HISTORY OF FAIRFIELD COUNTY
Two canals (Ohio and Hocking) pass through the central part of Fairfield county. The Ohio canal traverses its surface a distance of nearly thirty miles. It enters the county through Winchester, in the southwest corner of Violet township, through section thirty-two; it then assumes a southeast course, passing the northern border of the village of Carroll, in Greenfield township. It then runs east, across the south- east corner of Liberty township, passing the villages Basil and Balti- more, entering Walnut township, turns north, and passes out of the county through section twenty-two. The Hocking canal opens into the Ohio canal at Carroll. From this point it runs southeast, entering Hocking Valley near Hooker's Station, four miles above Lancaster. Passing Lancaster on its western border, and entering. Berne township, continuing a southeast direction, it passes out of the county south of Sugar Grove, through section ten, Berne township, seventeen and one-half miles from Carroll. It then runs via Logan, Nelsonville, and Chauncey, to Athens, fifty-three miles from Carroll. Slack water navigation in Ohio, in the form of inland lock canals, was first mentioned in the Legislature of 1821, under a proposition, contemplating the connection of Lake Erie with the Ohio River, on the lock and dam principle. This was introduced with that of a proposed school law, and the changing of the mode of public taxation, to be more equitable, the measures all being popular with the public at large, were no sooner promulgated, than they began to receive the popular approval of the people. The Act, previously passed in regard to canals, had not taken effect. A few private individuals had been interested in the matter, with a view of obtaining a charter, for a company to construct a canal. For the want of popular favor they failed in that scheme. In 1821, being introduced, as it was, with the school and taxation project, it at once became a dominant theme. M. C. Williams, of Cincinnati, was that year a member of the Lower House, of the General Assembly, from Hamilton county. After the meeting of the Legislature in December, Mr. Williams began the discussion of the subject of a canal, with vari- ous members, and presented his resolution on the sixth of that month. This provided for the appointment of a committee of five members, whose duty it was to discuss that part of the Governors message relat- ing to the subject---canals. The resolution was approved and passed, the following gentlemen being appointed to act as a committee: Messrs. Williams, Howe, Worthington, Moore and Shelby. Immediately after the passing of this resolution. Caleb Atwater, of Pickaway county, presented a resolution, calling for the appointment of five, to report on schools and school lands. The resolution offered in
regard to taxation was next introduced and adopted, so with the aid of these two the canal question was settled. Mr. Williams was the leading spirit of the committee, encountering many difficulties in the prosecution of their work, although adhering to it with prudence, discretion, and perseverence. January 3, 1822, they presented their report to the house, in elaborate form. This embodied a recommendation for the passage of a law, authorizing an examination into the practicability of connecting Lake Erie with the Ohio River by canal, at the same time introducing a bill, embodying the recommendation of the report. The bill passed the House at its third reading, January 21, 1822, although bitterly opposed for a time. In the Senate it became a law on the 31st of January. The resolution for the appointment of seven school commissioners passed the Senate, and both messages were carried together to the House. Both originated in the House of Representatives December 5, 1821, and both became laws January 31, 1822. Soon after the enactment of the canal law, commissioners were appointed to take charge of special duties; first, the employment of an engineer to examine the location of the country lying between the two points, Lake Erie, on the north, and Ohio River on the south. Mr. James Geddes, of New York. was employed to ferret out the most eligible route, and report the same at an early day. He first examined the route to Columbus, via Cuyahoga Summit, arriving in Columbus in June, 1822. During the summer and fall he traveled a distance of nine hundred miles. Samuel Forrer was one of the interested parties at home, traveling about eight hundred miles. All this preliminary examination was completed in eight months, showing the energy with which this work was received. The commissioners took active interest, spending a large share of their time in the service, taking notes of the different proposed routes, in the years 1823, '24, '25. At last it was decided to locate the starting point at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River at Lake Erie, entering the Ohio at the mouth of the Scioto. The same year a canal was located between Cincinnati and Dayton. While the above work was in progress, a board of canal commis- sioners had been created by law, and a stock company organized. A sufficient amount of money, to carry on the work of excavating on the respective canals, for one year, was borrowed of New York capitalists. David S. Bates, of Rochester, New York, was appointed chief engineer of Ohio canals, with the necessary number of assistants. The following notice is from an old copy of the Lancaster Gazette: "CANAL CELEBRATION---WASHINGTON VOLUNTEERS, ATTEND. "You are hereby ordered to parade in front of 'Reed's Tavern,' at Monticello, on the Fourth of July, 1827, at nine o'clock, for the purpose of saluting the canal boat "Hebron,"which will be the first to run on the Ohio canal. By order of the Captain. " JACOB BOPE, O. S."
