General Assembly of 1850-51, enacted a law chartering the Cincinnati,
Wilmington and Zanesville Railroad Co., which proposed to construct a
road from Morrow, in Warren county, on the Little Miami Railroad,
through the counties of Clinton, Fayette, Pickaway, Fairfield, Perry
and Muskingum to Zanesville. The counties through which the road
was to be made, were authorized to take a certain amount of stock in
the enterprise, provided a majority of the people favored the measure
and would so vote at a specified general election. All of them except
Perry did, in fact, vote and subscribe stock; and it would doubtless
have done likewise, had there been anything like agreement as to the
route through the county. There was great diversity of opinion, and a
majority of the people voted in opposition to the measure of subscribing
stock as a county. A large minority voted in favor of stock, leaving
the directors to select the route afterward; but a majority could not be
obtained under these circumstances. The friends of the two principal
routes, which were the New Lexington or Rush Creek Valley, and the
Somerset route, each raised about one hundred thousand dollars, conditioned 
that the road be made on a specified line. The Board of Directors 
had various meetings to consider the matter, but they appeared
to hesitate, or were reluctant to decide; and it was not until September,
1852, that they, at a regular meeting at Zanesville, Ohio, formally decided 
to locate on the New Lexington or Rush Creek Valley route.
Thus was at last settled a question upon which no little time, labor and
money had been expended by a large number of persons in Perry
     Work was commenced on the road in the spring of 1853, and was
prosecuted throughout that season with considerable vigor and energy,
after the manner of railroad building in those days; but it was not until 
the summer of 1854, that the cars first reached New Lexington from
the west. There was for several months a transfer of passengers and
mail at this place, from car to stages, which run temporarily between
here and Zanesville. But it was not long until the tunnel, three miles
east of New Lexington, was done and the east end of the road completed, 
since which time the cars have run regularly between Zanesville
and Morrow, the entire length of the line.
     The road passed out of the hands of the original stockholders long
ago, and has been under various management; but it was never so well
equipped, as well managed, nor did so much business as since it became
a part of the Pan Handle system.


The completion and opening of a railroad was quite an event in
those days, and thousands of persons, men, women and children, gathered 
to see the first train come in. Excursions for several years along
the line were very frequent; the people of the flat counties along the
western part of the line, would come up into the rolling hills of Perry,
and the people of Perry and eastern Muskingum would go down to the
plains of Pickaway and Fayette. The novelty of this in time passed
away, and the people learned to look upon the railroad and all its advantages, 
as one of the common, every-day things of life.


Hocking Valley was chartered by an enactment which became a law
in the winter of 1849, Newark and Portsmouth being given as the terminal 
points, and certain counties named, through which the road was
to pass. Perry county was not named, or included in this original
charter; but at the legislative session of 1850-51, the law was so amended 
as to authorize the location of the road through Perry, Hocking and
certain other counties named, provided the directors of the company
thought it best to do so.
	In December, 1852, a certificate was filed with the Auditor of State,
increasing the capital stock of the company already organized, one million 
dollars, making the capital three millions. The final location of
the road was determined by a meeting of the directors held at Portsmouth 
in the winter or spring of 1853, and the route through Perry, instead 
of Fairfield or Pickaway, was adopted. The Fairfield county interests 
were very strongly pressed; but the Perry county men, backed


