Union Township

Carroll County Historical Society

Early Inhabitants

The first history of the community dates back to 1816 when John Fawcett and his family immigrated to America. They traveled by ship to New York City and then came to Ohio on foot to land acquired from the government. They were the first Irish people to locate here, but were soon followed by many of their relatives and former neighbors. John's son Charles, born in Ireland, assisted his parents in clearing the land and in laying out the farm.  Charles married Marjorie Brooks in 1818. Marjorie and her parents had also immigrated to the area from Ireland.

Charles and Marjorie's first residence was a small log cabin built in the wilderness. It had a clapboard roof, puncheon floor, huge fireplace and a single door, which swung on wooden hinges and a wooden latch with a string. The string would invariably be found on the outside; hence the saying “the latchstring is always out”. They raised a family of eleven children. In later years they built a brick house (2071 Rebel Rd SW).  Their first son, John, was born in Union Township in 1822 and grew to manhood surrounded by the dangers and limited to the advantages that fell to the lot of pioneer boys.

Another son, Charles, married Rosanna Crosier in 1845. They purchased 40 acres and built a little log cabin where they reared their family. In later years, they built a brick dwelling that is still standing on 131 Stark Road.

Pioneer mothers were kept busy with such household duties as spinning, weaving and making clothing for the family. On special occasions what was known as the Carroll County uniform was worn, home spun linsey trousers and red wampus. The boys would go sometimes with their father to Steubenville, a distance of 30 miles, with a load of wheat, thrashed with a flail, to exchange for groceries and other necessities of life. [Flail was a hand instrument made of wood and used to separate the wheat from the chaff.]

One of the early natives from Fermanagh District Ireland
was Henry Brooks. In 1818 Henry and his family left Ireland for America. Sadly, Mr. Brooks died aboard ship and was thus buried in the Atlantic Ocean. His family reached land and proceeded westward into Ohio. They settled on a tract of government land among their Irish  neighbors who preceded them.

 John Henry Brooks Family

Thomas Brooks, a grandson of Henry, was born on the Brooks homestead in 1826.
He grew to manhood wearing homespun clothing and attended subscription schools.
In 1847 he married Elizabeth Crozier of Cadiz and moved to his own log cabin in the wilderness of Union Township. Their children assisted them in the duties of the farm receiving the advantages of a practical education.

John, the oldest son, married Eliza Lindsey also of Irish descent. They purchased a farm of 236 acres, located about two miles south of Carrollton.
Union Township
Fred Brooks Farm

Ferd Brooks Home-2071 Rebel Rd   He was soon recognized as one of the leading and successful farmers of the township. Their son Ferd C. Brooks followed in the footsteps of his ancestors until 1958.

 Union Township

Brooks Reunion  1902

1st Row- Shull Toot, Thomas Brooks, Sr.,  Thomas & Mary Jane Grigsby McCort, John G & Mary Moreland Brooks, Mrs Peter Smeltz, Mrs Scarlot, James & Mary Urie Brooks   

2nd- Charles & Elsie Norris Fawcett Capper w/Charles Capper, Jane B Rutledge, Thomas Brooks, Mrs Alex Long, James Cassidy, James & Elizabeth McCort Capper, Dr. Jasper & Patricia Brackin Tope

3rd-  M/M Frank Brooks, Mrs Abagail Umplebee, William & Rebecca Brooks Coffy, Mrs Thomas Brooks, Thomas & Matilda Maple Rutledge, Jane Rutledge, Finley & Rebecca Walters Brooks

The Niven family came to Union Township in 1827. They were Scotch Irish decent and first settled in Pennsylvania in 1811. William Nivin was fourteen when he came with his parent to Union Township. He helped in clearing the land and helping develop a home in the wilderness and fighting with wild animals. The Nivins became prominent and successful citizens of the township.

The Rutledge family came from Ireland in 1827.  First were Edward and Robert Rutledge, later came the family of Thomas Rutledge. Thomas came from Ireland in 1832 and settled in Pennsylvania. After his death, his widow, with her family of small children, came to Ohio and settled in Little Ireland.  Thomas, the youngest son, occupied his time in helping supply the necessities for the family support. In 1839 he married Matilda Maple. They settled on a small farm and added to it until it comprised 177 acres. They were faithful members of the Mt Pleasant Methodist Protestant Church, assisted in the support of the Society and in the erection of a house of worship by a liberal contribution of his means.

Alexander and Nancy (Scott) Long came from Donegal County, Ireland and settled in Union Township in 1832. They were the parents of twelve children. Both Alexander and Nancy lived to be 87 years of age. They were faithful members of Pleasant Hill Methodist Episcopal Church.

Not all immigrants were from Ireland.  The Tope family came from Germany and first settled in Maryland. George Tope, a descendant of this family, left his native state for the Wild West or what we now call Union Township. It is said he was the father of 24 children, was married twice, 12 children to each wife including 2 sets of twins to each wife.

In 1815, George Tope, his sons and a nephew took advantage of the water flowing through the township along McGuire's Fork, which is a branch of the Conotton Creek, and built the first sawmill. Three years later they built the first gristmill. It was a log affair, which they built themselves. The area became known as Tope's Mill. Reference is made to this mill when the Commissioners appropriated $20.00 from the Bridge Tax to be expended under the direction of Eli Tope Sr., to the expiration of a bridge across the creek at Tope’s Mill, and to be drawn on the 1st day of January 1843. (June session, 1840 Commissioners' log.)

George was quite the entrepreneur for his time.  After a few years of living in the area, he built a log house and kept a little store. The first Post Office in the township was in one end of this store. It was designated as Algonquin at that time and later became known as Petersburg. The mail was received and delivered by a tri-weekly star route between Carrollton and Scio.