A centennial biographical history of Richland county, Ohio

Out of the depths of his mature wisdom Carlyle wrote, "History is the essence of innumerable biographies." Believing this to be the fact, there is no necessity of advancing any further reason for the compilation of such a work as this, if reliable history is to be the ultimate object.

The section of Ohio embraced by this volume has sustained within its confines men who have been prominent in the history of the State, and even the nation, for a century. The annals teem with the records of strong and noble manhood, and, as Sumner has said, "the true grandeur of nations is in those qualities which constitute the greatness of the individual." The final causes which shape the fortunes of individuals and the destinies of States are often the same. They are usually remote and obscure, and their influence scarcely perceived until manifestly declared by results. That nation is the greatest which produces the greatest and most manly men and faithful women; and the intrinsic safety of a community depends not so much upon methods as upon that normal development from the deep resources of which proceeds all that is precious and permamanent in life. But such a result may not consciously be contemplated by the actors in the great social drama. Pursuing each his personal good by exalted means, they work out as a logical result.

The elements of success in life consist in both innate capacity and determination to excel. Where either is wanting, failure is almost certain in the outcome. The study of a successful life, therefore, serves both as a source of information and as a stimulus and encouragement to those who have the capacity. As an important lesson in this connection we may appropriately quote Longfellow, who said: "We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while we judge others by what they have already done." A faithful personal history is an illustration of the truth of this observation.

In this biographical history the editorial staff, as well as the publishers, have fully realized the magnitude of the task. In the collection of the material there has been a constant aim to discriminate carefully in regard to the selection of subjects. Those who have been prominent factors in the public, social and industrial development of the counties have been given due recognition as far as it has been possible to secure the requisite data. Names worthy of perpetuation here, it is true, have in several instances been omitted, either on account of the apathy of those concerned or the inability of the compilers to secure the information necessary for a symmetrical sketch; but even more pains have been taken to secure accuracy than were promised in the prospectus. Works of this nature, therefore, are more reliable and complete than are the "standard" histories of a country.


Table of Contents


The Pioneers 9
Captain Thomas Armstrong 14
Captain Pipe 14
Greentown and the War of 1812 15
The Killing of Tom Lyons 17
First Settlement Again 19
Indian Civilization 23
Early Day Musters 26
Pioneer Gatherings 29
The Heroes of '76 31
Of Great Prowess 34
Places of Interest 36
The Robinson Castle 40
Caves and Caverns 43
Moody's Hill 45
Ancient Earth-Works 45
Hemlock Falls 48
Uncle Jonas' Lake 48
Spooks' Hollow 50
Facts versus Fiction 55
Miscellaneous 53
Underground Railroads 55
Richland County In the Civil War 57
Murder Mysteries 59
Towns and Villages 62
Helltown and Greentown 66
Potato Region 67
Richland County's Place in the Galaxy of Ohio Poets 68
The Mansfield Lyceum 71
A Hundred Years 72
Our Illustrious Dead 74
Ashland County 77
Greentown 78
The Zimmer Massacre 84
The Fatal Return 88
The Copus Massacre 89
Monuments Reared 93
The Black Fork Settlement 96
Pioneer Incidents 97
Two Battle of Cowpens 97
Lyons' Falls 100
Ancient Mounds 102
Conclusion 102



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America is the only country of the earth that has produced pioneers. European countries were peopled by men moving in large bodies from one place to another. Whole tribes would move en masse and overrun, absorb or extinguish the original inhabitants of a country, dispossess them and occupy their territory. But in America we had the gradual approach of civilization and the gradual recession of barbarism. The white man did not come in columns and platoons, but came singly as pioneers.

When civilization crossed the crest of the Alleghanies, Ohio was looked upon as the garden of the west, and soon various settlements were made in the territory now known as the state of Ohio. Casuists claim that the deer was made for the thicket, the thicket was made for the deer, and that both were made for the hunter; and in further correlations state that the soil was not only intended for those who would cultivate it, but that, if the valley produces corn and the hillside grapes, people suited to the cultivation of such products take possession of these localities on the theory of the eternal fitness of things.

The first white man "to set his foot" on the land now embraced in Richland county, Ohio, was James Smith, a young man who was captured by the Indians near Bedford, Pennsylvania, a short time before the defeat of General Braddock. He was adopted by the Indians into one of their tribes and finally accompanied his adopted brother, Tontileango, to the shore of Lake Erie, passing through a part of what is now Richland county.