The history of New Jasper Township


Greene County was 50 years old when the New Jasper Township was established in 1853.

The boundaries were described as follows, “Beginning in the Township road leading from Xenia to Jamestown at the corner between the lands of Jonathan Williamson and Hugh Boyd and in the line of Cedarville Township, thence easterly with the line of Cedarville Township to the crossing of the McCrosky Road, thence with the said McCrosky Road to the corner of Hugh J. McCrosky thence southerly to the corner of Junkins …” The description continues using the names of the property owners who were to be included.

This township lies totally within the Virginia Military Survey. Grants of land were awarded Revolutionary War soldiers. Some grants as small as 133 acres, others as large as 2,533 depending upon the number of years served and rank achieved.

A substantial portion of this township is used for farming. There are also large limestone deposits in this township. One of the larger companies which operated a stone quarry was Long and Mallow. They opened the quarry along the banks of Caesars Creek.

Land could be purchased for $2.50 to $10 an acre. Unfortunately for some of the new residents, an unprincipled many sold fraudulent tax-rights to some of the unsuspecting settlers. They discovered that thy did not have clear title to the land, which meant that some of them had to pay for their land a second time, or lose the property along with all the improvements they had made.

The first school opened in 1816 under the direction of David Bell who taught in a log cabin.

The Schooley School House on Ballard Road was built prior to 1881 on the Schooley farm. Until it closed in 1931, students from grades one through eight were taught there. The brick walls were 16 inches thick and the ceilings 14-feet high. A slate blackboard was built into the wall at the back of the room, extending the entire length of the wall. There was a small cloak room with hooks on the walls for hanging garments. The larger room was where the students received their education sitting at wooden desks. A large pot-bellied store was in the center of the room.

The Ballard Road Bridge one of the few remaining covered bridges in the county is located in this township.

Although the township does not have any major city, quite a number of settlements still remain.

Henpeck was a village laid out along the Jamestown Mud Road, East of Xenia. There was a store as early as the 1840s but the village itself was not established until 1870. You won’t find the Jamestown Mud Road however, today the road is called Jasper Pike and the village of Henpeck is known as New Jasper.

Geographically located near the center of the township is the Village of New Jasper. It is said to have been named for an early settler in honor of his previous home in Virginia. Apparently the town was not platted in the beginning and there was no proprietor of record. Some historians state that the first family to settle in New Jasper was the Slagle family.

At one time the village had a blacksmith shop, store and resident physician. It has been described as “a typical agricultural community center, with a store, a township house, a Methodist church and a natural resistance to high blood pressure.”

When the railroad did not pass through New Jasper, New Jasper Station was established. The railway bed was laid about a mile north of New Jasper and so New Jasper Station with a store, church and a few dwellings came into being. A grain elevator was built and operated by John Jenks and Son and at one time there was a stockyard.

Several other small communities dot the landscape in New Jasper Township. Bridgeport is at the junction of Gultice, Stone an Ireland Roads. In 1855, Bridgeport boasted a store and a grist mill, along with a stone quarry. By 1874, the name of the community had become known as Silverspring.

Prior to the Civil War four African-American families came from the southern states to settle on farms in the northwestern part of the township. At the time of their arrival, they were still classified as slaves, but were freed shortly thereafter. Their former owners wanted to help them get a good start so purchased about four hundred acres of land which was deeded to these families. This was designated as a place they might live “for the remainder of their days.” Eventually these families the Curls Smith, Brooks and Ferguson and their descendants left the township and moved into Xenia. It is possible that this area was at one time known as Union Village, but today is known as Stringtown.

Shawnee Hills is a newer settlement and those who reside there will say they “live at the lake.” Most folks in the county recognize the area which had a lake large enough for swimming, boating and fishing.

The Methodists established a church as early as 1820 perhaps 1810. The log structure was too far from town, so in 1851, a brick building was constructed. It proved too small so in 1884 another brick structure was dedicated, known as the New Jasper Methodist Church. Other early churches included Mt. Tabor Methodist, Caesarscreek Baptist, Caesarscreek Associate Presbyterian and White Chapel Church.

By Joan Baxter

Joan Baxter is a local resident and ong-time historical columnist.

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