Adams County, Ohio History
In the latter part of the eighteenth century, in the days of Territorial Government in Ohio, what is now Green Township was known as Iron Ridge Township. It was not until December 1806 that the Commissioners of Adams County gave the township its present name, in honor of General, of Revolutionary fame. The township is bounded as follows: Beginning on the left bank at the mouth of Ohio Brush Creek, where it empties into the Ohio River; thence up the creek to the mouth of Beasley's Fork; thence on a straight line to the headwaters of Black's Run; thence on the highlands of Ohio and Scioto Brush Creek to the east line of Adams County; thence south along said county line to the Ohio River; thence down said river to the beginning. Township has fourteen miles of river frontage.
After leaving the river bottom land s a very large proportion of the surface is high, hilly and rough. The highest point of land in the State of Ohio is said to be within the limits of Township just above Rome on the Ohio River. [NB: Peach Mountain, in Meigs Township has an altitude of 1,120 feet above mean sea level, the highest point in Adams County. Campbell Hill, east of Bellefontaine in Logan County, is the highest point in Ohio, at 1,549 feet above mean sea level.] These high, rocky cliffs are composted largely of what is known as Waverly sandstone, and, consequently, are very valuable. Immense quantities have been gotten out, and shipped to all parts of the state and the United States for building purposes. Many of the very finest buildings in e country were built from material shipped from Township.
Stouts Run is the principal stream within the limits of the township. It empties its waters into the Ohio River one-half mile from the village of Rome. About one mile above its mouth, Stouts Run is divided into two forks, one known as the East, and the other as the West Fork. They are supplied with water from smaller tributaries, such as small streams, and springs coming down from the hills and mountain sides. The only other stream of any importance is Long Lick, which empties its waters into the Ohio River a few miles above Rome.
The soil of Township is, in the main, very fertile; especially is this true of the soil of the river bottoms, and of the smaller bottoms lying along the streams above mentioned, and Ohio Brush Creek bottoms. In addition to this, the tillable land on the hills, for the most part, produces most excellent crops of corn and tobacco. The principal crops produced in the township are wheat, oats, corn and tobacco; also potatoes are grown in considerable quantities. Perhaps no township in the county grows more, or better quality of tobacco than. Fruit and especially apples are produced in large quantities on the fertile hills. A little more than a score of years ago, Township was the greatest peach producing locality in the state. Hundreds of thousands of bushels of this fruit were grown and shipped to foreign markets; but of late years comparatively little of this fruit has been grown; most of the old peach orchards having died out, being much shorter lived than the apple trees. The celebrated Rome Beauty apple originated at Rome in this township.
The following are a few of the first settlers of Township as obtained from the meager source to which we have had access. The first white settler was Obadiah Stout, who was a native of New Jersey, and served through the Revolutionary War. Mr. Stout had ten children, the youngest two, named Obadiah and John, were scalped by the Indians while he lived at Graham's Station in Kentucky. He moved to Township in the year 1796, and settled on the east, or Puntenney's Fork of Stouts Run. In 1796 Obadiah Stout Jr, grandson of Obadiah Stout, Senior, was born, being the first white child born in Township. Soon after this settlement, several other families came into the neighborhood, among whom were the Colvins, Pettits, Montgomerys, Samuels, Russels, and George H. Puntenney and his father-in-law, William Hamilton, who taught the first school in the township.
After this, in 1804, there were four distilleries, one school house, and no church. Now there are six church buildings (three others having recently been destroyed by fire) and fourteen school houses, and no distillery.
George Hollingsworth Puntenney moved to Township in March 1800, and settled on the East Fork of Stouts Run on the farm now owned by A.C. Smith. His son, James Puntenney, was born 01 Sep 1800, being the second white child born in the township. George H. Puntenney and wife, Margaret, were among the most prominent citizens of the township. They are interred in the Puntenney Cemetery on the home farm.
James Puntenney, whose birth is referred to above, was married in the year 1823 to Miss Martha Waite, of Blue Creek. His whole life was spent on Stouts Run. His death occurred 07 May 1890, when he was nearly ninety years of age. His wife was five years younger than he, and her death was five years prior to his. Mr. Puntenney was a man of most excellent character. He was honored and respected by everybody who knew him, but especially by the poor in his community, to whose needs he always stood ready to contribute. Away back in the dark days of human bondage, before the Civil War, the home of Mr. Puntenney was known as a resting place for those who were fleeing from the cruel slavery of our neighbor state, Kentucky. Very many, no doubt, have thus partaken of his generous bounty, and have been spirited on towards the farther North, where they hoped to breathe the pure air of freedom, without the fear of being recaptured and carried back into bondage at the cruel hand of the master.
