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Source:  A Standard History of the Hanging Rock Region of Ohio
- Publ. The Lewis Publishing Company - 1916



Page 624



     On February 7, 1851, the town was incorporated by a special act of the Ohio Legislature and the name changed from McArthurstown to McArthur.  With this action came the necessity for county offices, a courthouse and a jail.  The jail was built in 1852, and the courthouse finished in 1856.  After this became the county seat, and before the completion of the courthouse, courts had been held in a private house for a year, and afterward in the Methodist or in the Presbyterian Church.

     Section 1 of act incorporating McArthur reads as follows: "Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio, that so much of the territory in the township of Elk, in the county of Vinton, as is included within the original plat and survey of the town of McArthurstown, together with such additions as have been or may hereafter be made to said town, be, and the same is, hereby created a town corporate and politic, with perpetual succession."


     The town corporate thus perpetuated was named in honor of one of the brave, brilliant and substantial men whom it has been the good fortune of the State of Ohio to periodically contribute to the statesmanship and citizenship of the country.  When it was laid out as a town in 1815 its projectors christened it McArthurstown, as a slight testimonial to Gen. Duncan McArthur, who, as the commander-in-chief of the Northwest army, had driven the hostile Indians from the Lake Erie region, safeguarded Detroit and the American interests on the Canadian border, and was altogether the leading military figure of that time.  Ten years before he had assisted Gen. Nathaniel Massie to lay out Chillicothe and in other important surveys; had represented Ross County in the Legislature, been elected colonel and major-general of the state militia, and, notwithstanding that he was second in command at the unfortunate Hull surrender, had displayed such indignation over the occurrence in the fall of 1812 the democrats had sent him in Congress. 
     General McArthur's military services during the following three years, or until the Town of McArthurstown was founded, include his gathering of the 8,000 men from the Scioto Valley, marshalling them near Sandusky, taking command of Fort Meigs, assuming the defense of Detroit, succeeding Harrison in command of the Northwest army, the defeat of the enemy Indians at the upper end of Lake Erie and his successful campaign against the Canadian militia directed from Detroit and Malden.  From 1815 to 1822 General McArthur was elected three times to the Legislature, during which he took a decided stand in favor of the right of the United States Bank to establish branches wherever it chose in the State of Ohio.  He also concluded several Indian treaties.
     In 1822 both General McArthur and Samuel F. Vinton were elected to Congress and served four years together.  The former was more a man of action than one fitted for the steadfast, patient labors of a member of Congress and his political career virtually terminated in that body.  Although he was elected governor of Ohio in 1830, in June of that year he met with an accident which seriously crippled him, both physically and mentally.  He had been placed in the gubernatorial chair by the anti-Jackson party.  On the expiration of his term of office he was again a candidate of Congress, but, under the circumstances, his defeat was a foregone conclusion, and his death was a few years afterward was the pitiful conclusion of a life of natural energy, bravery and ability.


     In the special act of the Ohio Legislature by which McArthur was incorporated, an election was ordered to be held for corporation officers on the 5th of April, 1851.  The result was the choice of the following: J. S. Hawk, mayor; L. G. Bort, clerk; B. P. Hewett, Charles Brown, David Richmond, Joel A. Waldron and W. Swepston, trustees.


     The schools established at McArthur previous to its incorporation as a village have been noted.  It became an independent school district in 1853.  The first statistics obtainable show that in 1858 it contained 165 males of school age and 159 females; total, 324.  The schoolhouse on lot 98 was owned by the village board of education until 1865, when it was sold to James Lantz.  The board, in the summer of 1859, bought 2-1/5 acres of their present school lot and the same fall commenced the brick work of a new building.  It is a two-story brick, 62 by 66 feet, in the center of the lot of 3-1/5 acres in the northwest part of town, occupying a commanding site.  The valuation of the McArthur school property at that time was a little over seven thousand dollars.  In 1913 a large modern style building was erected at a cost of $30,000.
     In the fall of 1860 J. P. Spahr took charge as superintendent of the first school taught in the new building, holding his position two years.  He was energetic, well qualified, a good disciplinarian, but for some unexplained reason remained only two years.  Other early superintendents were W. H. Travis, Edmund Sheffield, John A. Hatfield, William Watkins, M. R. Barnes, W. R. Kelley and M. A. Henson.
The village Union School, embracing a first-class high school department and all the grammar grades, is under the general supervision of C. H. Copeland, county superintendent.  Miss Linnie Arnold is the principal.


