Excerpts From
History Of Delaware County
BY John Ellis, 1898

The excerpts from the Ellis history are actually quite complete and chock full of information. They don't, however, include pictures, poems etc. Some of the linked web pages have a little bit of additional genalogy information, but the township is the main topic.

In his book, Mr. Ellis frequently included references to those pioneers and their contributions to the history of Delaware County, but none quite so eloquent as his writings in the Niles Township chapter, regarding the character of the early settlers of the county:

Ellis - On the Character of the Pioneers

The character of the pioneers of our county is properly within our range. They lived in a region of exuberant fertility, where nature had scattered her blessings with a liberal hand. Their liberties, the vastness of their inheritance, the dense forests, the many improvements constantly going forward, combined with the bright prospects of a glorious future in everything that renders life pleasant, deeply impressed their characters and gave to them a spirit of enterprise and independence of feeling, and a joyousness of hope. They were a thorough combination of characters, conditions and opinions. Coming as they did from various states of the union and older settlements of our own state, they found themselves here in the wild forests, and became cheered with the hope of being able to build up a family, an honor to themselves, and a fortune founded on honesty and industry, from new elements. And thus they settled down beside and with each other. All now form one society, feeling a dependence upon one another, borrowing and loaning, back and forth, not only the "newspapers," but the common utensils of the kitchen, frequently going a mile or more through the woods, by the blazed trail, to borrow a peck of flour or corn meal, that the family might subsist until tile father returned from the mill, miles away, where he had gone, with oxen and cart, or, perchance, on horse back, with the sack of grain across the horse, and the time of his return depending on the number of grists that were in before him, as each had to await his turn. His return thus depending on uncertainties would often cause much anxiety to the mother and children in the lonely cabin at home, when darkness would close in and the winds beating upon the rude home, bringing unwelcome sounds, accompanied by the howling of hungry wolves.

These were the dismal, desolate phases of pioneer life. But the years passed on and the pioneers continued their toil, ever sweetened with hope, submitting patiently to hardships, until the light of a glorious civilization and prosperity dawned on them in waving fields of golden grain and luxuriant meadows. Comfortable dwellings have risen on or near the old cabin site. And might we not appropriately term this the noonday of prosperity? In the place of the blazed pathway or trail through the forest we have the smooth gravel pike, bordered on both sides with substantial fences or hedges, behind which are finely cultivated fields of grain, rich pastures with their occupants of fat, sleek thoroughbred stock, or orchards of delicious fruits. On every hand we may observe this wonderful transformation. Let us, then, thank God, emulate and endeavor to imitate the pioneers of Delaware county. And thus having the promises already fulfilled, continue in the industry and perseverance of which we have had so glorious an example. Source: Ellis, pg 62.

People, Places, Circumstances by Township


Land Entries by Township, Circa 1820-1889, Excerpts from Ellis History

Center Delaware Hamilton Harrison Liberty Monroe
Mt. Pleasant Niles Perry Salem Union Washington

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