While there are several mounds within the limits of Township, very few are of sufficient importance to find a place in this history. In Volume V, Ohio Archaeological Reports, we find the following in reference to Township mounds:
Just below Rome, on the high bank of the river, two hundred yards from the water, is a mound two feet high and fifty feet in diameter. In this small structure were found no less than twenty-two skeletons, some of which appeared to have been buried in part only. There were many fragments of pottery in the mound, but we think the presence of these is due to the fact that the earth immediately around the village was scooped up to form the mound, consequently much of the village site debris was gathered into baskets, and dumped upon the structure. Perforated mussel shells were with many of the bodies, a bone awl, and a slate celt polished at both ends. There were three arrow heads, three war points, and three worked pieces of shell. Some twenty perforated humeri were secured, but no whole skulls, as every one was broken, as were most of the long bones. The vertebral columns of some of the skeletons were only half present, which led us to believe that some of the bodies had been gathered when the flesh was denuded from the bones. Possibly from a battle field, possibly from a charnel house -- who can tell?
The most important find was the bones of an exceedingly large individual. These bones were very badly decayed, but the tibia was removed in fair shape. The width of this bone was nearly two inches, being very massive, and somewhat bent. The femora were very large and more curved than is usual. Many pipes and ornaments have been found around this mound.
Rome, on the Ohio River near the site of the old town of Adamsville, is the largest village in the township It was laid out by William Stout in 1835. The post office here is named Stout.
Commercialtown, on the Ohio about six miles above Rome, was laid out in 1832 by S.B. McCall.
Rockville, adjoining Commercialtown, was laid out in 1830. Both these villages are shipping points for the stone quarries in the vicinity.
Waggoners Ripple is a post office established in 1842 at the crossing of Ohio Brush Creek on the western border of the township.
There are at present the following mills in the township. A flouring mill and a planing mill at Rome, operated by W.D. Pennywitt; a flouring mill owned and operated by Abraham Wamsley; a flouring mill owned by Richard Moore and a grist mill owned and operated by James Harper.
Stouts Run United Presbyterian, organized in 1862; Stouts Run Christian, organized by Mathew Gardner in 1830; Rome Presbyterian, organized 25 Nov 1844; Rome Methodist Episcopal, organized about 1818; Sandy Springs Methodist Episcopal; Sandy Springs Baptist; Sandy Springs Presbyterian.
There are two special school districts in the township, one at the village of Rome and the other at Sandy Springs. The enumeration in the Rome Special District is: males, 69, females, 90. Sandy Springs: males, 38, females, 24.
There are also eleven sub-district schools with the following enumeration:
In the year 1809, a young woman named Elizabeth Catt was charged with infanticide, having, as charged, strangled her day-old infant to death. She was arrested and given a preliminary hearing before a jury of twelve women, residents of Township, whose names were as follows: Elizabeth Eakins, Elizabeth Stout, Margaret Puntenney, Margaret Montgomery, Hannah Eakins, Charity Hubbard, Frances Russell, Nancy Wood, Margaret Stout, senior, Margaret Stout, junior, Sarah Cole, and Mary Colvin. The accused was bound over to the Court of Common Pleas and upon trial before a jury was acquitted of the charge.
The Haunted Cave
Among the lofty crags near the headwaters of Black's Run on the northwestern border of Township is a remarkable cavern known as The Haunted Cave. In pioneer days it was the dwelling place of desperadoes who preyed on the fleets of emigrant boats as they floated down the Ohio to the gateway of the Virginia Reservation and the Northwest Territory. It is a tradition that the notorious James Girty, a brother of Simon Girty, made this cavern the place of rendezvous of this band of savages and desperadoes prior to the settlement of the whites in that region. The murder of Greathouse who was captured with his companions on a pirogue near the mouth of Ohio Brush Creek in 1790, and tied to a tree and whipped to death, is attributed to Girty and his followers. Mysterious murders at the moth of Long Lick, and the vicinity o Brush Creek Island are said to have been committed by dwellers in the Haunted Cave. The cavern, which consists of numerous large rooms in one of which is a sparkling stream of water, is entered by means of a ladder down to the outer chamber, and was accidentally discovered by old Jonathan Waite while exploring the crags and crevices of the region for a traditional lead mine in the early part of the eighteenth century.