     There is a well-conducted normal institute, which was organized, in the summer of 1867, under the name of the Vinton County Teacher's Association.  Its first officers were:  President, M. R. Barnes; vice president, L. O. Perdue, J. S. Huhn and Frank Darby; secretary, J. M. M. Gillivray; treasurer, A. S. Asbury; executive committee, C. D. Gist, B. F. Albin, J. J. DeFigh and D. B. Zeigler.
The association held its first institute during the first week of September, 1867, under the instruction of Prof. E. T. Tappan and W. H. Young, of the Ohio State University.  Fifty-five teachers were in attendance.  Until August, 1882, the institutes were held at McArthur, when for the first time, a session was convened at Hamden.
     The Vinton County Teachers' Institute has a constitution and by-laws which control its affairs and regulate its membership.  The objects of this association are the improvement of the teachers, the advancement of the interests of education, and the cultivation of enlightened public sentiment regarding the public school system.  The institute is now under the management of the county board of education.


     The principal McArthur industry is the brick plant owned by the McArthur Brick Co.  The officers of the company are H. S. Hamilton president; Hon. O. E. Vollenweider, vice president; O. F. Pilcher, secretary; L. W. Sprague, general manager; A. Will, Jr., treasurer.
     There are several reasons why McArthur is proud of the plant:
     1. Every dollar of its stock is owned by McArthur citizens.
     2. The plant has been a dividend payer from the day that it started, ten years ago.
     3. We are the pioneers in making what is known as rough texture brick.
     The plant has a capacity of 66,000 brick per diem and furnishes employment for about one hundred men.
     Another considerable industry at McArthur is the flour mill erected, in 1856, in the eastern part of town near the railroad.  The building, a four-story frame, 80 by 30 feet in dimensions, was originally furnished with four sets of burrs and a 100-horse power engine.  Its smoke stack, seventy-five feet in height, made quiet a landmark.  O. W. Gilman, the contractor who built the mill, purchased a one-third interest in the original business.  The proprietary firm afterward became Gillman & Gold, and owned a coal bank near the mill from which to feed the engine.  In 1878 they built an addition to the original building, 80 by 15 feet, two stories high, in which they placed woolen machinery for the purpose of doing custom work.  The woolen part of the industry has been discontinued for many years.
     the old ill was destroyed by fire some years ago and was replaced by a handsome brick structure, which is now in operation, owned by W. J. Ward.


