History of Salem, Ohio

History and biography have always been favorite topics of literature with the author of this book, and he feels convinced that many persons are equally concerned in the same kind of intellectual entertainment. When history is of such a character as to point a moral for the reader, his attention to it must be a source of benefit to him. Local history has a special interest when it relates to the home and vicinity of the reader, who then, has a better chance to judge of its veracity. All people are, in some degree, inquisitive. Their own personal history, and that of their neighbors and ancestors, they like to know. The gratification of this inquisitiveness is often a source of something more than mere pleasure to the inquirer. While he knows what his present condition and circumstances are, he can imagine what they might have been had he lived in former days. And then the question may be asked what would he have been and done if he had lived in earlier times?

History tells about the situation, and other conditions of people different from those of the present day. We learn about their toils and ambitious schemes; some of which were crowned with success, while others w^ere signal failures. A wise person learns good lessons from failures as well as from successful efforts. Defeat is said to be "a school in which truth grows strong." It suggests these inquiries: 1st. Was the undertaking a possibility? 2nd. Were adequate means applied so as to make it a success? 3rd. What agencies, and, how applied, would have accomplished the work? In the experience of others we may see something that we may imitate; something that we should avoid; and something that will suggest originality.

The history of Salem and its vicinity shows how a vast wilderness has been transformed into a prosperous and wealthy city, and much of the domain into productive farms. Many of the young people of both sexes, who have been born and raised here will not be content to remain here, but will go west where they will expect to get land at a low price, and then grow in prosperity with the place of their choice for a home. What our pioneers have done will be examples for them to imitate; and perhaps improvement on them can be made by adventurers from our city.

Much of this history is the fruit of the author's observations; much he has learned from the early settlers with whom he has had acquaintance; and while some has been gathered from other sources, due credit thereto is given. Where the language of other individuals is copied quotation marks are given. In some instances, however, a few words were necessarily changed. Some items have been copied from The Columbiana County History. To Samuel Chessman acknowledgement is due for his account of the railroad enterprise; and to Rev. G. C. Schoeneman for the same about the Catholic church; and also to certain others for information about the other Christian churches. Prof. Southworth, Charles W. Harris, Samuel J. Chisholm, and some others have given important help.


Table of Contents

I. Settlements 9
II. Character and Habits of the Settlers 17
III. Salem in Former Days and its Progress 28
IV. The Post Office 40
V. Schools and Education 44
VI. The same continued 55
VII. Religious History 63
VIII. The same continued 82
IX. Religious History concluded 91
X. The Printing Press 100
XI. The same continued 108
XII. The Printing Press concluded 114
XIII. Manufacturers 119
XIV. The Mercantile Business 130
XV. The Abolition Campaign 137
XVI. The Medical Profession 147
XVII. The Legal Profession 154
XVIII. Secret Societies 157
XIX. Banks 163
XX. - The Railroad 167
XXI. Public Organizations and Public Works 172
XXII. Anecdotes and Miscellanies 186
XXIII. Cemeteries 200
XXIV. Military Record 203
XXV. Necrology of Prominent Persons 222


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The history of Salem dates from the year 1803. Samuel Smith had previous to this time entered and settled on the section of which the southwest corner was marked by what is now the crossing of Main and Ellsworth streets. His log cabin was built somewhere near the residence of Joseph E. Post. His house became a stopping place for persons who came to explore the land. Samuel Davis came at this time and bought the section, or a part of it, of Smith; and he afterwards entered the second section east of it. A part of this is now owned by a grand daughter (the widow of Isaac Thomas). Samuel Davis settled on the land that is now nearly covered by a part of Salem. Much of this he cleared and put into a tillable condition. Other pioneers soon followed; amongst whom was Elisha Hunt, from Brownsville, Pa. In a letter written by him about the year 1870, he said, "In the year 1803, I was where Salem now stands; it was then a wilderness no roads no wagon had ever been there. Now we see a beautiful town, fine farms, good houses, railroad cars running daily at the speed of thirty miles an hour, where it required the whole day to go that distance thirty years ago."