Sciotoville, Ohio

Sciotoville, now incorporated as part of the city of Portsmouth, was founded in 1835 and platted in 1841 by William Brown.cite news|title=Portsmouth Area Resource Guide, 2007-2008|publisher="The Community Common"|page=7|date=2007-07-29|accessdate=2007-07-29] It was annexed by the city of Portsmouth in 1921.cite web|url=|title=President says Allard Park ownership brings credibility|publisher="Portsmouth Daily Times"|author=Jeff Barron|accessdate=2007-07-18|date=2007-07-18] It is located at the intersection of U.S. 52 and State Route 335 between the village of New Boston and Wheelersburg in Scioto County along the northern bank of the Ohio River. It has its own post office, but shares the Zip code of 45662 zip code with the city of Portsmouth. [ [ Zip Code Lookup] ]

"See also Sciotoville Bridge"

Public services

The residents of Sciotoville are served educationally by both the Portsmouth City School District and the Sciotoville Community School. Their library needs are provided by the Portsmouth Public Library (located in downtown Portsmouth), with branches in nearby New Boston, South Webster, and Wheelersburg. Sciotoville is also served by the Portsmouth Fire Department. A station is located on Harding Avenue.


Sciotoville History


ISAAC BONSER EARLY AREA SETTLER"Article taken from Portsmouth Daily TimesSaturday June 25, 1965"

Isaac Bonser was the first white man to visit Scioto County with plans for a settlement. A woodsman and hunter, he was quick to appreciate the great beauty of the Ohio River Valley.

In 1795, Bonser was selected by a group of would-be emigrants of Northumberland County, PA to visit the Northwest Territory and select a site for a settlement. He set out alone on foot with nothing but his rifle, blanket and other equipment that he could carry.

Bonser crossed the Ohio River and wandered along the north back of the river until he reached the Little Scioto where he marked out a piece of ground with his tomahawk.

At that time there was no settlement on the north side of the river between Gallipolis and Manchester and he thought he would be entitled to that marked out land by priority of discovery and locality.

Bonser had been born in 1767 and brought up on the frontier in Pennsylvania. He was accustomed to the back woods life and had assisted in the protection of property against the Indians in the Revolutionary War. He was considered an expert hunter and woodsman.

On his return from his trip to the Little Scioto, Bonser met a surveying party from the French Grant that was in a bad predicament. Out of food and with their supply of powder damp, they were in danger of starving on their canoe trip to Marietta.

Bonser promised to supply game for them if they would carry his supplies in their canoe.

When Bonser got back to his home county, the families of Urish Barber, John Beaty, William Ward and Ephriam Adams joined him in heading to the spot he had marked for settlement.

They found two Manchester families ahead of them, however. These were the families of Samuel Marshall and John Lindsey.

Isaac Bonser located above the mouth of the creek and built the third cabin in Scioto County. He cleared a field and fenced it and the next spring planted about ten acres of corn and other vegetables.

He built a water-mill one mile from the mouth of the Little Scioto in 1798 at the mouth of Bonser's Run.

As soon as the land office was opened in Chillicothe in 1801, Bonser secured the land on which his mill was built and kept a mill there until his death.

Bonser built a house and planted an orchard. He was the leading citizen of his area and took a great part in local activities. He was active in organizing the militia in which he was elected a major.

Always fond of tinkering with mills, he worked hard no matter what the weather until his death in 1849. He had some strange ideas including one that wheat should always sell at 50 cents per bushel and corn at 25 cents. While he was fond of hunting, he would never kill for sport. He often was called upon to secure meat not only for his family but for others.

Maj. Bonser and his wife, the former Abigail Burt, had 10 children.



EARLY SETTLERS OF SCIOTO COUNTY. "Number Nine.The Portsmouth Times, Saturday, July 12, 1873"

[It is our intention to publish, in each issue, a Sketch of one or more of the Pioneers of Scioto county. Our desire is to present a brief Biography of all the early settlers of the county now living, and we trust that every old citizen will aid us in so doing.]

SAMUEL BONSER.This gentleman, who is now nearly seventy-eight years of age, lives in Porter Township, on the California road, 1 1/4 miles north of Sciotoville, the farm being one of the first in the county where the sturdy oak yielded to the clearing ax, swung by the sturdy arm of the early pioneer. The house, that is on a little bench of a hill on Bonser's Run, is a frame building, one story and a half high, and one can stand in the door looking to the east and see apple trees set out in 1803, their green leaves and fruit giving no evidence that seven years ago, when Scioto county was one vast wilderness, they were planted that their fruit might be enjoyed four generations hence. Six of them are standing, and one of them yielded fifty bushels of apples last year. They were procured from Wm. Lawson's nursery. Mr. Lawson had the first fruit-bearing orchard in the county.

