Scioto Salt Works
The History of
THE SCIOTO SALTWORKS
(1725 - 1848 )
"A part of the Northwest Territory which would become the State of
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
(Formerly a part of Ross County, Ohio
now, in Jackson County, Ohio).
By P.A.R.K. (Persons Acquiring Regional Knowledge) of
(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
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,
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
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"
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.
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
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
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:
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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).
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
2.. "Legislative Acts, Laws, Etc." by the U. S.
Congress, Government of the Northwest Territory, Government of the State
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
(This is the abbreviation used by agents in reports
to Ohio Legislature)
1803 - (One Year Term) - James
1804-1806 - (Three Year Term) - James
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".
AGENTS OF THE SCIOTO SALT RESERVATION
1828-1829 - A.M. Faulkner
1830-1848 (Position Abolished) -