     The oldest business or financial institution at McArthur of prominence is the Vinton County National Bank, of which Daniel Willis president and Aaron Will, Jr., is cashier.  The original institution was the Vinton County Bank, organized on Jan. 7, 1867, with the following officers:  J. J. McDowell, president; J. W. Delay, cashier; other directors, A. Wolf, H. E. Austin and E. D. Dodge.
The association continued in business without any change until Sept. 1, 1868, when there was an agreement effected with the banking firm of Will, Brown & Co., doing business in McArthur, to consolidate (said firm having been organized and commenced business about the same time as did the Vinton County Bank).  The two firms on that date consolidated under the firm name of the Vinton County Bank, the capital stock being increased to $75,000, the following being the list of stockholders:  H. S. Bundy. H. F. Austin, A. A. Austin, E. D. Dodge, D. V. Rannells, J. W. Delay, Andrew Wolf, Daniel Will, Charles Brown, Aaron Will, Thomas B. Davis.
  On Jan. 9, 1869, the bank elected the following board officers:  Charles Brown, Thomas B. Davis, Andrew Wolf, J. W. Delay, Daniel Will, David V. Rannells, E. D. Dodge.  The board of directors organized by electing Daniel Will, president, and J. W. Delay, cashier.  The organization continued in business successfully until Oct. 1, 1872, when it was converted into and commenced a business as a national bank, the title adopted being "The Vinton County National Bank, of McArthur, Ohio,"  The capital stock was $100,000, held by the following persons, each share representing $100: Daniel Will, 270 shares; J. W. Delay, 130; Charles Brown, 125; E. D. Dodge, 120; Andrew Wolf, 100; H. S. Bundy, 100; D. V. Rannells, 50; A. Will, 35; Jacob G. Will, 100p; Jacob S. Will, 30; T. B. Davis, 10.  The stockholders reelected as directors, Daniel Will, Andrew Wolf, Charles Brown, H. S. Bundy and J. W. Delay, and the directors organized by electing Daniel Will, president, and J. W. Delay, cashier.  The bank has since pursued a conservative and successful career without any change in its executive officers and but two changes in its board of directors, the first resulting from the resignation of H. S. Bundy, that vacancy being filled by the election of Aaron Will; the second from the death of Charles Brown, the vacancy being filled by the election of Jacob G. Will.
In November, 1878, it was deemed advisable by the board of directors to reduce the capital stock of the bank to $50,000, at which it remains.  The only notable change in the management of the bank for twenty-five years occurred in 1898, when J. W. Delay, who had been appointed bank examiner, was succeeded as cashier by Aaron Will, Jr., the present incumbent.  The deposits of the bank amount to $247,809; surplus and undivided profits, $29,000.


     The MaArthur Savings & Loan Co. has been doing a growing and profitable business for twenty-five years.  Probably one-third of the population of the town, both men and women, are stockholders or depositors.  Its authorized capital is $100,000, but its assets have kept climbing until they amount to $315,000.  Its officials are as follows:  F. P. Magee, president; L. W. Sprague, vice president; O. F. Pilcher, secretary; L. W. Thorp, Dr. G. M. Swepston, Dr. A. W. Paffenbarger, Hon. J. W. Darby and F. P. Magee, board of directors.


     The town hall at McArthur, which was completed in 1883, was built jointly by the village and Elk Township at a cost of about six thousand dollars.  The structure is of brick, two stories and basement; the latter is occupied principally by fire apparatus and material; the first floor is given over to municipal and township offices and rooms and the second to a large audience room for public meetings.

FIRE OF 1883

     It was during January of 1883 that McArthur's most destructive fire occurred.  It broke out about 11 o'clock P.M. of January 16th and swept the entire square on the north side of Main Street between Market and Jackson streets.  The most faithful efforts were put forth, aided by hook and ladder apparatus, but the buildings, with one or two exceptions, were old wooden shells and burned like tinder boxes.  Following is a list of the losses:  The Davis Building, occupied by A. R. Lantz, grocer; Farley & Harris, oyster saloon; H. K. Matteson, cigar shop; P. Matts, jewelry store; J. E. King, shoe shop, and the Armory of the Fenton Guards.  This was the first building to burn and was situated near the east end of the square.  From this the fire moved rapidly toward the west, taking the buildings and drygoods store of C. M. Shively & Bro.;  H. P. Ambrose, saddle shop; J. H. King, shoe shop; Dan McKeever, saloon; Reynolds & Clements, meat store; George W. Farley, barber shop; D. Will & Bros., drygoods; Mrs. Leah Kaler, residence; J. J. Murphy, meat store; building owned by T. D. Dodge, Mrs. Lyle, residence; J. P. Ankram, drygoods, and Masonic Hall Building owned by D. C. Gill; D. C. Gill, residence; J. W. Delay's building on east end of square occupied by W. H. King, grocery; L. Pierce, drug store; Record printing office; C. W. Taylor, barber shop; E. A. Bratton, law office, and E. A. Bratton's residence.  The entire loss of this fire was estimated at upward of fifty-five thousand dollars, about twenty thousand dollars of which was covered by insurance.


