Norwich Township, Ohio
Ohio became a state in 1803 and in 1813 Norwich Township was organized, a much larger area than it is today. This area, close to the Scioto River had been a favorite camping area of the Wyandot Indian Tribe. The early settlers stayed close to the river because this is where the first industries were established. Most of the settlers were farmers and there are still a few farms in the area, but as the cities of Hilliard and Columbus have expanded, the farms have disappeared. The City of Hilliard is located within the boundaries of Norwich Township and both administrations are working together for the good of the residents of the area.
The Township maintains approximately 13.9 miles of township roads. This maintenance includes snow removal, roadside mowing and regular maintenance and resurfacing.
Norwich Township contracts with the Franklin County Sheriff to provide police coverage over and above the sheriff's regular district coverage for the unincorporated areas of the township.
Norwich Township, Franklin County, Ohio, was plotted in 1813 just ten years after Ohio became a state. At the time, this territory was densely covered with trees. It stretched along the west bank of the Scioto River and continued west to Big Darby Creek.
Settlers had to clear the thickly forested land for enough acreage to plant crops. Consequently they killed the trees by "girdling" which consisted of cutting a deep ring around the trunk so the foliage died and let the sun shine onto the land. They also built log houses which used many of the trees. The soil was rich and fertile so they raised crops of corn, wheat, flax, vegetables and herbs. Vegetables could be grown and cooked with a wide range of herbs.
The average price of land was about 55 2/3 cents an acre with prime land selling for $1.50 per acre. Land was needed for boll, the livestock and the families. Stores were few and far between and the families needed their money to pay for salt which could cost $1.00 a bushel. The pioneers also had to buy sugar and pay to have wheat ground into flour.
The first settlers located along the Scioto River and later along the southern part of the township. The first to come to the area was Daniel Brunk with his family. They settled a mile south of Hayden Run in 1807. Reverend Benjamin Britton settled south of the Brunk family soon after. He was a Christian or "New Light" minister and believed in the supernatural and was certain that only a silver bullet could stop a witch. Reverend Britton, assisted by Reverend Fisher of Worthington, built a log structure there which served as a church for several years and then became a home.
A Methodist minister, Isaac Grace, and George Rager soon settled nearby. Other families who settled were Daniel Avery, Robert Elliott, Harmon Groom, Amos Kidwell, Alfred Latham, Daniel Roberts, Appolos Rogers, Abraham Sells, David Smiley, Asa Wilson, Samuel King, Francis Wilcox, Alsad Davidson, Daniel D. Lattimer and Ezekell Lattimer.
This photo was taken at the corner of Cemetery and Lattimer Rds in the 1800s.
Peter Lattimer and his family settled in Norwich Township in 1811 where he purchased a large tract of land and sold parcels of it. He carried the first mail on horseback from Columbus to Zanesfield and from Columbus to Bellefontaine for many years.
Samuel Davis and his family came from Connecticut and settled in 1814 in the township. Mr. Davis served in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and was previously employed by Major Simon Kenton as a spy. He had been captured by the Indians but escaped. He owned land south of Benjamin Britton and Issac Grace and worked at blacksmithing and gunsmithing after learning the trade of silversmith. Mr. Davis married Elizabeth Smith and fathered ten children who settled nearby. Upon his arrival Mr. Davis purchased trees from Lucas Sullivant in Franklinton and planted the first orchard in Norwich Township.
James Wilcox was from Canada and moved to the southeast corner of the township in 1812 where he cleared land owned by E. Wilson. Mr. Wilcox then bought 100 acres, one mile and a half west of the first place where he lived. After his death the land was deeded to his son Peter.
The first burial ground was on the farm of Daniel Brunk in the northern part of Norwich Township. Later many burials were made on private grounds such as Marcellas Rogers. A cemetery was established adjacent to the Wesley Methodist Episcopalian Church about 1832 and named Wesley Chapel Cemetery. The first burial was in 1836. In 1870 a law was passed that allowed the use of public funds to improve a road that led to a public cemetery. Hence the name Hilliard-Cemetery Road which fit this description. The road began in town and went east to the Scioto River and turned right to the cemetery. Limestone was used from the nearby quarry for improvements. In later years a stretch of the road that turned south was named Dublin Road as it ran north to Dublin in Washington Township.
Today the Township operates Wesley Chapel Cemetery, located at 3225 Dublin Road. This cemetery was originally operated by the Wesley Chapel Methodist Church from 1832 until 1870 when it was taken over by Norwich Township Trustees. Today, Wesley Chapel Cemetery covers 35 acres and the sale of burial lots is restricted to the residents of the township or persons having relatives buried there.
Norwich is a township. All Ohio townships with unincorporated territory have Boards of Trustees.
Townships provide basic services to residents, unless villages or cities assume some of those duties in the incorporated areas. Typically, municipalities have assumed and exercised authority for planning, zoning, law enforcement and street and road maintenance. Many cities today still rely on townships to provide fire and emergency medical services.
Townships have authority to purchase or appropriate land for a cemetery, sell plots, set fees for services, and maintain and expand the cemetery.