Side A: Erected in 1828, the Randolph Mitchell House is a five-bay, Federal-style “I” house. Its facade features a doorway with an Adam-style fan and sidelights. The interior boasts a grand stairway in the foyer and fine woodwork throughout. Randolph Mitchell (1796-1847) was born in Rockingham County, Virginia. In 1819, Mitchell and his mother Sarah (1765-1844), settled in New Reading and he married Lydia Witmer (1798-1872). They had four children. A merchant, Mitchell kept an ample smokehouse and owned a tannery and real estate. He served as a justice of the peace for Reading Township. After Mitchell’s death, his son-in-law, Dr. W.W. Arnold (1818-1872) maintained his practice in the home, where he and Caroline Mitchell Arnold (1825-1888) lived. Their son William Arnold (1858-1948) acquired the house, which remained in the family until 1951. The property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
Side B: Reading Township was organized in 1807. Peter Obermeier migrated here from the Keystone State around 1802 and named the township after Reading, Pennsylvania. When established, the township was six miles square, as stipulated in the Land Ordinance of 1785, and was part of Fairfield County. In 1818, the General Assembly created Perry County-named for Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry-from parts of Fairfield, Muskingum, and Washington counties. In doing so, Reading Township was enlarged to its oblong shape, measuring six by eight miles. Randolph Mitchell’s house was surrounded by the once-thriving village of New Reading, first called Overmyertown. It was initially populated by many families of German heritage. Obermeier-Overmyer, Mitchell, and other settlers to the area are buried in the adjacent cemetery.