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Scioto Salt Works

The History of 
(A Chronology)

(1725 - 1848 )
"A part of the Northwest Territory which would become the State of Ohio"

Located in: Township Seven North, of the Ohio River. Range Eighteen West, of the First Principal Meridian. and being a part of that land referred to as: "The Congress Lands of the United States".

(Formerly a part of Ross County, Ohio now, in Jackson County, Ohio). 
By P.A.R.K. (Persons Acquiring Regional Knowledge) of Jackson 1997

(Revised July, 2003) 
The "Scioto Salt Works" History 
Jackson, Ohio, Jackson County, Ohio 

"Compiled by J. Michael and Deanna P. Stroth Version #7, Published March,1994"

1725 -  Licensed French fur traders visit the (Scioto) salt licks.

1751   Jan. 25th - Christopher Gist visits Scioto Salt Licks, describes the licks "the streams which run into this lick are very salt, and tho clear leave a blue sediment. -- Christopher Gist, Explorer.

1755   August - Colonel James Smith captured by Indians, taken to (Scioto) Salt Licks. -- James Smith, Colonel

1759  - "The three Halterman boys, sons of Christopher Halterman of Virginia, were brought to the licks as captives. They remained there for a few weeks". -- Halterman Boys, Captives.

1774   Oct. 10th - "Battle of Point Pleasant"; (After the battle), Gen. Lewis then leaves to meet Lord Dunmore He stays one night at (Scioto) Salt Licks. Many who stayed overnight returned and settled in this area". So many "Greenbriar Folks" were involved. Their settlement near The (Scioto) licks carried the same name. -- Andrew Lewis, General.

1778   June - Daniel Boone, Indian captive, accompanies Shawnees to (Scioto) Salt Licks. -- Daniel Boone, Explorer.

1782 - Nine year old Johnathan Alder captured by Indians and accompanies them to (Scioto) Salt Licks. -- Johnathan Alder, Captive.

1787   July 13th - "Northwest Ordinance" is approved.

1792   Fall - Samuel Davis, spy, employed by the Governor of Kentucky is captured by Indians and spends night at the (Scioto) Salt Licks. -- Samuel Davis, Spy/Captive

1795   February - Major John James and small band of men pursue Indian band who murdered Jonas Davis. Fight last battle with Shawnee in this area. -- John James, Major.

1795   August 3rd - "Treaty of Greenville" signed.

1795   Sept. - The First saltboiler, Joseph Conklin arrives and settles at the (Scioto) Salt Licks.

1796  Second recorded saltboiler, John Martin, settles at the (Scioto) Salt Licks. He found employment and worked for the firm of Ross & Nelson; later he will work for John Johnson.

1796   May 18th - "U. S. Congress" approves selling lands northwest of the Ohio. Section 3 of the Act discusses specifically the Scioto Salt Licks and John Johnson states: " that an area equivalent to one township shall be reserved for future disposal of the United States".

1799 - John Kight arrives to work at the (Scioto) Salt Licks. -- John Kight, Saltboiler.

1799 - George L. Crookham moves from Carlisle, Pennsylvania to work at the (Scioto) Salt Licks. He is 20 years old.

1799 - Daniel F. Dean arrives. First man to lose his life by accident at the (Scioto Salt) Licks. -- Daniel F. Dean, Saltboiler.


1800 -  _____ Shoup arrives and begins working at the (Scioto) Salt Licks. -- _____ Shoup, Saltboiler.

1800   Feb. 19th - W. H. Harrison, later President of the United States, read to the lower House: that after inquiring into the situation those who are engaged in making salt, by destructive waste of the timber in the neighborhood of the Springs, are daily diminishing their value. Steps should be taken immediately.Resolved, all Salt Springs and Licks ought to be leased for a term not less than ? or more than ? years. W. H. Harrison, --Congressman.

180? - John Farney arrives and begins work at Salt Licks. -- J. Farney, Saltboiler.

180? - Vincent Southard arrives and begins work at the (Scioto) Salt Licks. -- Vincent Southard, Saltboiler.


1801 - Joseph Conklin prospers at the (the Scioto) Licks. He has a fine furnace and one of the richest wells; he sells them to William Givens.


1802   April 30th - "Ohio Enabling Act" passed. Recognizes the importance of the Licks commonly referred to as the Scioto Salt Springs. Salt leases are fixed at a term of ten years.


1803   February 19th- Ohio becomes a State.

1803   March 23rd - The "New" Ohio Legislature passes "First" act to regulate the "Public"(Scioto) Salt Works. This act provides for an agent to open an office at the Springs and regulate all salt making business.