HOCKING CANAL---The following response of Senator Carlisle to a toast, "The Hocking Canal." given on the occasion of the anniversary of the Hocking Sentinel, at Logan, April 26th 1877, gives a complete history of the canal: "'In response to the subject assigned us, we beg to be indulged, while we review in abstract, and briefly, the history and reminiscences, of the Hocking Canal. Its history, though brief, and to some probably monotonous and uninteresting, is fraught with facts, important, and will be remembered by the pioneers of the Hockhocking. We call upon you friends, who have lived for two and a half or three score years, in this beautiful valley of milk and honey, to return with us on the wings, of memory and hear again the shouts of joy echo throughout the length and breadth of this valley, as we heard them in the earliest days of our settlement. "The first part of the Hocking Canal was built by the Lancaster Latteral Canal Company from there to Carroll, there forming a junction with the Ohio Canal. The Lancaster Latteral Canal was put under contract in 1832, by Samuel F. McCracken, Jacob Green, Elnathan Schofield, Benjamin Connell and others, with Frederick A. Foster as secretary. This piece of canal, known at that time as the Lancaster side cut, was completed, and the first boats towed into Lancaster on the Fourth of July, 1836, amidst the booming of cannons, beating of drums, and the waving to the breeze of flags and banners, and being witnessed by some ten thousand of Fairfield's yeomanry, who were assembled at the Cold Spring Hill, near Lancaster, where there was a roasted ox and a free dinner served, after which the Greens, Bill Furguson and others indulged in the popular exercise of fisticuff's. "Up to this period our farmers usually got from 25 to 40 cents for their wheat; but many of them became rich from prices received for their surplus products afterwards. Lancaster was then one of the large commercial cities of the country, getting all the grain from most parts of the county, as well as from parts of Perry, Hocking and Pickaway counties. There were nine dry goods stores, all doing a good business. "In March 1838, an act was passed by the Legislature of the State, authorizing the then Commissioners to purchase the side cut from its owners. April 6, 1838, a committee was appointed to confer with the Lancaster company and negotiate terms; and December 22 1838, a contract was matured for the same, at a cost of $61,241.04. "The Hocking Canal was projected and put under contract by the board of public works in 1836, that board having just been made to substitute the canal commissioners of the State. Sixteen and one half miles, being from Lancaster to Bowner's lock, was put under contract in 1837, and to be completed in 1839; and that portion from Bowner's lock to Nelsonville, being sixteen and one-half miles, was put under contract in 1837, to be completed in 1839, but was not completed until 1840. In September of this year, the first boats loaded with coal, came out of the Hocking Valley, and served as a curiosity to most of the upper valley citizens, who had never seen stone coal. In 1841 the canal was completed to Monday Creek, being forty-four miles from Carroll; and from Monday Creek to Athens, completed, and boats running through in 1841.
"The Hocking Canal cost has 31 locks, 8 dams, 34 culverts, and one aqueduct of 80 feet span. "The total cost of construction of this canal, was $947,670.65. "To the opening of this canal, Lancaster, Logan, Nelsonville and Athens, owed their principal prosperity, in affording an opening for the importation of goods and the exportation of grain, pork, lumber, salt, and various minerals of the Hocking Valley. Hemmed in as you were by towering hills, your agricultural wealth undeveloped, your mineral wealth unknown, to the Hocking Canal you owe your intro- duction, to the world without. Through the medium of the canal, a market was brought near. The latent wealth of your hills was then developed, and the beautiful hills of Hockhocking became the hub of the mineral wealth of Ohio. "By the introduction of this old water horse (the canal), the long hidden treasures of mineral wealth of this valley, were brought into notice, and general use; manufactories built up in all the contiguous towns and territories; this affording employment to a large and needy class of mechanics; and the employment of an equal number of labor- ers, in penetrating the bowels of the earth for fuel, the employment of horses, boats, and men, to ship the fuel all along the lines of our canals, enriching many of the citizens of the valley. "Allow me to say in conclusion, that, although the iron horse moves majestically along the valley, bearing the greater share of your trade, yet the old boat-horse still lives, and possesses a large amount of vital- ity, and is therefore not as yet ready to be turned out to die, as some would have him. And if any animated object were capable of waking in the human breast, sentimenis of gratitude and esteem, these the citizens of the Hocking valley owe to the canal." TURNPIKE ROADS.---Fairfield county has eight turnpike roads, all being gravel road beds with the exception of the Maysville and Zanes- ville roads, these two being originally made of broken lime stone, and completed between the years 1837-42. A joint stock road with toll gates was also made at this time. This road was made substantially, and during the forty-three years it has been in use, but little repairing has been required. It enters the county from the west, crossing the south line of the Clear Creek township, and the southeast corner of Amanda township, thence east through Hocking township, forming the Main street of Lancaster. From Lancaster east, it deflects a little to the north, crossing Berne, Pleasant, Richland, and Rushville townships; it then enters Perry county. . The Lancaster and New Salem road is twelve miles long, and con- sidered the best in the county. All the gravel roads were built under the provision of legislative enactment, providing a pro-rata taxation on land, lying within two miles of the road bed, on both sides, the per cent diminishing as the distance of the land from the road increased. The cost of this road to commissioner Fink of Pleasant township was six hundred dollars. The act, however, provided that tax payers might at their option, form joint stock companies, and erect toll-gates. Some did so, while others made their road free. The Cedar Hill pike intersects the Maysville and Zanesville road, half a mile west of Lancaster, passes through Amanda township one
