Augusta Township

Carroll County Historical Society

Early Inhabitants   

Arrowheads, tomahawks, and other early stone relics that have been found in the Augusta Township area attest to the fact that Native Americans roamed the area and hunted wild animals that were common, including (but not limited to) bear, deer, and wolves. There were scarcely any permanent settlers in this area before 1800 but the Indians, French, and English roamed the land following Indian Trails. In the nothernmost part of Augusta Township, the Tusharawa path, also known as the Great Trail, was laid out by the Tuscarora Indians for the French in gratitude for help given them. Used extensively in early years, it was the main route between Fort Duquesne and Detroit, Michigan. Frederick Post and Captain Pipe are said to have traveled via this route in 1761 after the Delaware Indian Chief extended an invitation to visit the Indian Village on the Muskingum River, where tradition says he built a house near Bolivar. This was the first house in Ohio built by white men. He returned to Pennsylvania and back to Ohio the following spring with John Heckewelder. They brought seeds and planted the first garden in Ohio. Their plan to start a mission field.

On October 11, 1764, Colonel Bouquet and his army of 1500 men composed of 200 Virginians, 700 Pennsylvanians and 600 English regulars made their eighth campsite at the location that was to become known as Specht. Indians, as well as white men, found this a favorite campsite because of the many favorable features of the location; the wonderful spring, topography, and outstanding flora and fauna that are being preserved as a conservancy area today by Kent State University and the Nature Conservancy along the Stillfork Creek. A brass marker in place there reads, "Early in the 20th Century, as a boy traveling from his Amsterdam home, Forest W. Buchanan was impressed by this area he called it Specht Marsh. Upon further exploration this local naturalist and educator discovered that it was a glacial relict providing diverse wetland habitat for a variety of unique plants and animals. Realizing its natural significance, Forest W. Buchanan worked for its preservation with Dr. J Arthur Herrick of Kent State University. Since 1964 this site, now known at Stillfork Swamp Nature Preserve, has been protected by the Nature Conservancy and Kent State University.

This part of the state was an unbroken forest of giant trees with a few cleared patches appearing here and there in the 1820's as early settlers arrived. They came primarily from Pennsylvania,Virginia, and Maryland and were mainly of Irish, English, German and Swiss descent. The majority of the early inhabitants were farmers. Several of the Swiss pioneers were known for their expertise in the dairy and cheese making industry. Sheep, beef cattle, poultry and hogs have also had an important place as township history has evolved. The beautiful scenery, fertile soil, climate, and agricultural products probably attracted most of the early inhabitants. There was plenty of grain and wild meat, which was cheap: but other foodstuff was hard to come by. Salt was so scarce that it has been said one man grubbed five acres of land for one barrel of it. It was brought from Lisbon and Steubenville and later a Salt Factory at Mooretown. The first school houses were being built in the 1830's. Pioneers worshipped in private homes with circuit riders preaching the sermons. Church buildings started to appear in the early 1840's.

Since pioneer days, God, family, and friends have been and still are the priorities of this farming community. What a heritage! Historic churches, homes and springs continue to dot the landscape. Area barns with their timbers and field stone foundations (some hand hewn by local stone masons in the early 1800's) brought here by glacier, disappear to contractors and developers and soon will be as scarce as log cabins and spring houses of earlier times. Farming continues to be a main stay of the township.