1803   March 25th - Major John James goes to Chillicothe, presents petition from inhabitants of the "Salt Lick Township" asking to continue business for the present season.

1803   April 17th- James Denney elected first agent of the Scioto Salt Springs.

1803   December 5th - Ohio Governor, Edward Tiffin in his annual message to the General Assembly underlines the importance of the Scioto Salt Works.


1804   January 27th - Legislature passes Second Act to regulate Salt Works. Agent to lay off 800 acres in 20 acre lots for cultivation; a space four poles (66 ft.) in width to be left along Salt Lick Creek for a road; a space thirty feet wide to be left fronting the works and each saltboiler be allowed to rent one or two lots for cultivation; the agent shall inspect each barrel of salt and mark it inspected. Rent will be reduced to 4 cents a gallon and the amount limited to 4,000 gallons capacity.

1804 February 11th - James Denney, late agent of the salt works report is read and considered by legislative committee. There is due to him for services rendered and expenses $41.00.


1805   February 20th - Legislatures Second Act is amended, (This Third Act) to reduce the rent to 2 cents a gallon and place furnace capacity of each company at from 3,000 to 4,000 gallons.


1806-1808 - Greatest Period of Production begins at the Scioto Salt Works; twenty furnaces make 50-70 bushels of salt weekly at ($2.50 per 50 lb. bushel).


1807   January 24th - A Fourth Act is passed ordering the agent to make a map of the (Scioto) Salt Works annually showing wells, timber, etc. and directing him to lay off one hundred acres about 2 1/2 miles from the center of the township into 10 acre lots for cultivation. (Note: No maps of any kind have been found drawn by any salt agent. Author.)


1808   February 13th - An Act to amend the other Acts is passed (A fifth Act) reducing rent to 1 cent a gallon and gives permission to use aqueducts or tubes and gives authority to condemn right of way for the same (this is perhaps the first time in the history of the state that condemnation of right of way was provided for).

1808   December 9th - A report by Scioto Salt Agent presented to legislature. It showed number of wells, furnaces, kettles, capacity in gallons from June 1, 1808 until November 1, 1808; total amount being: 30 wells, 17 furnaces, 982 kettles, 15,079 gallons producing revenue of $570.75. Also a plat of salt works, cleared land, etc. was presented.


1809 - An appointed legislative committee reports that the agent of the Scioto Salt Works records have been examined and are found to be correct. It will be proper for state auditor to charge agent as follows: Total, $570.57


1810   February 19 - An Act, (The Sixth Act) passed repealing all other acts and provides that the agent be appointed for a period of three years; limit of licenses should be January 1, 1813; rent to reduced to 5 mills a gallon; anyone finding water of which 250 gallons will make one bushel of salt, to supply forty kettles, shall get a lease of ten years from discovery.


1811 - Letter to Speaker of the House of Representatives from William Niblack, Agent of the Scioto Salt Works with amount of wells, furnaces, kettles, and capacity in gallons, and in manufacturing salt at the Scioto Salt Works from 15th October, 1810 thru 15th Oct. 1811. Also, with his remarks on the state of the Salt Works as follows: Sir, depreciation of the Scioto Salt Works is considerable as may be seen by report of last year and the present; what the ultimatum will be I know not. No experiments have lately been tried to obtain stronger water, and I fear will not be without encouragement. Should the tax continue on lots laid out for cultivation I have no doubt but as soon as the lease expires, the lots will be left in repair as the law directs and cultivated no more. --William Niblack, Agent.

1811   January 30th - State Law requires owners/occupiers with Salt Works(furnaces) to enclose the same with fencing. 16 furnaces exist which yield over 70 bushels of salt in 24 hours. Each furnace has 90 kettles, 2 rows of 45 each. (It should be noted that salt was first counted at 80 lbs. a bushel and then went to 50 lbs. a bushel).


1812   February 17th - Legislature passes Act, (The Seventh Act), to encourage experiments at the Scioto Salt Works. Provided $300 for an appointed person to drill 200 feet in an effort to find stronger brine and includes a lease agreement. (No experiments were made under this Act).


