Adams County, Ohio History
Scott Township lies in the northern tier of townships bordering Highland County. It was formed from the north part of Wayne Township on 25 Feb 1818. Since then, Manchester and a portion of Oliver townships have been taken from its original territory. It was named in honor of Edwin Scott, an old and respected citizen.
The western portion of the township is undulating and comprises some of the best farm lands within it. Along West Fork are very fertile alluvial bottoms, and bordering this stream are moderately high hills and table lands of marked fertility of soil. The northeastern portion is hilly and the soil for the most part is unproductive.
The principal stream is West Fork, which flows across the southern part of the township from the northwest. It is a beautiful stream and receives in the west, Buck Run, which rises in Highland County, and in the southeast, George's Creek, which rises in the east central portion of the township. This tributary was named from a family by the name of George, members of which settled below the present site of Tranquility in the early days.
Flat Run, in the northeastern part of the township, flows east and is a tributary of East Fork of Ohio Brush Creek.
Some of the first settlers of Scott Township include: John McIntyre and William McIntyre, who settled on the lands recently owned by Honorable J. T. Wilson at Tranquility; Robert Elliott, who settled on the A.C. McCollough farm; John Hamilton, who settled west of Tranquility; Reuben Smith, James Montgomery, George Secrist, and John Oliver on George's Creek were among the first settlers, who came about the year 1800. Joseph Gaston, David McCreight, Mathew McCreight, James McCreight and their families came from South Carolina to George's Creek in the year 1802. The Williamsons, Simmondses, Martins and the McCulloughs came a few years later to the same vicinity.
The first mill was built by Peter Simmonds on George's Creek. Of the other early mills, Smith's and McCormick's were on West Fork, and Campbell's on Buck Run.
Tranquility, a hamlet on George's Creek in the central portion of the township, was founded by Honorable John T. Wilson. In 1832, Mr. Wilson opened a small store on George's Creek at the house of John Smiley about a half mile above the present village, where he sold dry goods, groceries and whiskey, as was the custom in those days. Afterwards, the store was conducted at his late residence. In 1861, W.A. Blair built a store room on the present site of Blair's store where the Wilson and Blair business has been conducted ever since. In the meantime, a number of families built homes near Wilson & Blair's store and the place took the name Tranquility, as suggested by Mr. Wilson to the post office department when the office was established in 1848. John McCreight was the first postmaster.
May Hill is not a regularly-laid out village, but like Tranquility grew up around a country store. It is located in the northeastern portion of the township on the border of Bratton Township, on high rolling land, and is surrounded by a poor hilly country. A post office was established there in 1850 with John A. Williamson as postmaster.
Seaman was laid out after the extension of the Cincinnati and Eastern (Cincinnati, Portsmouth and Virginia) railroad from Winchester to Portsmouth. It is one of the new and thriving villages that have sprung up along the line of that railroad. It was laid out on the lands of Mrs. Ann Mower in 1888. A post office was established in 1880 with A. Day as first postmaster. The first store in the place was kept by J.Q. Roads. It now contains two dry goods stores, one hardware and implement store, one millinery shop, two blacksmith shops, one sawmill, two hotels, two livery stables and has a population of 175 inhabitants. It is one of the pretty, thriving villages of Adams County.
Buck Run, whose post office was formerly located at Campbell's Mills on Buck Run, in recent years has had its post office kept in a private house. It is in the western portion of the township.
The first schoolhouse was a round-log cabin erected in 1807 on the hill near the site of the United Presbyterian Church at Tranquility. Here the children of the McCreights, Glasgows, Milligans, Elliotts, McCulloughs, Montgomeries, Williamsons and Beards were taught to read, write and cipher, by Samuel McCollister and James McGill.
The township at present is divided into nine sub-districts with the following enumeration of school youth:
Tranquility United Presbyterian Church is the oldest church organization in the township, and was formed in 1807, with John Milligan, John McCullough, James Montgomery, Alexander McCullough, Robert Elliott, James Wright, David McCreight, David McCreight (Jr), Robert Glasgow, and Joseph Glasgow and their families as members. The first church building, called "Hopewell Meeting House", was a log structure, erected about 1810, and was used for a church house for this congregation for forty years, when in 1853 it was supplanted by the present frame building. The congregation is a very large and wealthy one, and was originally known as West Fork Association. See history of United Presbyterian Church under Wayne Township.