     McArthur has two of the three newspapers published in the county - the Republican Tribune, edited and published by V. R. Sprague, its politics indicated by its title, and the Democrat-Enquirer, of which F. P. Magee is the proprietor.
     The Vinton County Republican was the first paper printed in Vinton County.  It was removed from Logan to McArthur, and the first number issued April 13, 1850.  It was published by J. A. Browne and L. S. Bort, J. A. Browne, editor.  The name at the head of the first three numbers of the paper was Vinton Republican, but he editor explained: "We propose to call our paper the Vinton County Republican, but have not now the proper type to put in the county."  The motto of the paper was: "'Tis a base abandonment of reason to resign our right of thought."  October 24th of the same year L. S. Bort became sole proprietor.  At the close of the first year L. S. Bort, J. K. Rochester, and L. W. Bort became partners, Mr. Rochester retiring at the end of seven weeks, and L. W. Bort, January 22, 1852, and again L. S. Bort became sole proprietor and continued its publication until August of that year.
     On August 26, 1852, the Republican was purchased by "a Democratic joint stock company,"  B. P. Hewitt and E. F. Bingham, editors, and the name changed to the Vinton County Flag.  May 20, 1852, E. A. Bratton purchased and took editorial charge of the paper, changing the name, Aug. 19, 1853, to McArthur Democrat.  Motto: "The spirit of the age is Democracy," which was changed in August, 1854, to: "No North, no South, no East, no West, under the Constitution; but a sacred maintenance of that instrument and true devotion to our common country."  Changed, November 8, 1856, to: "Equal and exact justice to all men of whatever state, religious or political."  March 20, 1845, Alexander Pearce bought the paper, taking J. T. Spence as partner April 17, who remained until March 13, 1858.  Mr. Pearce sold out, Dec. 27, 1860, to E. A. and W. E. Bratton, who again changed the motto to: "No North, no South, under the Constitution, but a sacred maintenance of that instrument and the Union."  May 7, 1864, W. E. Bratton retired, and returned October 19, 1865, and continued its publication until the close of that year.


     January 2, 1866, W. E. and A. E. Bratton took the Republican, and again the name was changed to the Vinton Record, with the motto:  "The right is always expedient."  June 1st A. W. Bratton sold his interest to W. E.,  who sold, January 3, 1867, to Ruth C. Bratton A. E. Bratton was editor during all these changes except the year 1866.  August 22, 1867, John T. Raper and W. H. H. Robinson purchased the office and restored it to its original politics.  August 27, 1868, John T. Raper bought out his partner and continued its publication until November 23, 1876, when he sold the paper to A. Barleon.
In July 1870, while the Record was owned by Mr. Raper, the material of the Zaleski Herald, which had in turn, descended from the McArthur Register, was absorbed by the Record and added to its outfit.  The Zaleski Herald was published from February, 1866, to the date named at the head of this paragraph.


     The first issue of the McArthur Republican was put out by the Bort Brothers on the 10th of December, 1852.  It advocated the principles of the whig party and had for its watchward the old motto of the Vinton County Republican: " 'Tis a base abandonment of reason to resign the right of thought." On December 9, 1853, L. S. Bort withdrew and L. W. Bort became editor and proprietor.  On March 3d of 1854 the Republican discontinued because, as stated by its proprietor, it was losing $600 per annum by continuing in the field.  Mr. Bort said in his valedictory that he had "424 subscribers, 30 of whom were real - the remainder only professional."


     George Fultz and A. G. Hard revived the old Republican, June 2, 1854, under the name of the McArthur Herald, they having rented the office for one year, and suspended May 17, 1855, to refit and refurnish the office for the publican of the Mineral Region Herald.  This paper made its appearance July 14, 1855, A. G. Hard, printer; W. L. Edmiston and T. Wells Stanley, editors.   May 26, 1856, Mr. Stanley retired, leaving Mr. Edmiston in full charge of the paper.  It suspended publication during the summer of 1857.


