Junior Fair BBQ again a big success Beulah B James Senior Profile: Josie Myers Lady Indians place second at Ohio Classic in Hillsboro MVCA dominates Greyhounds in 45-0 triumph For Lady Devils, SHAC streak goes to 55 matches 9/11: Sixteen years later Gertrude Gibson Defender Bowl coming Sept. 16 Joyce A Walker Virginia R Young Senior Profile: Abby Campton West Union hosts 2017 Dragon Run New gridiron history begins for Peebles Trout, fire, and blueberry fields forever Senior Profile: Baylee Justice Lady Devils win SHAC thriller at Eastern Brown From Blue Creek to the Beaneaters Tough loss for Greyhounds in season opener Turning tragedy into hope What we learn from failure Absolutely had to get the wrinkles out Frances S Kidder Leo Trotter 41st Bentonville Festival set to begin Sept. 8 Winchester celebrates its history during three-day street fair Cruisefest returning to streets of Peebles Blue Creek- a community in transition honors its history and heritage Cuteness Galore – Winchester Homecoming Festival Baby Show Ronnie L Day Cast your vote for the Adams County Fairgrounds Nelson E Atkinson Ryan L Colvin Richard Tackett William L Tadlock Penny Pollard Wendell Beasley West Union soccer drops pair at Mason County Lady Indians go down in straight sets Senior Profile: Michael Gill Senior Profile: Katie Sandlin Royals dominate in big win over North Adams Dragons continue County Cup domination Archaeology Day returns to Serpent Mound Hourglass Quilt Square is back up again Manchester family hosts International Guests History, farming, and family- the bedrock of Cherry Fork’s community Bus drivers, emergency responders prepare for coming school year Working up a real good sweat What’s behind the motive? Rondal R Bailey Jr Thelma J Yates She’s all grown up now Scott A Yeager Soccer talent on display at 2017 SHAC preview Baseball community mourns the loss of Gene Bennett Winchester Homecoming Festival is Aug 25-27 Eleanor P Tumbleson Felicity man killed in Ohio River boating accident WUHS golfers take Portsmouth Invitational It was pretty cold that day Volleyball kicks off with SHAC Preview Night Young awarded Women’s Western Golf Foundation Scholarship One Mistake Senator Portman visits GE Test Facility in Peebles Adams County school districts facing some major challenges for the coming year Family, friends, and roots: the ties that bind residents of one Adams County village What is your strength? Just the chance to take a look back Ronnie L Wolford Dale J Marshall Herbert Purvis Great American Solar Eclipse coming Aug. 21 BREAKING NEWS: West Union wins fifth consecutive County Cup Wallace B Boden John L Fletcher Lady Indians golfers learning the links North Adams, West Union golfers open 2017 seasons This Labor Day, ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ Blanton announces candicacy for Court of Appeals Local student attends Congress of Future Medical Leaders MHS welcomes new principal Made in America When it feels like you’re spinning plates Bonfires and “building” a farm Lady Devils looking to take that next step 50 years of Bengal memories Ag Society delivers donation to Dragonfly Foundation Young Memorial Scholarship awarded to a pair of local seniors ‘Musical passion is in his blood’ Naylor named NAHS Principal Boldman retiring after 17 years as Homeless Shelter director Manchester concludes another River Days celebration Drug Treatment vs. Prison James R Brown Bobby Lawler Jr Adams County man charged with killing estranged girlfriend Lexie N Hopkins Volleyball, soccer previews coming this weekend Michael A Cheek