by the great coal deposits, carried the day and went home triumphant.
Eli A. Spencer, then a citizen of Somerset, being present at Portsmouth,
telegraphed the news of the location to Somerset in this characteristic
and pithy manner:
“T.B.Cox, Jr.:
     “Scioto and Hocking Valley Railroad located on the Perry county
route.    God and Liberty.                                                    E. A. SPENCER.”
     The people of Somerset and vicinity were much elated at securing
the location of the Scioto and Hocking Valley. There was an impromptu 
but great celebration in honor of the event, which lasted nearly
all night. Immense bonfires were made, tar barrels burned, speeches
delivered, songs sung, and every demonstration of joy was made.
The result was scarcely expected, and when assured was almost overwhelming.
     The people of the northern and western parts of the county went to
work, without delay, to obtain stock subscriptions: and there was subscribed 
along the line in Perry county, the sum of about one hundred
and eighty-five thousand dollars; of this sum about one hundred and
seventy-two thousand was expended upon the road before the work
ceased. That part of the line between Portsmouth and Jackson C. H.,
was completed in 1852, or early in 1853, and the part of the line between 
Jackson C. H. and Newark, the northern terminus of the road,
a distance of ninety miles, and which had been surveyed and located
by J. W. Webb, chief engineer, was now let to Seymour, Moore &
Company. This firm consisted of Thomas Seymour, late Chief Engineer 
of the State of New York, a practical railroader, engineer and
builder; James Moore of Pennsylvania, who was also an experienced
railroad man, and George A. French of Dunkirk, New York. This
firm sublet the entire line. Ward and Taylor of New York State, took
the tunnel contract near Middletown, and began work upon the same
about the first of April. 1853; Fink and Dittoe of Somerset, took three
miles of the line to build, including the deep cut at Somerset. This
firm consisted of Adam Fink and Henry Dittoe. They broke ground on
their contract in February, 1853, and worked a large force of men and
horses for six or eight months, when they were compelled to cease by
reason of financial embarrassments. Fink and Dittoe sublet their northern 
section to John Sheridan, father of Gen. P. H. Sheridan. This
section was finished by Mr. Sheridan. The next eight miles north were
taken by W. S. French & Co. This firm consisted of Walter S.
French of Dunkirk, New York, and T. Spencer Stillman of Wethersfield, 
Conn. They commenced work in April. 1853, and employed on
an average about one hundred and sixty men and horses, and completed
and turned over their part of the line in May. 1854. A. H. Mills of the
State of New York, and Samuel Aiken of Pennsylvania, had about
three sections of this light work in the county, which they completed.
James McArdle, late of New Lexington, had a section or two in the
neighborhood of Thornville. The names of a few other sub-contractors 
are not remembered.
	In the fall of 1853, and before the work on the cut at Somerset and
the tunnel at Middletown was anything like completed, Seymour,
Moore & Co. became greatly embarrassed. They were unable to


sell their bonds, and failed to pay their sub-contractors on their estimates 
of work. Some of the sub-contractors suspended work in 1853,
others having more faith worked on until 1854; but one by one they
succumbed, until W. S. French & Co., who had taken a new contract 
in Vinton county, were the only ones at work along the line, and
they were dependent upon local subscriptions, where they were at
     Seymour, Moore & Co. did everything in their power to retrieve
their fortunes and pay their sub-contractors; they negotiated a purchase
of iron sufficient to lay the track of twelve miles between Jackson C. H.
and Hamden, the latter being on the Cincinnati and Marietta railroad.
It was confidently hoped, that by building this extension of twelve
miles, and forming a junction with the Cincinnati and Marietta railroad, 
that new credit would be secured, and that the bonds of the company 
would sell at a fair price; but these hopes were not realized.
     With the failure of Seymour, Moore & Co., the Scioto and
Hocking Valley Company broke down and were unable to pay the interest 
on bonds outstanding, and other liabilities. In 1857 the mortgagees 
filed a petition in the Court of Common Pleas of Perry county,
praying for a foreclosure, which was finally accomplished in 1864., J.
W. Webb being special Master Commissioner in the sale of the road,
and the trustees of Arcade Bank at Providence, Rhode Island, became
the purchasers at the sum of four hundred and eleven thousand dollars.
The purchasers at this judicial sale, subsequently sold all of the line
between Portsmouth and the track of the Cincinnati and Zanesville
road in Perry county, to the Cincinnati and Marietta Railroad Company.
It is believed that the Arcade Bank would have sold the whole line to
the Cincinnati and Marietta Company, had it not been for the special
efforts and influence of J. W. Webb, who hoped to secure some future
benefit to the original stock subscribers on the northern end of the line.
That part of the line reserved by the trustees of the Arcade Bank, was
held by them until December, 1869, when it was sold to the Newark,
Somerset and Straitsville Railroad Company. It must not be supposed
that the Scioto and Hocking Valley Railroad Company did not, between 
the years 1854 and 1861, make strenuous efforts to revive their
credit and push on the road to completion. They made many efforts,
both in this country and Europe, and were on the very point of succeeding 
through London, England, capitalists, when the country became involved 
in the great civil war, which suddenly closed all negotiations.
An agent of London capitalists had been sent over here to investigate
the road property and general conditions, and he made a highly favorable 
report; but it all went for nought when Fort Sumter was fired
upon, large contending armies raised, and Great Britain acknowledged
the Confederate States as a belligerent power.

was incorporated in 1869, and having purchased so much of the
road-bed of the old Scioto and Hocking Valley as lay between Newark
and the line of the Cincinnati and Muskingum Valley Railroad, proceeded 
to business in a short time for the construction of the new road.
Work was begun in a small way, upon the northern end of the line in


