Enoch Twp.

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From History of Noble County, Ohio, 18871 


   Enoch Township is first mentioned in the records of Monroe County in 1822, and was doubtless organized in that year.  It embraced the original township 6, of range 8, or portions of the present townships of Enoch, Stock, and Jefferson.  

   The township contains a great number of never-failing springs of pure water.  There is an abundance of coal of good quality, but so far [1887] none has been mined except for local supply.  A seven-foot vein has been worked for years on the Hohman farm.  

   The German settlement began in 1837 and has steadily progressed ever since, until now the native-born Americans, descendants of the early settlers, are comparatively few in the township.  The German settlement began in the vicinity of Fulda.  It has since spread over nearly all of Enoch Township, and over portions of the neighboring townships of Stock, Elk, and Jefferson.  

  Valentine Weaver, or "Felty" Weaver, as he was called, was the first German to secure title of a piece of land in Enoch Township.  He was a protestant from Bavaria, but all the other early comers were Catholics.  They came principally from the German state of Kurhessen (Hesse-Cassel).  Few came directly from Germany, but most of them had been in the country a few years, working at various occupations in different cities so that they had become somewhat acquainted with the English language and also with American customs.  

   The tax list of 1833 will show that at that date the territory now comprised in Enoch Township had very few settlers.  Those few had been here, some of them for twenty years, but their improvements were so small and far apart that the township was practically a wilderness.  Its surface is rough and very hilly, and though the soil is good, the country was not of the nature to attract pioneers, and thus the scarcity of settlers  is accounted for.  But when the pioneer Germans came and found land cheap and abundant, to be procured either first hand at government price, or very cheaply when purchased from those who owned it, a new epoch began in the history of Enoch Township.  

   The first settlers wrote to their friends scattered here and there in Germany and America, and advised them to come.  And soon there was a thrifty settlement of industrious, frugal and prosperous people.  Soon they had religious services and schools, and their prosperity has been steady and constant ever since.  The township is now [1887] among the most prosperous in the county, and most of the citizens are property owners and have good, comfortable homes.  In fifty years, the German settlers have accomplished more than the same number of Americans would have accomplished in a century.  All the pioneers of this race were poor at the start, and came here with barely enough money to enter forty or eighty acres of land.  But they were diligent workers, and thoroughly versed in the art of economy.  They lived upon cornbread and the simplest food, and were unceasing in their efforts to improve the condition of their property.  Many of them were unaccustomed to farm work, and to all, the work of farming new land was a new experience.  But all made a living, and many acquired large estates.  Buying piece after piece of land, and paying for it in small installments; assigning every member of the family, boy or girl, work suited to their age, making every cent count, almost every German prospered in spite of disadvantages and obstacles which would have been insurmountable to a less courageous people.  

   Jno. Hohman [Johann/John/Doc] and Leonard Schoeppner came to America from Hesse in 1835. Mathias Schockling, a French Alsatian, came to this country earlier.  In the year 1837, these three, with Felty Weaver, made a settlement in Enoch Township, all bringing their families in that year except Schoeppner.  [note: Leonard Schoeppner would have been about 15 at the time.]  Weaver located on section 4, Schockling on the same section, Hohman on section 9, and Schoeppner on section 8.  John Schoeppner came from Wheeling to the farm on which his son Leonard lives in 1837 and built a house to which he removed his family in the following year.  In the second year he met with a serious misfortune, getting his leg broken.  His children were Eve (Snyder) and Leonard.  He died in 1875 in his eighty-seventh year.  

   In 1839, Valentine Saling and John Warner came from Philadelphia and settled in the southern part of the township.  In 1840, also from Philadelphia, came August Dimmerling, Francis Ebert, and Michael Blake.   Other early German settlers, without regard to date, some of them as early as those already mentioned, were two by the name of John Hill [i.e., two men with the same name.  One of these may have been John Heil], John Gharst {Gerst}, who died in 1885, aged 85 years, John Yeager, John Michael [Michel], Adam Shafer, Michael Shott [Schaadt, Schott],  John Arnold, Joseph Miller, Henry Huffman, Nicholas Kohlman [Coleman, Kuhlman], Ferdinand Hupp, Henry Hupp, Philip Snyder [Snider], Conrad Craft [Kraft], Joseph Crum, and others elsewhere mentioned.  

   From 1840 to 1850 immigration was largest.  Probably sixty to seventy families located in the township and vicinity during that period.  Some became discouraged and left after a few years of struggling in the wilderness.  But by far the greater number stuck to their work with true German perseverance and by hard work made themselves good homes.  The early settlers found game quite abundant, and it formed no unimportant part in that scant list of household supplies.  As soon as they had been here long enough to learn the process, or in three or four years after their coming, most of the Germans engaged in raising tobacco, deadening the trees, and burning off the leaves, then plowing the ground if it could be plowed, and if not, digging it over with a hoe.  The virgin soil thus treated yielded good crops.  

   The tobacco industry was an important one to the farmers of the township.  For their tobacco market in early years, they went to New Lexington, Colorado, Summerfield, and Middleburg [all within a days' travel of Fulda].  Of late, Fulda has become an important tobacco-packing village.  Nearly every farmer had a patch of flax, which was worked by hand into linen and linsey-woolsey goods for family use.  At first there was a great scarcity of horses, and those who were so fortunate as to own them "changed work" neighbors who had no teams.  Oxen were also used to some extent in farm work.  There was also a scarcity of wagons, which were indeed well nigh useless in this country without roads.  It was a frequent sight to see a farmer going to mill carrying a grist upon his shoulders.  But in an incredibly short time, the Germans equipped themselves with every requisite for successful farming, made roads, built school-houses, and a church, and attained such prosperity as only persevering industry, rigid economy and well-directed efforts can win.  The leading idea of the Germans who came here was to make a home and enjoy the blessings of liberty.  They bravely endured toil and hardship, inspired by the thought that their sons and daughters would grow up in a country where the people make their own laws and are not subject to burdensome taxes to keep up a large standing army and add to the wealth of petty princes and rulers.  



1  The History of Noble County, Ohio  was originally published by L. H. Watkins & Co. of Chicago in 1887.  It was republished in under the sponsorship of the Noble County Historical Society in 1987 by Whipporwill Publications, Evansville, IN.  The 1987 version contains a complete name index.   


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