Thriving South Point community remains safe, friendly
SOUTH POINT, Ohio -- After Revolutionary War veteran William "Ranger" Davidson settled the southernmost tip of Ohio in the late 1700s, South Point has become a thriving community with nearly 4,000 residents.
The village's history is steeped in tradition and generations of families have continued to live in South Point. While the village first began as a small group of William Gaskin's close family members, it has grown into a community intent on keeping it a safe, crime-free area.
Though the population of the town continues to increase, many say the quaint, small community atmosphere remains. The following information was gathered from the book "History of South Point Village" written by Art Ferguson. For more information on South Point, visit the town Web site at www.villageofsouthpoint.com.
William "Ranger" Davidson founded South Point. The town is so named because it is the southernmost point in the State of Ohio. The land Davidson claimed fronted a mile of river and stretched far back to the hills.
On Nov. 9, 1887, the Lawrence County Commissioners approved a petition signed by 58 males asking for the incorporation of the Village of South Point.
South Point's founder
Born Nov. 20, 1747, in Suffex County, Del., Davidson was the son of Lewis and Comfort Warrington Davidson. Lewis named William after his own father and grandfather. Genealogists identify the elder William as "Emigrant" because of his emigration from Scotland to Maryland by way of Ireland in 1649. He was of the Scottish Clan Davidson of the Badenoch area. The clan's pipe music is "Tulloch's Salute," and its badge is boxwood.
South Point's founder is referred to as "Ranger" because of his Revolutionary War service in Pennsylvania's Westmoreland County Militia, Continental Line, known as the "frontier rangers."
William Davidson landed on the northern Ohio shore directly opposite the mouth of the Big Sandy River. By his map, the Big Sandy separated the former Virginia from the new commonwealth of Kentucky. He could see the mouth of Catletts Creek flowing into the Ohio just below the Sandy's mouth. As he built his cabin, he retreated at night to the point between the two rivers for a better defense against any renegade Indians roaming the area.
The family members accompanying William Davidson in 1798 are not listed. He brought the younger members of his family and his wife to South Point in 1799, where a frontier homestead awaited them. John Davidson, his older son from his first marriage, was a farmer and merchant in South Point until his death in 1828. His wife Margaret Armstrong died two years later.
William Davidson had five children by his first wife, Rosanna Hutchinson, who died in 1782, and 10 children by his second wife, Barbara McDole.
South Point's founder died Nov. 16, 1811, after carving a vast farmland out of the wilderness.
Children by William Davidson's first marriage to Hutchinson were John, Lewis, Comfort, David and Mary. The children from his second marriage were Margaret, Elizabeth, Sarah, Abraham, Thomas, William Warrington, Jesse, Rose, Joseph William and Cynthia.
Of his children, Margaret, Sarah, Abraham, Thomas, William Warrington and Joseph William remained with the land in and around South Point.
Many married into other pioneer families and produced lines of descendants that touched almost every resident of South Point until the post-World War II residential "boom." Until then, South Pointers referred to each other as cousin, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, grandfather and grandmother, thus keeping families strong.
By the 1820s, residents from other South Point geographic areas ranged from the "upriver narrows" to the "downriver narrows." Early settlers included the families of Samuel Ankrim, William McKee, John and Ben Johnston, Daniel Brubaker, Christian and Samuel Kouns, Marvil Elkins, James Ferguson, Mathias Winters, Elisha Greene and James McClure. Pioneers arriving during the next decade were William Freeman, Joseph Leighty, Alfred Hastings, Benjamin Johnston and Pleasant Adkins.
Important South Point firsts
Daniel and Samuel Brubaker built and operated the area's first gristmill in 1813 and soon built the first sawmill.
John Davisson was the first judge of Lawrence County.
Elmer Brubaker operated a blacksmith and machine shop at the corner of Old 52 and Ferry Street.
The first mayor of South Point was Jerry J. Davidson, first clerk was U.M. Davidson and treasurer was J.S. Davidson. Since 1888, only 22 people have held the position of mayor. The longest serving mayor in the Village's history is current mayor William Gaskin. Gaskin has been voted to serve for more than 30 years.
South Point demographics
Population (2000): 3,742
Median household income (2005): $33,300
Median house/condo value (2005): $86,900
Racial Mix: White non-Hispanic 95.8 percent, black 2.3 percent, two or more races 1.5 percent, and American Indian 0.8 percent.
Leading employment industries: Males, metal and metal products, 14 percent. Females, health care, 16 percent.
Mayor: William Gaskin
Village Council: Robert Armstrong, Marlene Arthur, David Classing, Buel Collins, Danny Smith and Ron West
"South Point is a nice little community," said Mayor William Gaskin of the growing southern Ohio community. "With the addition of the industrial park, everyone in the area will have a job in the Point."
"It's the best community in the country to live in," said 68-year resident Patrick Leighty. "We're right in the middle of the Tri-State area. If someone was going to live in the area, I couldn't think of a better place to live."