1870, but it was not until the spring of 1871 that work was commenced
on the deep cut in Somerset, the most difficult part along the route.
Meanwhile the road had been leased to the Baltimore and Ohio for a
period of twenty years, and the task of its completion was henceforth
pushed with all the energy that capital and skill could command.
Work upon the deep cut at Somerset and the tunnel near Bristol went
on uninterruptedly during the fall of 1871, and the winter of 1871-72,
and in the latter year the whole line was completed to the town of
Shawnee, the southern terminus of the road.
     In making the new road, the old road-bed of the Scioto and Hocking 
Valley was used from Newark to a point a mile or two north of the
Cincinnati and Muskingum Valley Railroad, whence the new road
turned abruptly to the east, running almost parallel with the Cincinnati
and Muskingum Valley track, crossing the same at Wolf Station, (now
the town of Junction City,) then running up a water-course to the tunnel, 
near Bristol, and through it over on to the head-waters of Monday
Creek, and up Shawnee Run to Shawnee, where the road terminates.
     The building of this road was instrumental, either wholly or in
great part in the making of the new towns of Glenford, Junction City,
Dicksonton, McCuneville and Shawnee. The road has had a large
coal carrying trade ever since its construction, and its passenger business 
has not been inconsiderable.
     The sequel proved that J. W. Webb, Esq., was right in his 
prognostications. Though the stock subscriptions paid to the old Scioto and
Hocking Valley company were irrevocably lost, the road-bed resulted
in serving as a basis for the Newark, Somerset and Straitsville, and
brought a railroad to the people of Thorn, Hopewell and Reading
townships, which they might not otherwise have secured, and certainly
not on such favorable terms.

about twelve miles in length, reaching from Old Straitsville and
New Straitsville in Perry county to Logan in Hocking county, where it
intersects the main line of the Hocking Valley. This branch road was
the result of large investments in mineral lands, by several companies,
in the neighborhood of Old Straitsville---New Straitsville not being in
existense at that time. The Railroad Company was incorporated in
1869, and the road constructed and cars running in 1870. It is one of
the most important twelve miles of coal road in the whole country.
The output of coal from New Straitsville has been the largest from any
one point tributary to the Hocking Valley Railroad, and the passenger
and other freight traffic of the road has been very considerable. One
effect of this road has been to build up the new and large town of New
Straitsville, and to more than quadruple the population of Old Straitsville.

     ATLANTIC AND LAKE ERIE.---When capitalists began to invest their
money in the coal regions of Straitsville and Shawnee, a number of 
enterprising and public spirited citizens of New Lexington, who knew
something of the geology of the coal measures, and also enlightened by
several openings in the “great vein” on the waters of Sunday Creek,


came to the conclusion that the great seam reached its greatest 
maximum in the Sunday Creek Valley, and lay in a solid block under the
valleys as well as the hills, and must, therefore, be equal to, if not
superior, to any other coal section of the country. These wonderful
coal deposits could be of no great use or value without a railroad to
reach them, and how to accomplish this indispensable object was the
next question. Both a northern and southern outlet was highly desirable, 
it not absolutely essential. Hence a railroad map of the State was
examined, and it was discovered that there was a section of country
from Toledo to Pomeroy, not already supplied with railroads, to any
great extent, through which a through line might be built, taking in
New Lexington and the great Sunday Creek Valley coal region on its
way. Hence the origin of the Atlantic and Lake Erie Company.
     The company was duly organized and incorporated in 1869, and the
towns and country all along the line of the proposed road thoroughly
stirred up upon the subject. Stock books were opened everywhere,
and two or three corps of surveyors set to work to explore and locate
the line. Stock was subscribed liberally, almost all along the line.
The installments necessary to complete the surveys and for other preliminary 
purposes, were collected and disbursed, and everything appeared 
to go on swimmingly.
     The first line surveyed from New Lexington north, was through the
townships of Clayton and Madison, of Perry county, and by way of
Brownsville, Licking county, to Newark; but there were some heavy
grades on this route, stock subscriptions did not come in very satisfactorily, 
and the city of Newark, especially appeared very lukewarm as
to the success of the great enterprise. Consequently, the surveyors
were put upon the line by the way of Bremen, Rushville, Pleasantville,
Millersport and Hebron, which left Newark off the line of the road. It
has been stated, and probably with a good foundation, that this demonstration 
was at first intended as a feint; but the people of the eastern
part of Fairfield county received the explorers and surveyors so cordially, 
and went to work so promptly and raised such liberal amounts of
stock that, together with a favorable report of the surveyors as to this
route, converted the feint into a reality, and secured the great thoroughfare 
on this line. Had the road been located and made on the first
route surveyed, it would have accommodated a greater portion of the
people of Perry county, and the change of line, which circumstances
seemed to render imperative, was regretted at the time by the projectors
of the road and nearly all of its friends in this county; but the directory
builded wiser than they knew, for the new line made a good outlet for
coal to Columbus, which the first proposed line did not, and it was the
easy and desirable Columbus outlet that first resurrected the road after
its unfortunate collapse in 1877-78. Had the road-bed of the Atlantic
and Lake Erie been made on the first surveyed route from New Lexington 
north, it is possible that the subsequent history and condition of
the road might have been very different from what it now is.
     The line was more costly through Perry county than any where else,
and the private subscriptions were altogether inadequate to the expense
that must necessarily be incurred. To meet this difficulty a number of
Coal or Mining companies, so called, had been organized and their