PIONEER HISTORY.Mr. Bonser, at our interview, spoke more particularly of the life and incidents connected with his father's history. Isaac Bonser, his father, was born in Pennsylvania and died in this county in 1849, at the advanced age of 82 years. His mother, Abigail Burt, was born in New Jersey, and died near Sciotoville in 1853, aged nearly 83 years.

In 1795 the elder Bonser left Northumberland county, Pa., and came down the river to look at the country and choose a place to locate. Pleased with the prospect at the mouth of the Little Scioto river, he determined to bring his family there. On his return, when near what is now Haverhill, he found a man named Martin, with an engineering corps, in a famishing condition. They had just completed their first survey of the French Grant, which was the first survey in the county, had gotten all their powder wet, and were poor woodsmen; though game was in abundance they could not capture any. Mr. Bonser hunted for them for three days, furnishing them bountifully with bear and deer, dried their powder, and continued on his journey.

In the summer of 1796 he, with his family, and Uriah Barber, John Beatty, Wm. Ward, and Ephraim McAdams, and their families, embarked on a flatboat, and descending the Ohio river, landed at the mouth of the Little Scioto, on the 10th day of August. Uriah Barber proceeded down the river and settled at Oldtown, and Ephraim McAdams at the mouth of the Miami River in Hamilton county.

At the time Mr. Bonser moved to Ohio there were but two families living in the county. They were those of Samuel Marshall, who landed at the mouth of Lawson's run, now the eastern corporation line of the city of Portsmouth, in March, 1796, and John Lindsey, who settled at the mouth of the Little Scioto, in March or April of the same year.

The little colony, when it landed in the forest, put up blankets and quilts over branches of trees, in slanted, tent shaped style, to protect them from the heat until the log cabin could be reared. In a week after their arrival, Mr. Bonser had, with the aid of his few neighbors, constructed a little log house, 18x20 feet, with only one room. This was the third house built in Scioto county.

He cleared the first field in the county, in the fall of 1796, and in the spring of 1797 planted it in corn. This field is just above the bridge across the Little Scioto, on the Portsmouth and Wheelersburg free turnpike. He was a great hunter, and had a trusty flint-lock rifle, with which he killed over 1,000 deer, besides many bears, buffaloes and turkeys. He claimed to have killed the first and the last buffalo in Scioto county. At one time he had as many as 22 deer in the house.

The son relates an incident of the father; A German by the name of Ingle or Engle, had settled at Old Town, in 1797, and his knowledge of the frontier life was very limited. He knew nothing of handling a gun and being unable to secure meat his family was in a nearly famishing condition. Mounting Chris., his son of nine years, on a horse, he sent him to Bonser to beg him to furnish him some meat. Mr. Bonser had only one or two deer on hand then, but he gave these to the boy, and directed him to return on a certain day when he would be more liberal. On that day Chris. was on hand, and his horse was loaded with four deer. He kept the family in meat for two or three years, the boy saying in after years, "If it hadn't been for 'daddy Bonser' we would have starved."

In the year 1798 the French colony, consisting of Valodin, LaCroix, Vincent, Andre, Duty, and others, settled in the [French] Grant, and with small colonies that settled in different parts of the county, the country began to be more populous.

As the incidents narrated in the remainder of this review are from personal recollections of Isaac Bonser, the subject of this sketch, we will say in concluding the reminiscences of the elder Bonser that he was one of the first commissioners of the county, and served several terms. He held nearly all the township offices, and in 1821 was elected to the Ohio Legislature. He was an uncompromising Democrat all his life.

SAMUEL BONSER.Was one of twelve children, all of whom are dead, he believes, except himself. He had a sister Hannah, who married Allen Moore, and, if living, she is 80 years of age. She lived in Montgomery county, near Crawfordsville, Indiana, when last heard from, which was over one year ago. His brother John, who, if now living, would be 72 years of age, has not been heard from for two years, at which time he was living on Sourey's Island, Washington county, Oregon.

Samuel was born in Northumberland county, Pa., September 30, 1795, and was but one year old when his parents came to this State. He says he can recollect nearly every thing that occurred since he attained his second year.

In 1798 his father commenced building a grist mill on Bonser's run. He got his neighbors to help him raise the building. Mrs. Lindsey and Mrs. Bonser, who had been left at home on that day, saw five bears enter the river, on the Kentucky side. They waited awhile, until they had nearly reached the Ohio side, when Mrs. Lindsey said to her dog Watch, "bear!" The dog knew the meaning of the word. No sooner had the wild animals got ashore than Watch, followed by the other dogs, took after them, the two women following them and cheering them on, until every bear had taken to a tree. As their husbands had their guns with them, they were at a loss how to get their game, until Barley Monroe, an old hunter, was attracted to the spot by the baying of the dogs, and the cries of the women, and shot every bear. The game was divided among the houseraisers, Monroe, living so far away that he refused to share it. Mr. Bonser says when one dog would tree a bear all the dogs would know it by the peculiar bark of the animal, and break for the place, while if he would tree a raccoon they would pay no attention to his barking.