1813   February 5th - An Act (The Eighth Act) authorizing experiments to be made at the Scioto Salt Works designated Adam Claypool as an agent to contract for drilling. $1,500 was appropriated (Claypool was unsuccessful). ---Adam Claypool, Driller


1814   January 14th - John Jones, Agent, Scioto Salt Works, (A.S.S.W.) As agent for the year 1813, reported that 13 salt boiling operations were in business that year: William Givens, Asa Lake, John Johnson, John Prater, Ross Nelson, Robert Strother, and one other, unnamed. Number of kettles averaged 56-60 for each furnace; capacity in gallons ranged from 1100-1200 per furnace. Agent reported also that lots 2,3,10, and 17 on the plat of said town netted $49.00. No other improvements were made in last 12 months except experiment made in the salt well. If properly tubed and a large gum put in to prevent fresh water from entering, it is thought it would be 1/3 better than original. It would cost about $150.00.

1814   February 7th - An Act, (The Ninth) to encourage manufacturing of salt at the Scioto Salt Works is passed by the Ohio Legislature. William Givens, Joseph Armstrong, John Johnson, Ross Nelson, John W. Sargent, John Prather, and Asa Lake petition for (financial) assistance. Sargent & Prather dig a salt well; they bear the expense and in return have exclusive five year use. John Nelson drilled 240 feet, John Wilson 260 feet, and Henry Harmon 276 feet (no stronger brine was discovered).

1814   December - John James, Agent, Scioto Salt Works, submits report to the legislature. A list of entries made in the agent's office at Scioto Salt Licks, Since June 1, 1814, up to this time. Salt boiling operations include William Givens, Joseph Armstrong, Asa Lake, John Johnston, John Prater, John Sargent, Ross Nelson. Each had 1 furnace, amount of kettles from 56-60 gallons capacity from 1100-1200. Taxes netted $39.88. Some discussion about cultivated lots and amounts collected; the state's salt well was advertised and sold for five years from May 25, 1814 at $40.00 a year. Agent also boiled salt water from different wells, the state's well and Asa Lake's are about one strength and takes about 450 gallons to make 50 lbs. of salt. William Givens' well takes 500 gallons to make 50 lbs. of salt. Balance of wells are about one strength, taking from 600-700 gallons for 50 lbs. None of the wells seem tubed up to keep out fresh water.


1815   February 15th - An Act, (The Tenth), to make further experiments was passed. It directed William Givens to sink a well 350 feet for $700. --William Givens, Saltboiler.


1816   January 12th - Jackson County, Ohio is created.

1816   February 24th - An Act, (The Eleventh), is passed by the Ohio Legislature extending ' Givens' completion time to April 1, 1816. (Mr. Crookham stated that Mr. Givens drilled to an additional depth of 450 feet. Stronger water was procured, but was small in quantity and did not rise to the top of the well). --William Givens, Saltboiler.

1816   April 16th - U. S. Congress passes law authorizing the State of Ohio to sell one section of the Salt Reserve so as to allow the establishment of a town in the Scioto Salt Reserve.

1816   April 17th - From a letter written by Michael McCoy early settler in Jackson:"When we landed there were but two houses where the town of Jackson now stands and they were taverns. There were five salt furnaces in operation run by: John Johnson, Ross Nelson, John W. Sargent, Asa Lake, and William Givens... There were two wells of salt water in 1816, one owned by Asa Lake the other by W.Givens. Asa Lake's is not far from the Salt Lick Creek bridge which crosses the Chillicothe Road. The furnace was on the road not far from where George Crookham built some years later. There was another well not far from where Diamond Furnace is now located belonging to William Givens. The furnace was on Givens Run... A great deal of timber was cut for the salt furnaces, in some places young growth had started considerably. Three or four public roads led to Jackson. The Piketon Road was made for hauling corn from the Big Scioto (River) to the salt works. There was a trace called The Guyan Trace along which hundreds of bushels of salt were packed to the Ohio River. That trace left town where Nelson's furnace was located. It ran a south course crossing the divide where Irwins station is now."

1816   October 1st - Agent of Scioto Salt Works, Jared Strong: reported to legislators.William Givens has completed his salt well according to the Supplementary Act of February, 1816. The water in the auger hole is equal to that of the Kenahwa, but will not rise (list of leases with names, common number acres, and charges were also in report).


1817   March 18th - Jackson County Commissioners unanimously agree that the north end of Section 29, south from Salt Lick Creek, and immediately back of the houses occupied by N.W. Andrews, Mr. George, and Mr. A. Welsh, upon the highland, is the most eligible place for the seat of justice. (The Court House).

