Scotia to the mouth of the Hockhocking with his family in 1797. E. H. Williams, a grandson of his, owns and resides on the lot in Hockingport on which Hoyt first built a cabin. One of Mr. Hoyt’s daughters, Sarah, married Captain Charles Devol, of Washington county. They had two sons and two daughters. Frank Devol, the oldest son, is a wealthy farmer in one of the western states. The youngest son, Prescott H. Devol, is noticed elsewhere. The eldest daughter of Mrs. Devol married Benjamin Dana of Washington county (both now deceased); and the youngest, Henrietta, is the wife of Mr. Samuel S. Knowles, late member of the state senate, and a well known lawyer of Marietta. Mrs. Devol is still living in Mr. Knowles’ family. Among the early settlers at Coolville were the Cooleys, Jacob S. Miller and Alfred Hobby. Mr. John Frame settled here in 1833, and in 1840 commenced merchandizing and dealing in wool, grain, and country produce. Though over sixty years of age he still engages actively in business, having associated his sons with him. Dr. John Pratt, a native of Schuyler county, New York, settled in Coolville in 1835. He is now sixty-eight years of age, hale and healthy, and has practiced his profession in this community for a third of a century.
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