Remarkable Ohio

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5847 Sunbury Road
Westerville

, OH

This brick home was built in 1856 by John McDannald, son of Samuel and Bell (Craig) McDannald who came from Virginia in 1813. The McDannalds were prominent in the development of Blendon Township, The Central College of Ohio, and The Central College Presbyterian Church. This house served as one station on the Ohio Underground Railroad.

104 W Wabash Street
Liberty Center

, OH

In 1847, after completion of the Miami & Erie Canal, 66 residents were recorded in Liberty Township. Construction of Wabash Railway in 1854 encouraged trade at the half way point between Washington Station and Napoleon. Proprietors such as George W. Buchanan, Frank Prey, Alexander Cooper, and Benjamin Penncock began business around 1860. On June 4, 1863, Alphaeus Buchanan registered a plot of 12 lots, which became Liberty Center. On April 9, 1874, the Village of Liberty Center was incorporated and became a prosperous town along the Wabash Railway. (Continued on other side)

NW corner of N Main Street and Lake Avenue
West Mansfield

, OH

Descendants of slaves, who may have reached Ohio through the Underground Railroad, and other African Americans, formed the community of Flatwoods in the southwest part of Bokescreek Township. This one-room schoolhouse was built circa 1868 for African American children of Flatwoods and remained open until 1923. Remnants of past lessons remain inscribed on the chalkboard. The schoolhouse was threatened with demolition in 1999 and later moved to Veteran’s Park. The Logan County Historical Society owns and maintains the site as a living history museum.

1940 N. Ridge Road
Vermilion

, OH

The first African-American elected to government office in the United States, John Mercer Langston (1829-1897) won the office of Clerk of Brownhelm Township on April 2, 1855. Born in Virginia and raised in Chillicothe, Langston graduated from Oberlin College in 1849 and was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1854, becoming Ohio’s first black attorney. He served as the first president of the National Equal Rights League in 1864, and subsequently as professor of law, dean, and acting president of Howard University in Washington, D.C. In 1890, he became Virginia’s first black congressman. Throughout his career Langston set a personal example of self-reliance in the struggle for justice for African-Americans.

2019 Nipgen Road
Waverly

, OH

Thirteen African American families migrated to Pebble Township in Pike County in the early 1820s from Virginia. Some of the families were former slaves while others were freeborn people of color. Their farm knowledge and skill helped to make them prosperous, angering some of their white neighbors who began a campaign of harassment. Ten of the original African American settlers eventually moved away, but despite the difficulties with the white population, other African Americans continued to arrive to the settlement. They founded a church, later known as the Eden Baptist Church, built a meeting hall, and organized a school. Several of the families were also involved in the activity of the Underground Railroad. The PP Settlement thrived until the 1950s when, for economic reasons, residents moved to other communities.

Intersection of OH 613 and Main Street
Van Buren

, OH

The Village of Van Buren was laid out December 28, 1833, by John Trout and George Ensminger on the boundary of Portage and Cass Townships. It was comprised of 53 lots surrounding a public square, and was named in honor of Martin Van Buren, a prominent national figure (8th President, 1837-41). The village was incorporated in 1866 and Daniel Frick was elected the first mayor.

2662 OH 39
Perrysville

, OH

John “Appleseed” Chapman (b. September 26, 1774—d. March 18, 1845) was the first lessee of this 160 acre tract (NW 1/4, S 20, T 20, R 16), when he secured it for 99 years from the Virginia Military District School Lands on April 10, 1815. This $320 lease complied with the Ordinance of 1785 which stipulated that proceeds from the sale or lease of a 36th of all new land in the Northwest Territory be used to support public education. Perrysville author, Rosella Rice, knew Appleseed. In a history of Ashland County, she wrote, “One of his nurseries is near us and I often go to the secluded spot on the quiet banks of the creek [Blackfork]…with sod never broken since the old man did it.” Attributed as Green Township’s first permanent settler, Abram Baughman’s original 160 acres (c. 1807) adjoined this property to the west.

10750 Mayfield Road
Chardon

, OH

Fowlers Mill (originally Fowler’s Mills) developed around a group of mills built in the 1830s on the Chagrin River. Opportunities from these mills led to Fowlers Mill becoming the commercial center of Munson Township. From the 1830s into the twentieth century, the community expanded with construction of churches, a post office, township hall, stores, hotel, blacksmith shop, schools, and houses built in such styles as Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate, and Queen Anne. This type of community center was common in rural, nineteenth century America, but rarely survives with so much original fabric intact. On Mayfield Road, the Disciple Church was built in 1842. East of the church, the brick central school built in 1913 replaced earlier one-room schoolhouses. The gristmill is the only mill standing in Geauga County. The cemetery contains burials dating from the 1830s. The Fowler’s Mills Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.