1817   April - Surveying "Salt Lick Town", (later "Jackson") is undertaken.

1817   June 2nd - Sale of newly surveyed town lots begins and continues for 10 days.

1817   July 4th - Commissioners meet for the purpose of selling out (contracting) the building of a Jail.


1818   January 3rd - The Ohio Legislature passed a resolution favoring the sale of the Scioto Salt Reserve.

1818 - (From the James H. Darling interview) "I attended Sunday School in the Courthouse. There were two salt wells I remember. One well was owned by Mr. Aldridge. It was near the old Horse Creek bridge and Given's salt well was on Givens Run. There were only four houses of any size in Jackson. There were a great many log cabins, nearly all were strung along Salt Lick Creek below Water Street and was called Poplar Row. The salt boilers lived in them. Salt was measured and not weighed then. They stopped making salt because of scarcity of wood and failure of the wells. The salt I got was white".

1818   January 17  -Richard Johnson, Agent Scioto Salt Works, reports to the General Assembly: Rent from Salt boiling operations (from the year 1817) were as follows: William Givens 1 furnace, 53 kettles, 4200 gallons, $6.00; Ross Nelson, 1 furnace, 53 kettles, 3900 gallons, $4.50; James & John, 1 furnace, 50 kettles, 3800 gallons, $4.00; Johnson Asa Lake, 1 furnace, 60 kettles, 4100 gallons, $5.00; State well, $40.00 rent. Total: $59.50. There has been no improvements for the year 1817.


1819 - Richard Johnson, Agent Scioto Salt Works, reports to the General Assembly: Rent from the Salt boiling operations (from the year 1818) were as follows: William Givens, 1 furnace, 53 kettles, 1200 gallons, $6.00; Ross Nelson, 1 furnace, 53 kettles, 900 gallons, $4.50; James & John, 1 furnace, 50 kettles, 800 gallons, $4.00; Johnson Asa Lake, 1 furnace, 60 kettles, 1000 gallons, $5.00; State well, $40.00 rent. Total: $59.00. There have been no improvements for the year 1818.

1819   December 4th - Elisa Fitch is the lowest bidder to erect a courthouse at $4,061. It shall be in proportion with the courthouse in Piketon, an octagon and finished in the same manner.


1820  - Richard Johnson, Agent Scioto Salt Works, reports to the General Assembly: Rents from the Salt Boiling operations (from the year 1819) were as follows: Ross Nelson, 1 furnace, 53 kettles, 900 gallons, $4.50; William Givens, 1 furnace, 53 kettles, 1200 gallons, $6.00; John & James, 1 furnace, 52 kettles, 1000 gallons, $5.00; Johnson Silas Lake, 1 furnace, 60 kettles, 1000 gallons, $5.00. Total received: $20.50. (There is also a statement concerning land leased and attempts to collect past due rent). It is impossible to collect (money owed) under the present law. There has been no improvement on the water by boring last year.

1820   February 18th - The Ohio Legislature authorizes the Scioto Salt agent to lease lands for cultivation or pasture.


1821 - Richard Johnson, Agent Scioto Salt Works, reports to the legislature: Rents from the Salt Boiling operations (from the year 1820) were as follows: Ross Nelson, 1 furnace, 53 kettles, 900 gallons, $4.50; William Givens, 1 furnace, 53 kettles, 1200 gallons, $6.00; Silas Lake, 1 furnace, 60 kettles, 1000 gallons, $5.00; John & James, 1 furnace, 52 kettles, 1000 gallons, $5.00; Johnson James Pemberton, 1 furnace, 42 kettles, 600 gallons, $3.00. Total receipts: $23.50. These furnaces are to produce from 12,000-15,000 bushels of salt annually.


1822   January 25 - Richard Johnson, Agent Scioto Salt Works, reports to the legislature: Rents from the Salt Boiling operations (from the year 1821) were as follows: Ross Nelson, 1 furnace, 53 kettles, 900 gallons, $4.50; William Givens 1 furnace, 53 kettles, 1200 gallons, $6.00; Silas Lake, 1 furnace, 50 kettles, 1000 gallons, $5.00; J. and J., 1 furnace, 53 kettles, 900 gallons, $4.50; Johnson Alexander Hill, 1 furnace, 49 kettles, 1000 gallons, $5.00. Total receipts: $25.00. The above five furnaces manufacture about 15,000 bushels of salt annually.

1822   December 25th - Scioto Salt Works, Salt Agents Office. Richard Johnson, A.S.S.W.; In a report to the Legislature: Rents from the Salt Boiling operations (from the year 1822) were as follows: 5 Furnaces; containing 245 kettles; With the capacity of 4,900 gallons, receipts $24.50 (additional notations concerning rented land).