Mr. Bonser's recollections are that Scioto county was organized in 1803, and formed out of Adams county, which included pretty much all of Lawrence, Pike and Jackson counties. The first clerk was Alex. Curran, Sheriff Wm. Parrish, surveyor John Russell, afterwards Matthew Curran, then Robert Lucas. The first court was held by either Judge Belt or Baldwin, in the double log cabin used as a tavern and built by John Brown on what is now Front street, below the Scioto river free suspension bridge. One end of the house was used as a bar-room, and in it the court held its sessions. We believe a portion of this house is still standing and has been weatherboarded. The lower end of the house was destroyed by fire.

GOING TO SCHOOL.The first school house built in the county stood on the place where the widow Yost now lives, near Sciotoville, about one-fourth of a mile from the Ohio river. The house was put up in 1805 or 1806. It was a log building, of course, the heavy door hanging on the cumbersome wooden hinges, cracks covered with greased paper for windows. The chimney was composed of sticks and mud, the jambs of wood, with a few rocks thrown in to protect the wooden back wall.

The first school was taught by an old reed maker, named Reed, a Virginian, of pretty good education, who had fifteen scholars, for which he received one dollar per scholar for three months' tuition. At noon and at morning and evening he plied his trade vigorously. Some scholars walked from the mouth of Munn's Run to the school. Here Mr. Bonser first learned to spell.

The next teacher, one Ayers, a lame man, he says was "as cross as the devil." He had a block four feet long and one foot in diameter, which afforded him amusement. A disobedient scholar was compelled to mount the block, the teacher meantime rolling it with his foot. If the scholar fell or stepped off he was soundly threshed. Mr. Bonser and Peter Lindsey were so well practiced on the block that it was very difficult to get them off.

EARLY PATRIOTISM.Mr. Bonser says the first public celebration of the Fourth of July in the State of Ohio was held in 1808 on his father's place, about 150 yards from the house in which he now lives. His father had a field of wheat which ripened early, and he reaped it, threshed it, and took a portion of it to Maysville, in a canoe, and had it ground to make bread for the celebration. He was two days in making the trip, pushing the canoe up himself in one day. People came from Chillicothe, Maysville, Gallipolis, and other places, about 300 persons were present. They were principally hunters. Robert Lucas, afterward State Senator and Governor, delivered an oration. Fresh meat of all kinds, both wild and domestic, was in abundance, and was baked over a large pit full of hickory coals. An old Virginia negro, a mill-wright in the employ of his father, was the cook. A great many staid three or four days. General Tupper, of Gallipolis, had a barrel of cider oil he had brought from Marietta. Whisky was plenty, and yet there was no drunkenness or quarreling. All kinds of exercise was indulged in, such as wrestling, jumping, running, &c. The old colored man made a cannon out of a gum log, which was fired five or six times before it bursted. Cross-eyed John Campbell was the cannoneer. He would touch the gun off, and then dodge behind a huge popular tree, the trunk of which was six feet in diameter at its base.

FAMILY HISTORY.Mr. Bonser was married August 5th, 1819, to Miss Hannah Mead, whose father came to the county in 1815. They had thirteen children, three of whom are dead. Silas, the first born, was drowned when but three years of age; Minerva, wife of Vinton Price, died in 1855; Mead, died in 1843, aged seven years. Those living are: Abigail, married Plamer Bennett, at Bennett's Mills, on Tygart's creek, Ky.; Maria, married Wm. Raynor, living in Portsmouth; Anna married Alanson Hoyt, in Mason county, Ill.; Matilda married John Grubbs, living in the county. Mr. Grubbs lost his sight in the army. Rachel, married David Munn, living in Harrison township, Hannah married James Mayher, living in Ohio, residence unknown; Adkins, bridge builder and carpenter, living in Harrisonville; Lucretia, unmarried, living with her parents; Isaac, living on the place, and John, who went to Oregon in 1847, from thence to California, and from there to Idaho, and has not been heard from for three years.

Mr. Bonser resides on the place his father owned, and by occupation is a mill-wright. He is in good health, and does not use tobacco in any shape. After chewing for 50 years he quit, and for three years has not had the weed about him. He has a gun owned by his father, the barrel being five feet in length. His eyesight is good, and he goes out in the woods and shoots squirrels with his rifle. Politically speaking, the precepts of the father have never been forgotten by the son.


External links

* [ Sciotoville Community School (East High School)]
* [ Portsmouth City School District]
* [ The Famous Sciotoville Rock]
* [ Sciotoville in 1938]

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