Mahoning township was established in 1851 being formed from parts of Madison, Pine, Wayne and Red Bank townships and contains about 25 square miles. The earliest white settlers were William R. Hamilton and John Kuhn in 1787. Mahoning Iron Furnace was built in 1845 by the Colwell brothers. In 1833, David Putney purchased 1,000 acres from the Holland Land Company and became the founder of Putneyville.
This town was called "Texas" in 1848 by Joseph Moorhead, the owner of the tract. It was changed to Oakland by William R. Hamilton in 1854, who laid out the lots and make the sales. The assessment for Oakland in 1850 gave the number of taxables as eight and the total valuation as $772. The name was changed to Distant in 1918. The Oakland Classical & Normal Institute, under the principalship of Lebbins J. Shoemaker, A. B., a graduate of Princeton, was opened in the first story of the Red Bank Baptist Church of Oakland in 1877.
William R. Hamilton founded the town of South Bethlehem in 1874 on land purchased from the Holland Land Company by Lewis Daubenspeck in 1811. The population of Mahoning Township in 1860 was 1,446. The number of taxables in 1876 was 426, indicating a population of 1,954.
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