A Part of Genealogy Express

History & Genealogy

A History of Ross County, Ohio,
from the Earliest Days, with Special Chapters on
the Bench and Bar, Medical Profession,
Educational Development, Industry and Agriculture
and Biographical Sketches
Henry Holcomb Bennett, Editor
Madison, Wis.
Selwyn A. Brant



- Early tendencies - Industrial opportunities - City government
 - History of Public library - Newspapers
 - Churches - Cemeteries - Business interests
 - Social organizations

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    WITH an honorable record of more than a century's existence behind her, Chillicothe well sustains her long established reputation for solidity and wealth.  The men who established the little hamlet in the wilderness in 1796, founded that reputation, and their descendants and successors have well maintained it.


     Chillicothe attained an eminent position in the political history of the State, long years before her commercial and industrial character had received more than passing notice.  And this was not due to any lack of interest in industry, or of local pride; but rather, to the overpowering influence of the strong political characters who were at the helm of the ship of state.  Their minds and energies were absorbed in shaping the destiny of the Northwest Territory, and founding a state on the broad principles of human equality.  To the Chillicothe party, headed by Nathaniel Massie, is due the existence of the State of Ohio, with boundaries as at present established.  The defeat of the St. Clair party, and the consequent erection of the State on the basis desired by the Chillicotheans, is fully told in another chapter.  Prominent among General Massie's assistants were Thomas Worthington, Michael Baldwin, Dr. Edward Tiffin, Judge Thomas Scott, and James Grubb.  These names are immortal in Ohio's history.
     They were also instrumental in the framing of the constitution of the State, adopted in 1802, and in the admission of state without the stigma of human slavery.  These were absorbing themes, which not only engaged the attention of the great leaders, but their followers as well; and the success thus achieved placed Ross county.  This position placed four Chillicotheans in the gubernatorial chair, and four United States senators were residents of Chillicothe, as were, also, nine representatives in Congress; three secretaries of state of Ohio; six judges of the Ohio supreme court; ten members of constitutional conventions, with minor officials in the state and nation, in great numbers.
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church, under the pastorate of Rev. Paul A. Miller, has one service each Sunday.  This, the younger of the two churches, is located at corner of High street and Allen avenue.


     There are five burial places within re4ach of the city, three of which are denominational or church grounds.  These are St. Margaret's, on the north side of Allen avenue, just beyond the city limits;   St. Mary's cemetery and St. Peter's, practically the same, are located on the north side of Allen avenue, west of Vine street.  These take the name of the churches, and are consecrated to the use of the institutions with which they are connected.  All are carefully cared for by competent persons, and have been in existence4 since the organization of the churches whose dead they receive.
     The public cemeteries of the city are Grand View and Green Lawn, the former located at the southeastern end of Walnut street, and, from its elevated position, commanding the finest landscape view of the valleys of the Scioto and Paint creek, while the beautiful city of Chillicothe is spread out like the grand panorama to the northward.
     Previous to the establishment of Grand View cemetery, about 1841, most of the churches had burial places connected with them, and there was once a public burying ground near the present site of the Baltimore & Ohio depot.  But the development of the town in every direction deprived this place of the quiet and seclusion which one always associates with a burial place for the dead; hence the purchase of this site, which has been enlarged and beautified as the years passed, until it is now an ideal spot.  It contains the mortal remains of several of Ohio's most distinguished citizens, whose final resting places are rendered conspicuous by the erection of worthy monuments.  The private citizen and the soldier are equally honored by the reverence and sacrifice of surviving friends, to the end that this sacred spot is rendered beautiful, in keeping with the sadly reverential purpose which made its existence a necessity.  The site of Grand View cemetery has been briefly described in another chapter, hence a repetition is unnecessary.  A board of directors for the management of the business affairs of the cemetery is elected from the lot holders, and these select the general superintendent, sexton and his assistances.
     Green Lawn Cemetery is designated as the Scioto township burial ground, and is located southeast of Chillicothe, and in plain sight from Grand View.  It is a well-kept ground, under the management of a competent and efficient board of directors.  This ground was laid out since the establishment of Grand View, though interments had been made on the site, as a private burial place, previous to its being thrown open to the public.