mile south of Royalton, to Cedar Hill; thence to the Pickaway county line; it is smooth, substantial and free of toll-gates. The Baltimore and Kirkersville road, commencing at the north- west corner of Lancaster, continues in a northern direction through Dumontsville to Baltimore, eight miles; thence northeast through Liberty and Walnut townships, into Licking county. A toll-road, at first, by a subsequent act of the Legislature, it was made free. The Amanda road, the shortest in the county, starts from a point on the Maysville and Zanesville pike, nearly a mile east of Amanda, forming its Main street, and continues a distance of six miles, to the Pickaway county line. The Lancaster and Lithopolis pike commences at Main street, in Lancaster, and from Columbus street enters Greenfield township; thence past Hooker Station, on through the villages of Greencastle and Lithopolis, in Bloom township; thence to the Franklin county line. In 1881 this road was finished only to a point west of Lithopolis. The Lancaster and Carrol road connects with the Lithopolis road at the canal bridge, near Hooker's Station, and running parallel with the Hocking Canal, to Carroll, enters Bloom township, passing through Jefferson to Canal Winchester, there terminates. A free road is to be graded from Lancaster to the State Farm, a distance of six miles. Already two miles of that distance has been graded. Seven of the last roads mentioned, were constructed on the same legal and financial plan, in about three years' time, and have contributed largely to the convenience of the public. RAILROADS.---Within the limits of Fairfield county, there are seventy- eight miles of main track railway, and ten miles side track; making a total of eighty-eight miles. The total valuation for taxation for the year 1880, was $824,704. In this summary three roads are comprised. First, the Cincinnati, Wilmington and Zanesville, being the first in the county. It was chartered by the Legislature on February 4th, 1851, soon after the work was put under contract west of Lancaster, and soon completed. The western termination of the road being its con- nection with the Little Miami road, at Morrowtown, in Warren county, and in 1853 cars were running into Lancaster from the west. Its east- ern termination was at Zanesville, in Muskingum county. It had a mileage of twenty-eight and fifty-two one hundreth miles. Appraised at $411,280. In 1856 the road was completed, and regular trains run- ning between Morrowtown and Zanesville, thus opening communica- tion between Cincinnati and all eastern seaboards, by connecting at Zanesville with the original Central Ohio Railroad. To the capital stock of this road, the citizens of the county con- tributed liberally. The commissioners of the county, as provided for in the act of incorporation, subscribed $250,000, for the payment of which, bonds were issued bearing seven per cent. The company, negotiating them in the markets at favorable rates, similar rates were subjected to the market, and sold by all the counties through which the road passed. In this way sufficient funds were raised to complete the road, including bridges, tunnels, ties, and the principal part of the
iron. The road remained, however, to be completed, by the required stock having acquired a substantial value of first, second and third mortgages; bonds were issued and sold, and with the help of an income, loans were secured with these for security. After three or four years of experience, the road found it had too heavy a debt to contend with. The interest on the bonds, and the running expenses of the road, exceeded the earnings. The stock be- gan to decline in the market. An effort was made by the capitalists to save the road, by contracting the price of the shares from fifty to fif- teen dollars, but the first mortgage bonds became due, a fore-closure took place, the road was sold, and the name changed to that of the Cincinnati and Muskingum Valley; having since changed hands, it is now the Muskingum division of the Pittsburg, Cincinnat and St. Louis Railroad. The county bonds and interests, together with the entire amount of the individual stock, was a total loss. The stockholders' loss was equal to that of the county. The first mortgage bonds were probably liqui- dated by the sale of the road. The second, third, and income bonds were valueless. The route of the road through the county is as follows: Entering from the west, through section nineteen, of Clear Creek township; passes through this township in a northeast direction, crossing the north- west corner. It passes near Amanda, in Amanda township, entering Hocking township, still pursuing a northeast direction to Lancaster; from there east, through the northern part of Berne township, entering next, Rush Creek township; after passing Bremen, its course is north- east, through section twelve, of Rush Creek township, here