     August 4, 1856, John W. McBeth revived the Mineral Region Herald and changed its name to the McArthur Journal, having for its motto,
          Pledged but to truth, to liberty and law,
          No favor sways us and no fear shall drive."
     From August 7 to November 21, 1862, the paper was discontinued while Mr. McBeth was in the army, publican being resumed ont he last mentioned date.  He continued the paper until the time of his death, which occurred in the beginning of 1863.
     J. G. Gibson revived the Journal, April 23, 1863, under the name of the McArthur Register, with the motto, "One flag, one country, one destiny."  September 1, 1865, Mr. Gibson severed his connection with the paper, and H. S. Sutherland appeared as publisher, with Capt. H. C. Jones, editor, and Capt. J. J. McDowell, assistant, the intention being to suspend publication at the close of the fall political campaign, and accordingly Oct. 26, 1865, the paper suspended.
     For a number of years the newspaper patronage of the democrats was divided between the Enquirer and the Journal.  The first copy of the latter publication was issued on the 14th of August, 1879, with Brown, Bray & Co. as publishers and M. M. Cherry and E. B. Drake in the editorial department.  The Journal advocated the principles of the republican party.  On December 14, 1879, M. M. Cherry became its sole editor by the withdrawal of Mr. Drake.  January 8, 1880, the firm name of A. W. Brown & Co. appears as the publishers, and April 14, 1880, J. Ira Bell became editor.  April 22, 1880, the paper was purchased by Hugh J. Savage & Co., who published the paper with W. M. Entler as editor.  June 30, 1881, the name was changed to the Vinton County Democrat.


     The Democrat-Enquirer was formed by the union of the McArthur Enquirer, J. W. Bowen proprietor, and the Vinton County Democrat, W. M. Entler editor.  For more than twenty years it has been under the management of F. P. Magee, its present owner and editor, with the exception of a short period, when John W. Fawcett was in charge.


     In 1894 the new Vinton County Republican was established by V. R. Sprague, its present publisher.  In 1908 another republican paper, the Tribune, entered the local field, but in 1912 the two papers were consolidated under the name of the Republican-Tribune.


     McArthur has four active churches - the Methodist, Christian, Presbyterian and Episcopal.  The founding of the first-named, in 1814, with Rev. Joel Havens as its first regular pastor, has already been noted.  The first log church was used by the Methodists and all other denominations for more than twenty years previous to 1843, when the society erected a brick edifice, then considered quite substantial, if not imposing, for $1,800; size, 42 by 50 feet.  The Methodist Church has pursued the even tenor of its way as a strong power for good in the community.  The handsome edifice now occupied was erected in ___.  Rev. J. W. Orr is in charge of a church which has a membership of 280.


     The Presbyterian of McArthur first listened to preachers of their own church in 1838; they generally came from the university at Athens, and the meetings were usually held either in the old schoolhouse or the Methodist Church.  About 1849 Rev. Chauncey P. Taylor was engaged as a regular pastor and very soon afterward a house of worship was erected on the corner of High Street and Boundary Avenue.  But the society languished and in 1878 there was a cessation of church activities which continued with only spasmodic revivals until the commencement of Charles B. Taylor's pastorate in 1895.  He has resided at McArthur since that time.  The church edifice now occupied by the society was erected in 1890 and the present membership is seventy.
     In connection with the resuscitation of the church, which had become well nigh extinct, the people remember gratefully the services of Rev. J. P. A. Dickey, who, assisted by Doctor Taylor, reorganized the church in 1889.


     The Christians commenced to hold services during the very early times at McArthur, but were not strong enough to erect a meeting house until 1861.  In the following year a church building was completed, Benjamin Franklin, then editor of the American Christian Review, conducting the dedicatory services.  Various improvements have been made in the house of worship to keep pace with a progressive society.  Rev. Elmer B. Munson is now pastor over the church, which has a membership of 200.


