ORANGE TOWNSHIP — Early settlers found an area of abundant forests of oak, maple, hickory, black walnut, chestnut, beech, and poplar, and streams lined with sycamore and buckeye trees.
According to Meigs County Pioneer History, George Borrows settled in what was then Athens County in 1797. Borrows had three sons, one named Orange, and the township was named after Orange when it was organized 1813.
With the reallocation of land to form Meigs County in 1819, Orange became a township of Meigs and the second smallest in the county. Parts were taken to form Chester and Olive, and its largest town, Tuppers Plains, was on the border of the newly boundaried townships, and so is shared by Orange and Olive.
The township has many interesting “Tales”, and in his book, Mark Hilton tells the story of Morgan’s Raiders in Tuppers Plains:
“After the Battle of Buffington Island, Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan and his remaining Confederate force of about 800 raiders turned inland from the Ohio River to escape the navy’s in 1863 as part of hard-riding force of about 600 cavalrymen and several hundred mounted Ohio militia. Morgan knew his pursuers were gaining on him, but he had a plan. On the evening of July 19, 1863, in a rugged region near the head of Indian Run, Morgan gave instructions to fill a hilltop with large campfires. Union observers saw the fires and assumed the Confederates had camped for the night. After partly surrounding Morgan’s camp, Shackelford rested just east of Tuppers Plains, confident that he would capture the raiders at first light. Morgan and his men waited and then quietly slipped away under cover of darkness, riding around Tuppers Plains and their Union pursuers. When the Union troops, including the 23rd Ohio Infantry, stormed into Morgan’s campsite in the morning, they found only 49 sick and wounded raiders who had stayed behind to tend the fires. Morgan had, once again, fooled his would-be captors.”
Another local tale is about a man who lived in a tree. The story is published in the “History of Tuppers Plains and the Surrounding Area,” and also related by Marlene Kuhn, a longtime resident of Orange Township, who remembers her father telling the story.
Edward Ulysses Waters was born in Orange Township. He became known as “Lish” and was considered highly educated. He attended Marietta College and studied in Cincinnati, mastered several languages, and was “able to discuss profound legal cases with Meigs County attorneys.”
He became a teacher in Pomeroy, but his career ended suddenly when he was rejected by a woman he loved. Moving back to his family farm, he vowed to “live the life of a hermit.”
The family home burned because Lish would not cut the firewood short enough to fit in the fireplace. He moved into the chicken house, which also burned.
He then moved into a huge, hollow sycamore log and made it into his home. Offers of help and food were rejected, and he would often do things to “aggravate” his neighbors so they would leave him along.
His niece lived nearby and recalled that Lish received a letter from the woman who had rejected him after her husband passed away. According to the niece, the letter was an offer to marry him, but he told her his farm would “never support another man’s son.”
“As far as anyone remembers”, he was still living in the tree at the time of his passing at age 80.
Written by Lorna Hart, who is a freelance writer for The Daily Sentinel. The information was presented by Brielle Newland at the Chester Shade Historical Association Banquet with material contributed by Marlene Kuhn.