     The business interests of Chillicothe are varied and extensive.  The mercantile houses with any city of equal size in the State.  The volume

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of business is very large4 when the close proximity of rival towns is considered; but this is due to the fact that many of the small dealers in country towns purchase their supplies in whole or in part from Chillicothe merchants, and the further fact that country buyers prefer to select their purchases from an extensive stock in the city, rather than to patronize home dealers, with a limited showing of goods.
     The mercantile houses of Chillicothe are generally backed with unlimited resources in comparison to their demands, and the element of losses from bad accounts is reduced to the minimum, by reason of the stable character of the buyers.  Perhaps no city in the State, of equal size, has a smaller percentage of losses from bad debts.  This is due, in part, to the fact that buyers are permanent residents, usually owning their own homes, though the element of honesty and business integrity among them is the dominant feature.
     The early history of merchandising in Chillicothe is interesting, in that it covers the the period of early settlement and development in every line of human endeavor, far beyond the memory of the oldest inhabitant of today.  Few can fully realize the fact, except through the continual "promptings" of history and the press, that for many years following the first settlement, all goods displayed for sale were brought across the Allegheny mountains on pack horses.  These semi-annual trips of merchants to the eastern markets were fraught with great labor and peril.  No one knew the moment when lurking savages, secreted along the bridle path, might attack the caravan, and murder the adventurous men who had thus defied them.  Bands of lawless white men were often the cause of serious trouble, as robbers and murderers.  The telegraph and telephone were then unknown, and many instances are on record where loved ones at home never knew of the fate which befell husband or father, except that he never returned.  As time passed, the flat boat and keel boat of ancient days supplemented a part of the labors of the horse, adding little advantage to the laborious process, except to deprive him of some of its perils.  With the opening of the canal, merchants felt that they were already near the suburbs of New York, yet if they were obliged to procure their goods through that slow process in this day, they would think the distance greater than the "mountain" route.  Some of the men who endured the perils and labors of the early merchants are mentioned in this article, but it is not possible to procure the names of all.
     One of the earliest merchants was Thomas James, who brought the first keel-boat-load of bar iron to Chillicothe, and afterward opened an iron furnace of Rocky Fork, as told elsewhere.  John McLandburg and John Carlisle were among the first general merchants.  In 1802 John Carlisle advertised that he kept superfine and coarse cloths, cassimeres, blankets, camels-hair shawls, India lute-string, books and stationery, queens-ware, cutlery, coffee, tea, sugar, liquors
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and mill saws, a sufficiently varied assortment.  John McCoy, at the same time, briefly announced that he had "just received an extensive assortment of new goods, which he intends to sell low," while John Sherer stated that he had "a full quantity of the best Monongahela whiskey and a few barrels of flour"  The better class of residents demanded something more than linsey-woolsey and home-spun, so John McLandburg advertised "American calico, cut velvets, merino wools, cashmere scarves, silk velvet bonnets, ostrich plumes and silk plush."  In 1801 there were two butchers in town and five doctors, three of whom were Drs. Scott, Crane and Buell.  Adam Haller, baker, came to town in 1801.  It was his wife who presented the town with the land on which the present city hall is located.  George Remick had a general store from 1802 to 1807, and what was probably the first "corner" in the commercial history of Chillicothe was engineered by his wife, who, hearing of an approaching boatload of powder, when there was none in town, met the boat, bought the load and "cornered the market."  In 1802 Alexander Hawthorn made rails, at the rate of twelve pence a pound for eight penny nails.  In 1802 Thomas "Sherrer sold winds, liquors, candles, cider, dried peaches and apples, and Samuel McPherrin made wool and fur hats.  By 1803 Dr. Edmiston advertised drugs for sale and John Smith repaired watches.
     By 1810 the list had grown to respectable dimensions, and the following are the ones who then followed commercial pursuits:  General stores:  W. R. Southward, John McDougal, Samuel Taggart, Barr & Keys, Ephraim Doolittle, James Ferguson, John McCoy, John Waddel, James McClintock, Thomas James, Marcus Highland, Samuel, Joseph and George Brown, David Kinkead, Isaac Evans, Nathaniel Gregg, William and James Irwin, John Carlisle, John McLandburg, Amaziah Davisson (who married a daughter of Senator Joseph Kerr).  Others are William Robinson and Peter Spurk, silversmiths; J. L. Tabb, James Robinson, cabinet-makers; J. Beard, Scott, John Hunter, tailors; Peter Day, blacksmith, who received $6.50 for "making handcuffs and putting them on John Cummins and William Friend;" John Martin, G. Cogan, S. McClure, Adam Haller, bakers; Joseph Miller, Isaac Cook, nailmakers; John Sands, Samuel McPherrin, hatters; James Foster, bookbinder; Samuel Ewing, saddler; J. Miller, Sam McCormick, Diabler, Shoemakers; Amasa Delano, drugs; Nathaniel Reeves, Turner, tanners.  In 1820 there were two breweries in town, owned by J. W. Collett and B. Donahoo.  Oliver & Buchanan "kept store" in 1803 and is 1802 J. Gibbons advertised as a "taylor."
     It is impossible to give a full list of the various mercantile enterprises which have flourished in Chillicothe; and the following list contains only a part of the more prominent firms:

     Dry Goods:  Reeves & Burbridge, Thomas Gregg, Barr & Campbell,
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Isaac Evans, T. & S. Swearingen,  J. & S. Culbertson, Capt. William Carson, James McClintick, jr., J. H. Bennett, William H. Douglas, William Ross, J. & H. McLandburg, William Miller, Robert Stewart, Joseph Stewart, James P. Campbell, Wm. Y. Strong, H. S. Burnam, James Rowe & Co.; Wilcox, Jennings & Reed, wholesale, succeeded by William H. Daly and Douglas and Shull; Smart & McFarland, Adams & Kercheval, James Doublas, Hutsenpiller & Co., Thomas Woodrow, jr., C. J. Miller, Wm. Carson, jr., A. & H. N. Carlisle, Wayland & Vanmeter, Clough & Hopewell, Irvin Barton, Lemle & Wolf, McNeil & Mytinger.

Wholesale Grocers:  Orr & Atwood, Fullerton & Renick, D. Weson, P. H. Dieter, William Poland, D. Smart & Co., M. Boggs.

Retail:  Peter Huffman, J. C. March, A. & S. Ives, Isaac Cory.

Drugs:  Amassa Delano, Ira Delano, Amasa D. Sproat, R. H. Lansing, J. M. VanMeter, J. A. Nipgen, Walter H. Howson, Alston & Davis.

Books and Stationery:  Cummins & Foster, Joseph Jones, Hiram Yeo, Clement Pine, Miesse & Chapman, Gould & Silvus.

Tinware, Stoves, &c.:  William Jack, William Welch & Co., Henry Howson.

Miscellaneous:  D. Adams & C., of the "Clinton Mills", afterward Marfield & Luckett; William McKell, queensware; Swift & McGinnis, hats; Gardner & Schutte, N. Purdum, hardware; E. P. Pratt, John J. Bangs, C. F. Dufeu, F. H. Hopkins, jewelers; William H. Skerrett, boots and shoes; Denning and Campbell, hardware; Miller, Patterson & Co., wholesale shoes; Henry Sulzbacher, D. Klein, Epstine & Hecht, clothiers; Ewing and Pearson, John Peregrine, harness; S. C. Swift & Co., wholesale notions; Armstrong & Story, tanners; William H. Reed & Co., lumber.

