Among the early pioneers of Montgomery Township, Jacob Crouse occupies a high place in the esteem of his neighbors, by reason of his good sense, frugality, intelligence and integrity. He was born in the State of Maryland, near Antietam, September 10, 1775. When a young man, in 1799, he sought and obtained employment in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. At this period the settlements adjoining the Ohio River were just beginning to recover from a long continuance of the Indian wars. Very few families had wholly escaped the tomahawk and gleaming scalping knife. The frightful scalp-halloo and shrill shriek of the red warriors had sent terror into thousands of cabins. A few of the most hearty frontiersmen ventured to locate west of the Ohio river, and about the year 1807 Jacob Crouse and wife located a cabin home in Columbiana County, where a few of their neighbors and acquaintances had removed.
That region was often traversed by the humble red men after their disastrous route by General Wayne, in the northwest. In fact, their path leading to "old Pittsburgh" ran through that part of the newly organized State of Ohio, and it was not uncommon to see hundreds of Delawares and Wyandots loaded with peltry on their way to Fort Pitt, to purchase blankets, cloths and ammunition in exchange for furs.
In 1801 Mr. Crouse married Rebecca Reifsnyder, of Fayette County, Pennsylvania, who willingly accompanied him to the wilds of Ohio, and endured the privations incident to pioneer life, that she and her husband might in the future become the happy possessors of a homestead.In 1812, upon the surrender of General Hull, at Detroit, and the assassinations upon the Black fork, Mr. Crouse was drafted, with many of his neighbors, to assist in defending the helpless pioneers of the northwest against the savage incursions of the Wyandots and Delawares. He was enrolled in the company commanded by Captain Foulks, and made ensign, and the company entered the regiment of General Beall, and marched to the village of Wooster, where a block house was erected and part of a company stationed, and from there a wagon trail was cut to the place of John Baptiste Jerome; (now Jeromeville) where another block house was built and a part of a company stationed; thence, they cut a trail, (now known as Beall's trail), across the north part of what is now Vermillion, the south part of Montgomery, and the middle part of Milton Townships, and thence west across the northern part of Richland County, in the direction of Fort Meigs. He served six months, and was discharged in the spring of 1813, and returned to Columbiana County.
In January, 1814, Martin Mason and Jacob Young visited the regions of Jeromeville, Loudonville, Mansfield, Ashland, and Orange Township, with a view of locating wild lands. Their report of the new country was so flattering that they concluded to enter a number of tracts, at the land office in Canton, and return, with others, and put up cabins. In August, Martin Mason, Jacob Mason, Jacob Crouse, Martin Hester, Lot Tod, and Peter Biddinger returned and erected six cabins on lands since owned by the respective parties, and cut and cured a lot of prairie hay, and made preparations to bring on their families, and returned. In October, 1814, Martin Mason, Jacob Crouse, Jacob Young, Joseph Bishop, and their families, removed to their new cabins on the branches of the Mohican. The new colony, including old and young, numbered thirty-one. The route was along the old army trail to Jerome's block house, and the home of John Carr, now the Nailor farm, where they rested one night, in his cabin, having slept or tented in the air, the entire distance. From thence, they cut a wagon path up the east side of the Jerome fork, across lands now owned by Joseph Chandler, and thence, across Catotawa, to the cabin formerly owned by Daniel Mictey, now by Andrew Mason, to the cabin of Jacob Young, some distance west of the present Crouse school house, where they all rested one night. The next morning Jacob Crouse moved into his own cabin, near where the residence of John Doty now stands. He had leased one hundred and sixty acres, being of the Virginia military lands, for ninety-nine years, and began to prepare a field to plant corn in the succeeding year. His first field was where the Doty orchard now is.
Like all good and intelligent pioneers, the first thought, after preparing a cabin for the reception of their families, and a field for culture, the new colony turned attention to the necessity of training youth in lessons of Christian culture and civilization. Mr. Crouse proposed to donate one acre of land on his north boundary, for school purposes, and to be used as a cemetery. The proposition was accepted, and a comfortable log house was erected about where the present school house stands, and dedicated to the culture of the youthful mind. The first school was taught there in the winter of 1815-16, by John Swigart. Ever since that time, that temple of knowledge has been known, and justly too, as the "Crouse school house." Let it always retain that name.
A year or two after the expiration of the term of Squire Robert Newell, the pioneers of Montgomery elected Jacob Crouse a justice of the peace, and he served three years, and then declined re-election. His manner was modest and retiring, and official life had no charms for him.
He took a deep interest in the prosperity of common schools, and one of his sons, Jonas H., became a very energetic and noted teacher.
He and his lady connected with the Lutheran church, in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, and remained zealous and leading members nearly fifty years. Mr. Crouse died of pulmonary disease, September 14, 1839, aged sixty-four years and four days; his wife survived him until 1850. They sleep in Crouse’s cemetery.
His family living at his decease, consisted of Catharine, wife of John Proudfit, Isaac, Benjamin, Jonas H., Isaiah, Mariah, wife of Martin Wolf, and Anna, wife of Thomas Urie, jr.; all are now deceased.
contributed and transcibed by Russ Shopbell email@example.com