     The Trinity Episcopal Church, never large but always faithful, has a present membership of forty and is under the pastorate of Rev. D. W. Cox, who has been in charge for more than ten years.  Its first services were held in 1863, the courthouse accommodating the worshipers for some time.  The church became a regular mission in 1868, and thereafter until 1883 meetings were held in a room in the second story of a frame building which became known as Episcopal Hall.  In June, 1883, a little brick church was completed.  Among the pastors who served Trinity previous to Mr. Cox were Henry L. Badger, J. Mills Kendrick (now bishop of New Mexico), John Moncur, J. F. Ohl and F. P. Lutz.


     For a place of its size McArthur is well provided with secret societies.  There are three Masonic bodies - Delta Lodge No. 207, F. and A. M., McArthur Chapter No. 102, R. A. M., and Sereno Chapter No. 128, O. E. S.  The dispensation for Delta Lodge is dated July 21, 1851, and is signed and sealed by William B. Hubbard, grand master, who appoints L. S. Bort, master; B. P. Hewitt, S. W., and Joseph Magee, J. W.
     The first meeting was held July 30, 1851, brethren being present as follows:  L. S. Bort, W. M.; B. P. Hewitt, S. W.; Joseph Magee, J. W.; Jacob G. Will, treasurer; W. M. Bolles, secretary; E. D. Harper, S. D.; E. B. Clark, J. D., and L. G. Brown, tyler; visiting brethren, L. Hutchins, of Mingo Lodge No. 171, and J. W. Caldwell, of Hebbardsville Lodge No. 156.  The petitions received were those of Silas D. Parker, Wm. H. Baird and Rev. S. Maddux.
The grand lodge granted a charter dated Cleveland, Nov. 4, 1851.  The names on this instrument are: L. S. Bort, B. P. Hewitt, Joseph Magee, J. G. Will, William M. Bolles, E. B. Clark, William Carson and L. G. Brown.  The first election of officers was held November 8, 1851, resulting in the election of L. S. Bort, W. M.; Joseph Magee, S. W.; J. W. Caldwell, J. W.; J. G. Will, treasurer; William M. Bolles, secretary; E. D. Harper, S. D.; L. W. Bort, J. D., and L. G. Brown, tyler.  W. J. Ward is the present worshipful master and J. T. Foreman, secretary.
     McArthur Chapter was organized January 7, 1867, under dispensation, a charter being granted October 12th of that year.  Under the provisions of the latter an election was held in December by which Alexander Pearce became first high priest and S. C. Case, secretary.  These offices are now held by A. W. Paffenbarger and Otto E. Vollenweider.
     The Eastern Star Chapter, like the other two bodies, meets in Masonic Hall.  Edna May Ward is its worthy matron and Cynthia Hamilton its secretary.
     After having two of their lodge rooms consumed by fire, the Masons constructed a building of their own, Masonic Hall being opened in March, 1883.


     The Odd Fellows have two lodges, divided between the sexes, and since the great fire of 1883 have met over the Vinton County National Bank.  McArthur Lodge No. 364 of that order was instituted July 3, 1861, by Grand Master William F. Slater, and charter granted.  The charter members were: John P. Spahr, Charles Brown, Joseph K. Will, John S. Hawk, Daniel Will and H. P. Ambrose.  The lodge elected the following as the first officers of the organization: J. P. Spahr, N. G.; H. P. Ambrose, V. G.; Daniel Will, secretary; Charles Brown, treasurer.  When the order was first established they held their meetings in what was known as the "Davis Building."
     Of Rebekah Lodge No. 629, I. O. O. F., Mary Cade is its present noble grand and Amanda McNutt, secretary.


     Besides the bodies named the following have active organizations: Elk Lodge No. 364, K. of P. - George W. Specht, chancellor commander, and J. W. Darby, keeper of records and seals; Pathapasca Tribe No. 6, Independent Order of Red Men - Owen Waldron, sacham and keeper of records; McArthur Camp No. 3655, Modern Woodmen of America - F. L. Diles, V. C., and A. D. Carnal, clerk; McArthur Hive No. 291, L. O. T. M. - Minnie Will, lady commander, and Anna Corson, record keeper; Sergeant Reed Post No. 250, G. A. R. - Paris Horton, post commander, and W. H. Carson, adjutant.



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