Murder of James H. Rice
The widowed mother of Frank Hardy, a young man of about eighteen years of age, had married James H. Rice and the three were living two miles above Rome in 1869. On 23 Feb, while assisting Rive with some work about the stable, Hardy killed him with an axe, and placing the body on a sled covered it with cornstalks and stable manure and hauled it down to the river bank where he had already dug a pit, and threw the body of Rice into it. He then filled up the pit, covering the surface with cornstalks and stable refuse, hastened to his home, changed his clothing and fled the country. He was finally arrested at Cairo IL, and at the September term of the Court of Common Pleas was found guilty of murder in the first degree and sentenced to be hanged on the second Friday in February 1870. The Supreme Court suspended the execution until the case could be reviewed, and then sustained the court below and fixed the day of execution for 06 May 1870. On 27 Apr, Governor Hayes commuted the sentence to imprisonment for life, and in 1874, Governor Bishop pardoned Hardy. Frank Hardy was the second and last person to receive the death sentence in the courts of the county.
The Loughry Lands
They lie in Township, Adams County, and in Nile Township, Scioto County OH. They embrace 745 acres in one body, perhaps the largest tract in Adams County under one ownership. The tract is made up of twelve surveys and parts of surveys. The entire tract fronts on the Ohio River one mile from the western boundary at Buena Vista, Scioto County, to the town plat of Commercial, Adams County. The steamboat landings at Buena Vista and at Rockville are in this tract. There is deep water along the entire front. Fifty-five acres are in the river bottoms, which varies from six to twenty rods wide. Three small streams flow into the river from this tract: Flat Run, Gregg Run and Rock Run. The latter is a canyon and the scenery along it is picturesque.
The main residence on these lands is in the village of Rockville, where Mrs. Sallie B. Loughry resides, and where she keeps summer boarders. It is located on the river bank with a delightful lawn and surroundings. It has fine old trees and commands pleasant views up and down the valley of the Ohio opposite, and the Kentucky hills in the background. The home is an old-fashioned one with many outbuildings for stock. There are five dwelling houses on the property outside the main residence. There is one in the yard with the main dwelling house, two up Rock Run and in the bottom midway between Buena Vista and Rockville is a stone house build by Joseph Moore in 1814 of the Waverly sandstone taken from the hills adjacent. At the foot of the hills near Buena Vista are two other farm houses in good repair and occupied by tenants. Good barns are at different points on the tract.
The bottom lands produce excellent crops of corn, wheat and grass. The soil in the hills is adapted to tobacco and to pasturage. In years gone by, extensive peach orchards grew and yielded luscious crops successive seasons. no finer peaches were ever produced in the United states than were grown on these lands.
General Nathaniel Massie, who located almost all the land son the Ohio River From Aberdeen to Portsmouth, located the surveys bordering the river as early as 1791. The late Judge Joseph Moore, who in early life was a stone cutter, purchased two of the tracts from Massie prior to 1814, and in the latter year built the stone house already mentioned. He resided there until 1830. Between 1814 and 1830, he made rafts of deadened poplar trees, loaded them with blocks of sandstone from the foot of the hills and shipped them to Cincinnati for building stone, where there was then a good market for this stone and has been ever since. From 1814 to the present time, building stone has been shipped from these lands, or those in the vicinity, to Cincinnati. In 1830, Judge Moore retired to his farm above Buena Vista and the late John Loughry took the tract. He had a contract to furnish shoten for the Miami Canal. Judge Moore got all of his stone from the foot of the hills, but Loughry began his work at the top. The canal locks in and about Cincinnati, built with this stone, have stood over sixty years and today are as good as when furnished. The foundation of the main residence on the tract was put in from this stone sixty-seven years ago  and is as good as at first. The marks of the hammer are as fresh as if made but yesterday. Cincinnati is full of business houses and dwelling fronts made from these quarries. It is also constantly used in brick houses for window caps and sills.
John Loughry at first dragged the stone to the river with ox teams, but afterwards built chutes in the hillsides and slid the stone down, and lastly he made good roads and hauled the stone down on wagons. in more recent years, an inclined railroad was used for the purpose, and locomotives hauled the stone to the top of the hill and from there it was lowered by endless cables to the wharves. The stone was first loaded on decked scows by means of rollers and crowbars, but later hoisting machinery was used, capable of lifting the largest blocks. The decked barge was a great stride from the log raft of Jude Moore, every one of which went ultimately to the New Orleans market. When tow boats came into use, the barges were no longer sold but returned and kept in the business.