History, farming, and family- the bedrock of Cherry Fork’s community

By Patricia Beech – 

Cherry Fork – This rural crossroads village is not the place Russ Brewer knew growing up. The little town of white clapboard houses surrounded by a prosperous farming community is steeped in history, and like many small towns across America, it has attracted newcomers, but its once prosperous business community has dwindled.
Brewer’s family moved to Cherry Fork in 1958 when he was just eight years old. He recalls a thriving village.
“In the 1960’s there were two doctors, two churches, and four gas stations – three of which were full-service stations, a post office, and two General Stores where you could buy anything from nails and groceries to paint,” he says. “When I was a kid I could name a hundred percent of the people in Cherry Fork, but now I bet I couldn’t name 10 percent of the people.”
Despite the influx of new faces, the Cherry Fork community remains home to a bedrock of farming families who settled the area generations ago.
“It’s a very old community,” says Brandy Persch. “We are farming families here in Cherry Fork, and once you own a farm here it’s passed down from generation to generation to generation.”
The Fulton, Purdin, Wamsley, Shupert, Osman, Taylor, Grooms, Hesler, Persch, and Baldwin families are among those who built Cherry Fork’s successful, multi-generational, family farms.
“It takes a special breed to be a farmer – especially a dairy farmer, it’s a 24/7 commitment, and we all take pride in being a part of that community,” says Persch, lightheartedly. “I guess you could say it’s the milk that holds us together.”
“We’re a small community of very neighborly people,” says Jane Hesler. “It’s a good place to raise a family, and to be involved in community activities – it makes you feel like you’re contributing and making a difference.”
“It’s a close knit community, everybody knows everybody,” says Betty Baldridge. “My husband’s family has been here for generations, since the American Revolution, and he was very proud of his family and their Scotch-Irish Covenanter roots.”
Many of the town’s original settlers were Scotch-Irish Covenanters who were pledged to uphold Presbyterianism.
A plaque in the Cherry Fork Cemetery proudly declares their arrival in Adams County.
“In 1804, a group of Scotch-Irish Covenanters from Rockbridge County, Virginia, erected a log church on this location,” it reads. “In 1805, they organized the Cherry Fork Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.”
Two brick churches were subsequently built in the same location in 1832 and 1854. The present Cherry Fork United Presbyterian Church was built in 1976 and houses the the oldest congregation of Covenanter origin in Ohio.
The Cherry Fork Cemetery is the oldest burial place in Wayne Township. According to Evers & Stivers History of Adams County, General Robert Morrison dug the grave for the cemetery’s first internment – “the little son of William Davidson killed by lightning in the year of 1802.”
The cemetery is also the final resting place of Roscoe Parker, a 16-year-old black man who was accused of murder and subsequently hanged by a lynch mob on Jan. 12, 1894. According to a report in the Columbus Dispatch at the time, Parker died declaring his innocence. “He was hanged after one or two efforts by the somewhat unskillful executioners, who left him after firing bullets into his body.” The following day the Dispatch reported that Jesse Prewell, “a well-to-do bachelor farmer from Winchester, blew his head off with a shot gun after writing a letter which said that remorse for having helped to lynch young Parker the night before had driven him to the deed.”
Not surprisingly, the cemetery is said to be haunted by these and other troubled souls.
While Samuel Wright is credited with being the first pioneer to settle in the Cherry Fork valley in the year 1700, the village wasn’t officially founded until 1848 when Col. William McVey, a radical Abolitionist, established a post office and named the town North Liberty.
According to Adams County Commissioner Brian Baldridge, whose family has lived in the area for seven generations, the community became an important link in the Underground Railroad with several area homes providing “secret rooms and hidden passageways where many runaway slaves were hidden during their flight north to freedom”.
By the turn of the twentieth century the village population had grown to 300 people. The town had two general stores, one drug store, a hardware store, a furniture store, a tailor’s shop, two doctors offices, two churches, one hotel, and the annual North Liberty Fair which drew large crowds from neighboring towns and counties.
By the 1940’s Cherry Fork was enjoying a degree of prosperity that paved the way for the construction of Adams County’s first airport on the north side of town.
Following World War II, a Flying Club was formed by war veteran and Cherry Fork native, Charles Mathias.
“I was always hanging out at the airport trying to get rides when I was a kid,” says Brewer. “It was an amazing place, and we had a lot of fun flying out of that airport.”
In 1955 the town’s high school was merged with North Adams, forcing families to choose whether their children would attend school at Winchester or Seaman.
“It was a big deal because there were a lot of people who wanted their kids to go to Winchester’s school,” recalls Brewer. “There were some spirited discussions over where we should go, but they fell short of all-out fights.”
Brewer believes the loss of the village school was a setback for Cherry Fork.
“A school brings a community together,” he says. “When that’s gone the community tends to lose some of its cohesiveness and spirit.”
Still, residents of Cherry Fork remain loyal to their town.
“I was born here, I went to school here, and I’ve gone to the Presbyterian Church my whole life,” says Sarah Kay Blythe. “There are so many amazing people in our community, we’re just like one big family.”

One comment:

  1. My dad, Ross Alexander, grew up in Eckmansville with his family there and attended the Cherry Fork School from about 1927 to 1939. He was good friends with Charles (Charlie) Mathias. Charlie taught my dad how to fly a plane in the late 1940’s. I have a few old photos of Cherry Fork in an album titled Cherry Fork at the Adams County Ohio Rural Living page. I hope someday you can do a story about Eckmansville. Rheta Campbell at the Historical Museum could help you out there and give you names of folks to interview.

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