entering the adjoining county. THE HOCKING VALLEY RAILROAD has a mileage in Fairfield county of twenty-three and fifty-three one hundredth miles, main track, and five miles side track, making an aggregate of twenty-nine miles. It was placed on the county duplicate for taxation, in the year 1880, at a value of $205,364. This road was first chartered in 1864, under the title of "Mineral Point Railroad Company," and was to extend from Columbus to Athens, a distance of seventy-four miles. In June, 1867, the name of the road was changed by the court of common pleas, of Franklin county, to that of the Columbus and Hocking Valley R. R., its present title. The charter provided, that as soon as the company should reach the point of a specified stock, and expended this amount in making the road-bed, it should be authorized to issue one and one-half million dol- lars worth of bonds, secured by mortgage on the road, these to be sold in the market, and the proceeds to be applied to the further completion of the road. The required amount of stock was soon taken, and the bed of the road constructed without delay; whereupon the bonds were issued and sold on favorable terms to the company. Within one year from the commencement of this road, cars were running between Col- umbus and Lancaster. In 1868, four years after the granting of the charter, the road was completed, and daily trains run from Columbus to Athens. For the construction of the Hocking Valley road, the authorities of
Lancaster issued to the company of the road, twenty thousand dollars of seven per cent. bonds, to enable the purchase of the right of way through the city. This, an act on the part of the city council, unauth- orized by law, caused much dissatisfaction, at first, among the tax- payers. Many declared their determination to resist the payment of the levy, but, at length, acquiescence was accorded, and the bonds and interest paid. This road has proved to be one of the wealthiest in the State, chiefly on account of the extensive transportation of coal out of the lower valley. The stock of the road has always been above par, paying an annual dividend of eight per cent., at times exceeding that, as well as carrying a large surplus fund. Their bonds, a million and a half in number, are at a premium in the market. The transportation of coal, in prosperous times, has been twenty trains, each containing thirty loaded cars, these passing Lancaster every twenty-four hours. The Muskingum and Hocking Valley have a joint depot at the south terminus of Broadway. The tracks cross the canal within twenty feet of each other, one hundred and fifty yards west of the depot. The Hocking Valley enters the county from the northwest, at Win- chester, through section twenty-nine, of Violet township, and bearing a little south of east to section thirty-six, takes a southeast course across the northeast corner of Bloom township, entering Greenfield township a short distance above the village of Carroll; thence in the same direction to Lancaster, where it takes a southern course, following the Hocking Valley, passing into Hocking county through section ten, of Berne township, one mile south of Sugar Grove. The Hocking Valley has five stations in Fairfield county,viz.: Lock- ville, Carroll, Hooker's, Lancaster and Sugar Grove. The five sta- tions on the Muskingum Valley are, Stoutsville, Amanda, Lancaster, Berne and Bremen. Both roads have six passenger trains daily, three each way. THE CENTRAL OHIO RAILROAD was originally projected from Toledo, on the Maumee, to Pomeroy on the Ohio, being designed for a mineral road to run into the coal fields of southern Ohio. It was first chartered as the "Atlantic and Lake Erie." For nine years it strug- gled through difficulties, when funds were plenty, the work was con- tinued with energy, until the ground work of the northern division was well advanced. During this time Gen. Thomas Ewing, of Lancaster, was president of the company. At last the road became so involved in debt that it had to be sold, but not until the company had endeavored to involve the stockholders, by bringing suit against them for more than the amount subscribed by them. Suit was entered in the court of common pleas, of Fairfield county, to inforce the payment of this, but the stockholders resisted, and, pending the suit, an accommodation sale of the road was effected, and the suit was withdrawn. When the road passed into new hands, the name was changed to Central Ohio, and at once completed from Columbus to Corning, in
the southern part of Perry county, a distance of sixty-five miles. In the early part of the summer of 1880, trains were run through. That part running into Columbus is a branch, leaving the main track at Bush's Station, in Walnut township. The southern terminus of the road, at present, is at Corning, with a branch extending to Shawnee, seven miles to the west. On the northern end of the main line, cars run through to Fostoria, (Hancock county,) in 1880, or beginning of the year 1881. The Central Ohio enters Fairfield county from the north, through section twenty-two, of Walnut township, and receives the Columbus branch at Bush's Station; here the route turns southeast, to Pleasantville, in the northern part of Pleasant township, from here into Richland township, where its course changes to due south, to Rushville, passing between the two villages into Rush Creek township. At Bremen it runs on the track of the Cincinnati and Muskingum Valley road to New Lexington. The Columbus branch has six stations in Fairfield county, viz.: Pickering, Basil, Bush's, Pleasantville.Rush- ville and Bremen. The mileage of this road, in the county, is twenty- nine and six one hundredths; the appraisement being $208,030, taxation.