1823   January 25th - Legislative Act fixes "Salt Agents salary" at $60 a year.

1823   February 21st - Richard Johnson, A.S.S.W.'s report is given to the legislature by Jared Strong, A.S.S.W. (No data is recorded).


1824   December 28th - The United States Congress passes a law permitting the State of Ohio to sell its "Saltlands".


1825   February 7th - The Ohio Legislature passes a law providing for a survey of the salt lands and for making two maps of the same and a report of all to be made by December 25, 1825.

1825 - Scioto Salt Agent employed honorable Joseph Fletcher of Gallipolis to Survey the entire Scioto Salt Reserve and the whole tract was (to be) laid out in 80 acre lots.


1826   February 7th - The Ohio Legislature "passes a law" providing for the sale of the Scioto Salt Reserve in June of 1826, the sale to be held for 3 days.

1826 - Agent of the Scioto Salt Works, Jared Strong Report was given to the legislature. The entire body of the report discusses only land leases and problems in managing the same). The only mention of Salt Boiling operations is made in the last sentence in the report. It reads as follows: "THE MAKING OF SALT AT THE SCIOTO SALT- WORKS HAS BEEN ENTIRELY ABANDONED."


1827   January 26th (Editors Note:) There was no further use for office of the agent of Scioto Salt Works so it was abolished. All laws relating to leasing salt lands were repealed. Disposal of lands was in charge of Daniel Hoffman. Thus, ends the history of the Scioto Salt Works as state property.

1827   December 11th - Agents Office of the Scioto Salt Works, A. M. Faulkner, Agent. "In obedience to duties assigned the agent, to superintend sale of the Scioto Salt Reserve, (and to whom duties of Agent of Scioto Salt Works was transferred by Act of Legislature passed January 8, 1826) has honor to report to Legislature: In obedience Agent demanded of late Agent of the) Scioto Salt Works, General Jared Strong,the books and papers of his office, and received of him a number of leases, but no books excepting an old one kept some 15-20 years ago by Mr. Worth has been given up to him. The late Agent states no other came to his hands. (Also included is a lengthy discussion concerning leases and disposal of the same which amounts to several pages).


(No Reports)


1849   March 20th - A Special Report on the Scioto Salt Lands and values of each land parcel therein. Also account of money collected by A. M. Faulkner, The First Agent, of the Scioto Salt Reservation. from 1826 - 1829, and the sums paid into the Treasury by him; In addition: accounts of Daniel Hoffman, The Second Agent of the Scioto Salt Reservation, from 1829 - 1848 and sums paid into Treasury by him. (This report also contains S.S.R. Lot numbers, townships, size, value, and to whom sold, plus summary).


1.. "The History of the Scioto Salt Licks" by Daniel Webster Williams

2.. "Legislative Acts, Laws, Etc." by the U. S. Congress, Government of the Northwest Territory, Government of the State of Ohio

3.. "Salt Agents Reports and existing legislative Records".

Those men whose names were found in all sources and identified as "Saltboilers" at the Scioto Salt Works are listed.

Years of Operation (1795 - 1827)

Joseph Armstrong,  Joseph Conklin, (Big) George Crookham,  Daniel F. Dean,  John Farney,  William Givens, Henry Harmon,  Alexander Hill,  James Johnson,  John Johnson,  John Kight,  Asa Lake,  Silas Lake,  John Martin,  John Nelson,  Ross Nelson,  James Pemberton,  John Prater, William Salter,  John W. Sargent,  Vincent Southard,  Robert  Strother, John Wilson

*NOTE: This is not presuming to be a complete listing of all salt boilers worked at the Scioto Salt Works. These are the names found during the course of our investigation. Some of these same names are found on the following page because some of these salt boilers became Salt Agents as well.

Agents of the Scioto Salt Works A.S.S.W. 
(This is the abbreviation used by agents in reports to Ohio Legislature)

1803 - (One Year Term) - James Denny 
1804-1806 - (Three Year Term) - James McDonald 
1807-1809 - Unknown 
1810-1812 - William Niblack 
1813-1815 - John Jones 
1816-1819 - Jared Strong 
1820-1822 - Richard Johnson 
1823-1826 - Jared Strong 
1827- Abolished - A.M. Faulkner

In 1827 the position of "Scioto Salt Works Agent" was abolished. A new position, "Agent of the Scioto Salt Reservation" was created during the same period. This agent oversaw the disposition of lands within the "Scioto Salt Reserve".


1828-1829 - A.M. Faulkner 
1830-1848 (Position Abolished) - Daniel Hoffman



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