Pioneer Period and Pioneer People of
Fairfield Co., Ohio.
by C. M. L. Wiseman
Publ. F. J.
Heer Printing Co., Columbus, O. 1901
the first taverns of Lancaster and Fairfield County had
odd, and to the present generation, singular names.
Historical characters and animals were drawn upon
without stint, and by long association, many of those
dear old names revive in the aged and middle aged sweet
memories of the past and associates and friends long
since gathered to their fathers.
One of the most striking sings of the early period was
that of Samuel Graybill, two miles out of
Lancaster, on Columbus pike, where the old home still
stands. This tavern was called the Green Tree.
And there was painted on the sign a large tree, and a
pack of hounds, and Graybill on horseback, with a
fox on a leaning tree, ready to spring. Fox
hunting was the joy of Graybill's life.
Another country sign was the Blue Ball, at the Rock
Mill, where George Lantz now lives.
This was kept by King, famous for his good fare.
One of the early signs was that of Jacob Beck, on
Columbus street, where Wm. Getz now lives.
On his sign was a large Buck, and with the name of
The F. A. Shaffer tavern was in early days
called the Washington, with a picture of the general on
the sign. Another Washington tavern was in
Thornville, kept for some time by Dr. Mayne,
before he became a doctor, and settled in
Basil. We refer to the father of the late
Jacob Walters kept tavern some years where the
Betz house now stands. He called his house
the William Tell, after the famous hero of a
Swiss legend. There was a picture of the famous
youth with drawn cross-bow and arrow. Col.
Noble's tavern was called the Union as early as
1819. It was a log house, but weatherboarded.
It burned down in 1832 or '33, and a new brick building
of two stories was erected in its place. This was
called the Phoenix, after the fabled bird of heathen
mythology; presumably because it had risen from the
ashes of the old Union. This tavern was owned by a
company - and in about five years it was sold to
Darius Tallmadge, and by him greatly improved, and
the name changed to "Tallmadge House." Another
famous hostelry was where the Mithoff now stands.
The sign was ornamented with the picture of a larger
swan. Col. Sager was one of the famous
landlords of this inn. There was an old-time
tavern on the north side of Main street, near the canal,
called the "Golden Sun," with a picture of that luminary
in a blaze of glory.
Another old tavern sign will be remembered by a few of
our readers. The "Black Horse," kept by Allen
House, on East Main Street. The building stood
near where the fine Binninger residence now
stands. No one could go down Main street east and
fail to see the black horse. House is said
to have entertained Gen. Santa Anna on his way to
Washington, incognito, after his battle of San Jacinto.
One of the famous old-time
taverns was kept by the Nyes, in Tarlton, and
another by Col. Sager, of Oakland. Col.
Sager's wife was a Smith, cousin of Robert,
of Pleasant township. The Nyes preserved
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for forty years two autograph letters from Henry Clay,
who always took his meals at their house.
The good old names are now out of fashion, and only
exist in memory, and the modern styles predominate.
Such as Hotel Martin, The Kirn, The Mithoff.
The modern hotels excel the old in comfort and
convenience, but you cannot convince old-timers that the
good fare and good cheer of the old taverns were not the
In the old bar room at Fred Shaffer's more than
a dozen travelers have been seated and made comfortable,
and the evening spent in enjoyable conversation.
At least six lawyers have been known to lodge in one
room at old-time taverns, and while a game of cards
amused the players, the others with a single candle
prepared their cases for the next day.