Origin of Some Geographical Names of Guernsey County Ohio

From Col. C. P. B. Sarchet’s Writings

There is a significance about names, both historical and otherwise. We know that Millwood Township was first settled by Quakers and that your beautiful city was first called Millwood. The name now, Quaker City, is appropriate, but because the Websters built a mill on Leatherwood, it didn’t give it the name of Millwood. The reason for the name is farther back in history. Who knows?

Coming down to Salesville, we know that the Brills and Williams were the first settlers there, and that Brillsburg and Williamstown would have been appropriate names, but the name is farther back. Who knows? There have been some stories written about the “Leatherwood God” Dylks. We wrote one of these. We placed him as entering unseen into the old “loo Temple” north of Salesville. Another writer says he made his appearance at a camp meeting held near the Miller Meeting House. There is no question but there was a Dylks, but where the “God” appeared ought to be definitely located; whether on the mountaintop or in the vale, who knows?

At the first Pennyroyal Reunion, the late Hon. Newell Kennon gave some historical reminiscences. He said that the contractor who built the old stone church for the Reformed Associate Presbyterian church, in which Dr. Samuel Lindsey ministered so long, placed a jug of whiskey, and that when the church was torn down, the workmen found the jug and the whiskey in a high state of preservation. “They drank the whiskey, but I don’t know what became of the jug.” Now it would not do to say Presbyterianism about Fairview had for its cornerstone a jug of whiskey, but it was put there for some reason by the contractor. So it is sometimes with history. A part is given and the other is lost.

Leatherwood Creek was named from a peculiar bush that grew along its banks that was as pliable as leather and was used as withes by the early settlers. Beaver Creek was named because of the beavers and beaver dams along it. Seneca Creek was named from the oil that gathered on the saltwater at the old Satterthwaite salt works (which was gathered by spreading clothes on the water and then wringing out the oil, which was the same as the oil of Seneca Lake, New York). This oil was used for medicinal purposes. In our boyhood, we took some dropped on loaf sugar, but would have preferred to mix the dose ourselves. Salt Fork Creek was named from the salt lick found at the covered bridge on the National Road, where the old Moore salt works were located. Buffalo Creek was named from the many evidence of buffalo trails and stamps found near them. A legend is that the Indians had captured a woman and child and on being pursued, had first killed the child and later the mother. The child’s skull was found near Little Skull Fork, and the mother’s near Big Skull Fork.


Sarchet, Cyrus P. B. (Cyrus Parkinson Beatty). History of Guernsey County, Ohio. Vol. 1, B.F. Bowen & Company, 1911.

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