The History of Orange Township
Records scarcely exist of the early settlers of the township because they came out here to make homes for themselves in the wilderness, and were too busy doing their labor that they had little time to record their history.
Naming Orange Township
This Township was originally known as Township 3, Range 18 of the United States Military Lands. On September 18, 1816, the county commissioners granted a petition to set off the original survey as a separate township. The township was to be called the classic name of Virgil, but this was too much for the simple minded folk of those days, and a petition was presented to the commissioners to change the name to Orange.
The First Settler
The first settler, Joab Norton, came to Orange Township in 1807. He was influenced in coming here by his wife. She wanted to be near her father, John Goodrich, who purposed coming to Worthington where many of his farmer friends from Berlin, Connecticut, had already settled. They reached the township in November after having been on the road since September. Norton was a tanner and currier by trade. When he retired, he was attracted by new business prospects in the new town of Delaware. He purchased a house on the hillside where the Edward's Gymnasium of Ohio Wesleyan University now stands.
In 1808, Eliphalet Ludington came from Connecticut and purchased land adjoining the Nortons. Others who came that year were William and Joseph Higgins with their families, and their mother who brought the younger members of her family. In 1810 Eliphalet died leaving an infant boy. This was the first birth and death in the settlement. Other early settlers who came into the township prior to the War of 1812, were families of Nahum King, Louis Eaton, James McCumber, the Arnolds, Stewarts, and John Gardner.
Alum Creek Settlers
Soon after the War, Lee Hurlburt settled on the west bank of Alum Creek. Hurlburt had gone to the War of 1812 as a substitute for his father who had come to the township with him, bringing his family of twenty-three children. The first settler on Alum Creek was probably Samuel Ferson who came from Pennsylvania and settled here about 1819. The beautiful area by the Alum Creek Reservoir is interesting because it was settled early. Its homes and people have had exceptionally long lines and extended families. In 1824, David Patterson, Cyrus Chambers, Thomas McCloud, and Nelson Skeels settled on the west bank of the creek. The Samuel Patterson's purchased a farm for $2.06 per acre on the east side of the creek and built there. Other family members also built on the land. They were originally built of hand-built bricks they made themselves. Sam's house was used in the chain of "underground railway stations" during the Civil War. Many notable families later chose to live here.