Ohio History Journal

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In 1797, before a white settler had found a home in the tract

of country now forming the county of Union, a town was laid

out on a large scale in what is now Darby Township, on the south

side of Big Darby Creek, by Lucas Sullivant, who named it North

Liberty. Doubtless Mr. Sullivant expected his town would at

some not distant day be a busy metropolis, but he ruined its

prospects by laying out in August of the same year (1797), the

town of Franklinton, on the west side of the Scioto River, op-

posite the subsequent site of Columbus.

The honor of being the first settlers in the county is awarded

to James and Joshua Ewing, and it is said that Mr. Sullivant in-

duced them to locate at North Liberty in order to begin the set-

tlement at that place, and if such was the fact, which is probable,

it must have been as late as the fall of 1797 or the spring of

1798. The latter year is given by the best authority as the date

of their arrival.

Union County was then included in the territory comprising

Ross County, of which Chillicothe was the seat of justice.

At the time the earliest settlers took possession of their

farms in this region, Indians were numerous. They lived farther

north and only descended to Big Darby to engage in hunting and

fishing. They encamped here and often remained for several

months at a time. The site of North Liberty was one of their

favorite tenting grounds. When the war of 1812 opened, appre-

hensions of trouble with these Indians were entertained, but they

remained friendly and no hostilities or difficulties arose to mar

their peaceful relations. Some of the rougher class of settlers

were on intimate terms with the Indians and would go to their

camps and join in the convivial feasts that were held there. The

children of the earliest pioneer were for a time in mortal dread of