     The present business of the city is transacted by five banks, nine dry goods houses, ten drug stores, four wholesale groceries and fifty-three retail establishments.  Some of these also handle meats, flour and feed and fuel.  There is one wholesale hardware store, and six engaged in the retail trade.  For the accommodation of the traveling public, there are eleven hotels, six boarding-houses and eight restaurants.  There are fifty-one salons.
     The boot and shoe industry is an important factor in the business of the city, there being two manufacturing plants, two firms engaged in the wholesale trade, and nine retail stores.  Connected with these, or operating independently in manufacturing and repairing, are seventeen shoe-makers.  Three firms are engaged in the manufacture of brooms.  In lumber and building material, including four planing-mills, seven business plants cater to the wants of the public.  Six plumbers present their bills at regular intervals.  Of photographers
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there are four, and one dealer in pictures and frames.  There is one pawnbroker, one piano and organ house; one pottery; one spoke manufactory; one transfer; one wholesale liquor dealer; two telephone companies; two dealers in sporting goods; three veterinary surgeons; four dealers in stoves and ranges; three tinshops; eight teamsters; three sewing machine agencies (located); two sign painters; two dealers in second-hand goods; four real estate offices; five book and job printing establishments, exclusive of newspaper publisher; one organ manufacturer; seven house painters; one osteopathic doctor; five dealers in notions; two machine shops; one dealer in mantels and grates; four firms engaged in marble and granite and monumental work; six regular meat markets; four men's furnishing establishments and seventeen merchant tailors.  Four laundries supply the needs in their department, while six jewelers attend to the work of adornment.  Cast-off articles are gathered in by two junk dealers, and two justices of the peace adjust the differences.  One lounge manufactory is seconded in its efforts to enhance the public comfort, by eight coal dealers, and two gas companies.  There are two grain companies, ten gardeners, and eight furniture dealers, including two manufactories.  There are thirteen blacksmiths, and two exclusive shoeing shops.  The manufacture of wagons is carried on extensively by one firm, and to a limited extent by another.  There are three dealers in agricultural implements, besides others who combine that with other lines of business.  There are two book and stationery establishments.  Nineteen barber shops, representing about fifty workmen, attend strictly to their business of scraping acquaintances.  The city has but one architect who is a permanent resident.  Bicycles are sold by three firms as exclusive dealers,, while many others handle supplies and attend to repairing.  There are two breweries in the city, both of which have existed for many years.  There is a building and loan association, and a business college; also an extensive brick manufacturing plant in the suburbs.
    Four firms give attention to the manufacture and sale of carriages.  Four firms of undertakers are found in the city; there is one wholesale confectionery establishment and eleven retail dealers.  Of contractors, in the various lines of mechanical work, there are nineteen.  There is one cooper and one desk manufacturer.


     The social spirit of Chillicothe is revealed in the following list of secret and benevolent societies:  Masonic: Scioto Lodge No. 6, F. & A. M.; Chillicothe Chapter No., R. A. M.; Chillicothe Commandery No. 8, Knights Templar; Ionic Lodge No. 6, F. & A. M. (colored); St. Elizabeth Chapter O. E. S. (colored); Lansing Chapter No. 11, R. A. M. (colored); Persian Commandery No. 11, K. T. (colored).  Independent Order of Odd Fellows; Chillicothe Lodge No. 24; Tecumseh Lodge No. 80, Valley Encampment No. 21 and
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Daughter of Rebecca organization, auxiliary to these.  The colored people also have a Lodge of Odd Fellows.  Lodge No. 52, B. P. O. E. is of comparatively recent organization.  The Grand Army of the Republic have two organizations, viz.:  A. L. Brown Post No. 162, and W. L. Wright Post No. 588.  Auxiliary to these are Woman's Relief Corps No. 83, and W. L. Wright Relief Corps No. 204.  The Sons of Veterans have an organization known as A. L. Brown Camp No. 7.  There are Lodges of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Ancient Order of United Workmen, Brotherhood of St. Andrew, Knights of St. George, Improved Order of Red Men and Degree of Pocahontas, Woman's Auxiliary Red Men, Knights of the Ancient Essenic Order, Knights and Ladies of Honor, Knights of Pythias  (Soreno Lodge No. 28), Loyal Legion of Labor, Mechanics and Laborers Beneficial Association, Modern Woodmen of America (Camp No. 4111), Independent Order of Foresters, Protected Home Circle No. 148, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen, Order of Railway Conductors, Royal Arcanum.  Of the purely social religious or political organizations may be mentioned the Buckeye Club, Columbus Club, Century Club, East End Pastime Club, The Girls' Friendly connected with St. Paul's church; St. Catherine's Guild, and Woman's Auxiliary connected with St. Paul's, St. Ignatius Benevolent Society in connection with St. Peter's School, and the Sunset Club.  It would be interesting to trace the history of these various organizations, particularly the more important ones, but lack of space forbids the attempt.
     Three musical societies exist for public entertainment and the local advancement of their art.  These are designated as the Euterpean Club, the Eintracht Singing Society and St. Peter's Singing Society, the latter in connection with the church and school which it represents.  The two first named are prominent features in society, and sources of much pleasure and entertainment.






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