New Vernon Township

New Vernon Township in 1888

New Vernon Township was originally a part of Sandy Creek. But the latter was so large and unwieldy that great trouble was had in collecting taxes over such an extensive area, and also in establishing voting places at points accessible to persons living in all portions of the township. These difficulties, it was thought, would be greatly lessened by a separation from the parent organization and the formation of a new and smaller one. Accordingly on the 18th of December, 1850, a number of petitions were handed in to the Court praying for the appointment of a board of commissioners to view the territory in question, lay out boundaries for the establishment of three new townships, and report upon the general practicability of the scheme. In accordance with these prayers, the Court appointed Joseph Kerr, Francis Beatty and James A. Leech.  The latter looked over the ground, decided that a division of the old township into four equal parts would be expedient, and reported accordingly, April 7, 1851. This report was confirmed June 23 and the four new townships were named, respectively Deer Creek, New Vernon, Mineral (now Perry), and the fourth retaining the original title, Sandy Creek. Of these four New Vernon was the southeastern division. Its surface is well diversified. The portion adjacent to Big Sandy Creek is rather level, while in the south eastern part of the township many sharply-marked hills spring up forming a bluff looking outline. The principal interest in the region is agriculture. The soil is fertile, and good crops are raised from it. The township is one of the best drained in the county. The Little Shenango and the Big Sandy both flow through it, and with their tributaries form a network of sluiceways which carry off all the surplus water. Indeed, considered from an agricultural point of view, New Vernon may fairly take front rank. The history of the settlement of this township is intimately interwoven with the narrative o the parent organization, Sandy Creek. The early settlers were later in arriving in the southeastern part of the old division than in some other portions of the county. But their arrival, even if late, was fraught with beneficent results, both to themselves and to those who came after them.

The Ten Milers - This was the name of a colony which originally came from New Jersey and settled in Washington County. Penn., some time during the latter half of the last century, on what was known as Ten Mile Run. These people sold out in Washington County in 1797 or 1798, and removed to Mercer County, settling on the Big Sandy, not far from the present village of New Vernon. The name “Ten Milers,” given to this settlement, was derived from the place left in Washington County. In the list of “Ten Milers” were Daniel Axtell, David Condit, Cyrus Riggs, John Holloway, Isaac Holloway, Ithiel Dodd, Stephen Riggs, Price Dilley and Ira Condit, the preacher. Lincoln Axtell, son of Daniel, built the first grist-mill in the neighborhood. These men were afterward elders in the Fairview Presbyterian Church at New Vernon.

Mills -  In glancing at the  industrial interests of New Vernon Township, one is impressed with the fact that they are few in number and unimportant in extent. Not unimportant, either, for nothing can be wholly unimportant which is so intimately associated with the development of any community from primitive wilderness to modern improvements. Yet, compared with some of her sister townships, there is an evident discrepancy on the side of the one at present under consideration. The most prominent, and the only one that will be treated, was the saw-mill business. This, of course, in later years, as forests are depleted and torn down, has diminished. But a few years ago it comprised the most striking source of the township’s wealth. The first steam mill was built in 1854, near the village of New Vernon, by George Axtell. It did a flourishing business. In 1868 a second one was erected in the southwestern part of the township by the firm of McClure & Boyd. In 1870 the third was located at a place about two miles south of New Vernon village. Gill’s saw-mill and shingle-factory was built in 1868, by L. J. Gill. It, like the other enterprises named, did a rushing business for a number of years. All contributed largely to the increase of New Vernon’s industrial resources.

At the first election held after the division of the old township of Sandy Creek the following officers were chosen: Justices of the peace, Archibald Montgomery and David Lynn; constable. Henry Hosack; judge of election, Huston Borland; inspector, John Tuttle; assessor, David Holloway; auditors, Daniel Holloway, R. Forbes and David Bliss; school directors, Lawrence Straight, David Lynn, David Condit, Henry Boyd, Hugh Lackey and Samuel Axtell; supervisors, Joseph Boyd, James Hosack and John Tuttle; clerk, Elk Holloway, and overseers, Hugh Henry and Ithamar Tuttle. (Source: History of Mercer County, 1888, pages 561-562)

New Vernon Township in 1909

In the territory now comprised in New Vernon was the well known pioneer community of “Ten Milers,” which was remarkable in several ways. They were a group of settlers who had come from the valley of the stream called Ten Mile Run in Washington county. Hence their name. Their settlement in Mercer county was made about 1798. They were a company of Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, and were backbone of the Fairview Presbyterian church, which was organized in 1799 and was so far as can be learned the first church of the county. At a later date the Ten Milers showed themselves ardent advocates of free schools, and in education, religion and the best characteristics of good citizenship always acquitted themselves in a way to make their record memorable in pioneer history.

The principal members of this pioneer group were Daniel Axtell, David and Ira Condit, Ithiel Dodd, John and Isaac Holloway, Cyrus and Stephen Riggs, and Price Dilley. The family names are still current and in good repute, borne by various descendants. The church which was founded by these settlers became a central point in that vicinity and was called Middleton and later took the name New Vernon. Here was established a postoffice with the title of Sandy Creek in July, 1837, being changed to New Vernon in 1851, a name it retained until the office was discontinued several years since. John M. Montgomery was the first postmaster.

A grist mill built by Lincoln Axtell, son of Daniel, was the first industrial enterprise of the township. The milling business has declined in recent years, but New Vernon is still a fine agricultural community. (Source: Twentieth Century History of Mercer County, 1909, pages 163 - 164)

New Vernon Cemeteries New Vernon Census Records New Vernon Towns & Villages
Boyd Cemetery
Fairfield Church Cemetery
Jenkins Cemetery
Mount Hope Cemetery
1840 (was a part of Sandy Creek Twp.)
1850 (was a part of Sandy Creek Twp.)
Carpenter Corners
New Vernon Village
Schofield Corners

Transformation of New Vernon
Formed in 1851
from Sandy Creek  Township

Geological Survey
Township Map
1873 Atlas Township Landowners Map

 New Vernon Twp. Churches
- Fairfield Presbyterian Church

- Methodist Episcopal Church
- Mt. Hope Methodist Episcopal Church

- United Presbyterian Church

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