stock placed upon the market. Among them were “The Great Vein
Company,” “The Sunday Creek Valley Company, “The Hurd Company,” 
and various other ones. These companies subscribed heavily
to the stock of the Railroad Company, and as fast as stock was sold, a
large proportion of the money thus obtained was paid to the Railroad
Company, and expended upon the tunnels that had to be made in order
to reach the great vein region.
     Ground was “broke” upon the Atlantic and Lake Erie line at New
Lexington, June 22d, 1870. The day was one of great pomp and magnificence. 
A large meeting was held in Kelley's Grove, at a point now
within the corporate limits. Speeches were made by Charles Follett, of
Newark, Ohio; D. B. Swigart, of Bucyrus; Darius Talmadge, of
Lancaster, and by various other gentlemen. Thomas Ewing, Sr., who
had ‘intended to be present and speak, but was unable to attend, sent a
carefully written address; which was read at the meeting. The meeting 
was extraordinarily large, and its proceedings were telegraphed to
leading newspapers in all parts of the country. The ceremony of
“breaking, ground” took place precisely where the track is now laid, a
few rods north of Water street. A few weeks later, work was commenced 
upon the tunnel, one and a half miles southeast of New Lexington; 
and a little later upon the one at Carter's Summit, near Oakfield; 
but money was not very abundant, and the work proceeded
     Work progressed all along the line from Perry county to Toledo,
during the years of , 1871-72 and 1873, and when the great financial
panic struck the country, the road-bed was nearly completed from the
tunnel near New Lexington to the northern terminus of the road. Had
not the financial revulsion come just when it did, the bonds of the
road could doubtless have been sold at a fair price, and it could have
been finished and equipped by its original owners. As it was, strong
efforts were made, and iron bought and laid on a portion of the road,
but all of no avail. The name of the road had meanwhile been
changed to The Ohio Central, but neither this nor the new management
to which the stockholders entrusted its fortunes, made any perceptible
change for the better. The company had one old wheezy engine and
one car, which plied between New Lexington and Moxahala, to which
latter place the road had been finished in 1874---irregularly in the years
1875-76 and 77, but at last gave it up altogether, and the old engine
was thrown off the track near the tunnel, where it lay for a long time, a
monument of the former impecuniosity and bad fortunes of the now
famous and rich thoroughfare, which will soon reach from the Ohio
river to the Lakes, pasting nearly through the center of this great State.
     The track had been laid by the old Ohio Central Company, from
the crossing of the Baltimore and Ohio, west of Newark, to Moxahala,
but only that part between the latter place and New Lexington, had
been put to use, and that, with very insufficient equipments, as stated
     The company could not go on with the work, could not dispose of
its bonds, could not meet its outstanding liabilities, and, in March,
1878, the entire property, franchises and privileges of the road, from
Toledo to Pomeroy, were sold at Judicial sale, and thus passed out of


the hands of the original stockholders forever, property upon which
over two millions of dollars had been expended. Parties from the
East became the purchasers, who sold so much of the road as lies between 
Granville, Licking county, and Chauncey, in Athens county, to
a syndicate, who organized a company for the construction of a road
from Columbus to the Sunday Creek Valley, intersecting the Ohio
Central Line, at Bush's Station, Fairfield county.

     COLUMBUS AND SUNDAY CREEK VALLEY.---This company, in the
course of a few months, put the line under contract, and, in the latter
part of 1878, or January ‘79, the contractors got to work. The principal 
job was the tunnel, at Carter's Summit, near Oakfield. This tunnel 
is almost sixteen hundred feet long. Early in 1880, the tunnel and
whole line was finished, and the cars running from Columbus to Corning. 
The company or syndicate, about this time decided to complete
the entire line from Bush's station north to Toledo, and changed the
name of the road and cars to The Ohio Central.