Mount Zion Methodist Episcopal Church's congregation was organized in 1866. In 1868, a frame church building was erected on lands purchased from John Martin in the northeast corner of the township. After the village of Seaman began to grow, the building was removed from its former site to that village, where it now stands.
Mount Leigh Presbyterian Church is one of the oldest congregations in the township. The site of the church building, a commodious frame, is on the Buck Run Pike about one mile north of the village of Seaman.
Flat Run Methodist Episcopal Church is situated in the northeastern portion of the township, on Flat Run, near the Highland County line.
On the Criswell farm on West Fork, at what is known as "Indian Bottoms", was a village site of a tribe of Shawnee Indians. Families of these Indians came here to camp as late as 1803. While in camp at this place, a son of James Montgomery, a lad about sixteen years old, became acquainted with the Indian boys and joined them in their sports. He became so attached to his Indian friends and their mode of life that he ran away from his home and accompanied them to their villages on the Mad River. He could never be induced to return to the home of his parents.
A Pioneer Nurseryman. One of the most welcome comers to a pioneer settlement was the old-time nurseryman with his stock of apple, peach and cherry trees. These he grew from the seed and grafted and budded the young trees himself and warranted each tree to be true to name. Under his methods, apple trees lived and bore fruit for fifty or seventy-five years. In the pioneer days of the township, David McCreight conducted a small nursery on his farm on West Fork near "Hopewell Meeting House", where he grew engrafted fruit trees., and warranted as genuine such delicious old varieties as Belle Flower, Warner's Russet, Golden Pippin, Vendiver, Romenite, Cannon Permain, Nutt's Large Early and Butter Apple.
An Object Lesson in Politics. Near the Village of Seaman, in this township, is the old homestead of the Silcott family, where Craven Edward Silcott, once a prominent character in local affairs and county politics, was born and reared. He resided for many years at the village of Youngsville, near his hold home, where he was engaged in merchandising and conducted a general store. While here, he was nominated on the Democratic ticket for county auditor in 1878, but was defeated at the election following, that campaign being regarded as the bitterest contest in the history of partisan politics in the county. In the campaign, one of his staunchest supporters was John P. Leedom, afterwards a member of Congress from Adams County. Silcott and Leedom became very close personal friends, and when the latter was chosen Sergeant-at-Arms of the House after the expiration of his term as a member of that body, he persuaded Silcott to leave his business and took him to Washington and made him his cashier and chief accountant, a very responsible position. It was then the custom for the Sergeant to draw the salaries of members upon their vouchers, who checked on his cashier for funds. In this manner, hundreds of thousands of dollars came into the hands of the cashier for temporary care.
But life at Washington under the baneful influence of "the lobby" had begun to tell on "the statesman from Adams" and soon it dragged down the "genial merchant from Youngsville".
They frequented the races and, it is said, lost large sums of money. They became involved, and the cashier in 1889 fled the country, a defaulter or embezzler, to the amount of $75,000. Many of Mr. Leedom's friends in Adams County had gladly gone on his bond when he was first chosen Sergeant-at-Arms of the House, and the news of Silcott's embezzlement and flight brought anxious days and sleepless nights to them, until an investigation revealed the welcome fact that upon his selection as Sergeant-at-Arms for a second term, Mr. Leedom had not given a new bond, and the first was invalid.
Silcott fled to Mexico where afterwards his family joined him and where recently he died a dishonored, broken-hearted man. Leedom lost caste with his former friends and associates, separated from his wife, and died penniless among strangers.
It has been said by some that Silcott assumed the disgrace and fled to shield his bosom friend, Leedom. Others assert that Leedom was basely betrayed by Silcott, whom he had so implicitly trusted. Be that as it may, the awful fact remains that two bright and useful citizens of the county sacrificed home, family, friends, honor; all through the allurements of modern politics.
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]