The City Ledge, so named by John Loughry, proved to be the most popular stone in Cincinnati. It is a light drab or gray in color. For special orders, blocks containing three hundred cubic feet and weighing twenty-four tons have been quarried and shipped. The stone above and below the City Ledge was quarried. The Trust Company Bank at the southwest corner of Third and Main Streets in Cincinnati was built with stone from a particular ledge named the Trust Company Ledge. The [Miami] Canal locks were built of Yellow ledge near the top of the hill, but all ledges have stood the test of time.
John Loughry retired from the business of quarrying stone on the lands in 1856, but his son, John C. Loughry, conducted it from that date until 1861, when the quarrying ceased. He resumed it from 1863 to 1865, when he got out the stone used for the piers of the suspension bridge at Cincinnati. In 1865, he sold out to the Caden Brothers, who conducted the business on an extensive scale till 1873, when Mr. John C. Loughry bought the tract back. For along time he sold the stone to John M. Mueller, at a royalty of three to four cents per cubic foot in the quarry.
The stone business is an extensive one at Buena Vista, and in Lewis County KY, nearly opposite. The village of Buena Vista is devoted wholly to the stone trade, and Garrison and Quincy on the opposite side are also devoted to it.
The City Ledge is still unquarried for more than a mile and a half. In the city of Portsmouth, sixteen miles from Buena Vista, the saw mills are running constantly, sawing the same quality of stone, but the stone near Portsmouth is not so excellent as that at Buena Vista for many purposes. In Portsmouth and Buena Vista, many pavements are laid with this sawed Waverly sandstone. Front steps are made from it, but it is most extensively used for trimmings and for window caps and sills. This same stone has been largely used in New York, Chicago and Washington D.C. The beauty of the stone, the ease with which it works under the chisel or the saw, makes it very popular in a wide range of territory, and for house steps, window caps and sills, cornices, etc., it has no equal. Bridges, piers, arch culverts and heavy foundations are made of it constantly.
The piers of the suspension bridge and of the L&N railroad bridge at Cincinnati, of the N&W bridge at Kenova WV, and the culvert and bridge piers on the N&W railroad between Columbus and Ironton, Lawrence County, and on the C&O rails between Huntington and Cincinnati, are made of it. Many business blocks in Cincinnati are faced with it, and it is now largely quarried on the CP&V railroad, and on the C&O opposite the same place. There are sixty ledges of this stone on the tract. Twenty-two of them are below the City Ledge and the lowest of them is tow hundred feet above the level of the bottom land. None of these ledges can be worked about Portsmouth for there they are below the level of the river. On this tract they can be worked for a mile on the Ohio River front and on both sides of Rock Run; for two or three miles up that stream, the canyon of that stream affords good dumping ground.
But stone is not the only mineral wealth of this tract. The clays are most valuable. The two hundred feet of shale extending from the level of the bottom land to the first ledge contains much oil. Before the discovery of petroleum, it was distilled for lubricating and illuminating oils. Lying in the City Ledge is a blue clay which burns to the color of the famous Milwaukee brick, and just below it, is a stratum which will make the best of sewer pipe. Sixteen feet above the City Ledge is a red clay, which has been used by the Rockwood Pottery at Cincinnati. Beautiful building brick has been made from it. This clay is well adapted to art pottery, and for bricks for house fronts. Several articles of pottery made from this clay were decorated by Mrs. Bellamy Storer and took distinguished prizes at the Paris Exposition.
As a summer resort, this place has many attractions. All the passenger boats land directly in front of the main residence. The C&O railroad is directly across the river and persons can get off at either Garland or Buena Vista station. There are chalybeate springs on the property like the Adams County Mineral Springs, or Esculapia in Kentucky. The canyon of Rock Run is always cool. The scenery around and below the tract is as fine as any in the Ohio Valley. There is good driving up and down the river valley, fine fishing in the river and it is an excellent locality for those fond of rowing.
The property is owned by H.D. Mirick, of No. 1302 N Street, NW, Washington DC, and controlled by N.W. Evans of Portsmouth Ohio.
From A HISTORY OF ADAMS COUNTY, OHIO
from its earliest settlement to the present time including character sketches of the prominent persons identified with the first century of the county's growth and containing numerous engravings and illustrations
Nelson W. Evans and Emmons B. Stivers [1900, West Union OH]