     OHIO CENTRAL.---It is understood that the organization of this new
company included new men, and heavy capitalists of the East, in addition 
to those who had been interested in the Columbus and Sunday
Creek Valley. Work was pushed vigorously along the northern end
of the line, and early in 1881 the cars were running between Corning
and Toledo, as well as between Corning and Columbus, intersecting at
Bush's Station, now Hadley Junction, in Fairfield county.
	In the fall of 1880, an extension of the Ohio Central, from Corning,
in Perry, to near Oxford, in Athens county, was begun, and also a
switch, diverging from the main line, six or eight miles in length, up
the west branch of Sunday Creek, to Buckingham and Hemlock, which
extension and switch are both finished, and the cars are running over
     The company has also commenced work upon the southern end of the
road, between Oxford, in Athens county, and Pomeroy, in Meigs county,
on the Ohio River, and this extension will be finished during the year
1882, and the cars running regularly between Toledo and Pomeroy.
     The Ohio Central Railroad and its predecessors, have made the
towns of Corning, Moxahala, Rendville, Hemlock and Buckingham,
and developed an immense coal trade, in the “Great Vein” Region.
The road now ships about three hundred cars daily, and it expects to
ship six hundred or more per day, when more shafts are sunk, and
more mines opened, and a greater number of coal cars, and the requisite 
additional rolling stock added. The passenger traffic is good now,
and will be greatly augmented, when the road is completed through to
the Ohio River, and connection made with the southern system of roads,
to the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, which will surely be done.
     The Atlantic and Lake Erie, the forerunner of the Ohio Central, was
organized and set on foot by men residing at New Lexington, Perry
county, Ohio. They, of course, sought the counsel and aid of men all
along the line of the proposed road, and in the organization and management 
of the several mining companies, without the aid of which the
road could have made no progress, they solicited and secured the


cooperation of men residing in various parts of the country. Whatever
may be the future success and gigantic operations of this great railroad,
it is but simple justice to state in this volume, and let the fact pass down
to future generations, that the road had its origin in the minds of New
Lexington men, and was pushed by them with unusual energy,
in the direction of final and. complete success, until crushed by the
great financial revulsion of 1873, which ruined so many enterprises,
and crushed so many people.
     The Ohio Central now proposes an extension of a branch line from
Rendville or Corning, through Bearfield township, to McConnellsville,
Morgan county. There is also a projected line of railroad from Bremen, 
Fairfield county, by the way of Maxville, Perry County, to
Chauncey, Athens county, to be called the Monday Creek Valley.
     The Cleveland, Connotton Valley and Straitsville Railway Company,
also proposes a line from McLuney, or Crooksville, Perry county,
on the Cincinnati and Muskingum Valley, by way of Moxahala,
crossing the Ohio Central here, to Straitsville, or elsewhere in the
“Great Vein’’ region. A road is also talked of to come by way of
Uniontown, Muskingum county, and Saltillo Rehoboth and New
Lexington, in Perry County, to intersect the “Great Vein” Coal region,
at some point between the Ohio Central and the Newark, Somerset and
Shawnee roads.
     It is also thought that a road will be made from Thornport or Glenford 
in Perry county, by way of Mount Perry and Uniontown, to intersect 
the Cincinnati, and Muskingum Valley, at or near Roseville. There
is also the proposed Bellaire, Shawnee and Cincinnati Railway, which
is designed to pass through the “Great Vein” coal section of Perry
county. New Straitsville, Shawnee and Corning, are all sure to be in
some way united by rail, and other roads, now unthought and undreamed
of, will doubtless make their appearance sometime in the swiftly coming
years. The very desirable and highly valuable coal deposits in Clayton
township, are sure to eventually bring a new road, and the limestone of
Hopewell, Madison, Reading and Clayton, will be in good demand in
the not distant future. Short lines and switches too numerous to be
conjectured, must inevitably be made, as they are gradually demanded,
to reach after the iron ores and coal, situated more or less remote from
the main lines. This state of things will ultimately make the county,
and especially the principal mineral sections thereof, a network of railroads, 
the like of which exists in but few parts of the world.
     Since the foregoing was written, the Columbus and Eastern Railway 
Company, has surveyed a line and placed fifty miles under contract. 
The surveyed line is by the way of Millersport, Thornport,
Glenford, Chalfant, Mount Perry, Uniontown and Saltillo, to Selby’s
Pass, a short distance east of New Lexington. Further than that the
road has not yet been located.
     It is also announced on what appears to be good authority, that the
Hurd Iron and Coal Company have decided to build, in the next
eight months, a railroad from McLuney to Buckingham, passing through
the possessions of the Hurd Company.