A. E. Hough J. W. Klise.

The county of Highland: a history of Highland County, Ohio, from the ... online

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Within Highland's area of four hundred and seventy square miles
are thirty-two towns, villages, and hamlets. These in the order of
time, with dates of their original plats and names of the owners of
the lands, are as follows: New Market^ 1707, Henry Massie and
Joseph Kerr; Greenfield, 1799, Duncan McArthur; Hillsboro, 1807,
Benjamin Ellicott; Leesburg, 1814, James Johnson; East Monroe,
1815, David Reece; Sinking Springs, 1815, Jacob Hiestand; New
Lexington (Highland postoffice), 1816, John Conner; New Peters-
burg, 1817, Peter Maver; West Liberty, 1817, William Simmons,
name changed to Marshall in 1836, and additions made in 1837 by
William Head and John Butters; Leesburg, 1821, S. McClure, A.
Chalfont and C Lupton; New Vienna, 1827, Thomas Jussey;
Mowrytown, 1829, Samuel Bell; Lynchburg, 1830, Andrew Smith
and Coleman Betts; Rainsboro, 1830, George Rains; Centerfield,
1830, John M. Combs; Belfast, 1834, James Storer and Lancelot
Brown; Buford, 1834, Robert Lindsley, whose wife was a Buford,
of Kentucky; Danville, 1835, Daniel P. March; Dodsonville, 1839,
Daniel Shafer and L. L. Cartwright; Allensburg, 1839, Robert
Pugh and C. Henderson; Boston, 1840, Abraham Pennington and
Noah Glasscock; Sugar Tree Ridge, 1844, John Bunn; Pairview,
Jonah Vanpelt; Fairfax, 1845, B. F. PuUium; Samantha, 1845,
David Kinzer; Berryville, 1846, Amos Sargent; Taylorsville, 1846,
Isaiah Roberts, Jr. ; Pricetown, 1847, Elijah and Daniel Faris and
A. Murphy; Sicily, 1848, John N. Huggins; Fallsville, 1848, J. W.
Timberlake; North IJniontown, 1849,Obadiah Countryman; Russell
Station, 1853, A. R, Butler. The surviving towns are situated
in fertile spots in the county and their healthy and happy people
rejoice in their common citizenship of a great and growing country.

Among the blessings enjoyed by the people of Highland county
are good government, low taxes and low valuations, good roads well
kept, excellent schools, and unrivaled church and social influences.
It may well be said of Highland county that within the State of
Ohio there is no more healthful, happy or fertile spot than the little
county of Highland. As a native preacher once remarked while
preaching the funeral sermon of a departed lady, in mournful tones :
**The dear sister whose mortal remains lie before us has taken her

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departure to a better land" — then pausing for a moment — "if there
be any land better than that of Highland county."


Hillsboro, the county seat, is situated upon tlie dividing ridge
between the Miami and Scioto rivers. It was laid out in 1807 on
land belonging to Benjamin Ellicott of Baltimore. The site was
selected by David Hays, the commissioner appointed by the legislar
ture for that purpose. The original town plat was composed of
some two hundred acres, one hundred of which was given to the
county, and the remainder sold by Ellicott at two dollars per acre.
The site of Hillsboro is one of beauty and health. Standing some
seven hundred feet above the Ohio, it is the city set upon a hill ; it
cannot be hidden. Its people are progressive and intellectual and
moral, with every advantage for culture and refinement, A public
library of some seven thousand volumes of choice and standard books
make learning easy to the young, who crowd in great numbers the
spacious library room in the city building, and who are permitted
to carry to their homes such books as interest or fancy prompts them
to read. The major portion of the people of Hillsboro are cultured
in a high degree, the natural result of the early and efficient advan-
tages of it being an educational center. In' the years gone by the
Highland Institute and the Hillsboro Conservatory of Music, Kev.
G. R. Beecher, president, with some nineteen teachers and some two
hundred pupils ; also the Hillsboro college which admitted pupils of
both sexes, afforded educational advantages equal to any spot in the
State, for the attainment of a knowledge of science, music, art and
elocution, as well as the primary culture as taught in the public
schools. While these schools and colleges are not in operation now,
the necessity for them is no longer felt, as the rapid development of
the common schools has added all these special branches to their
system of teaching and can give culture of equal merit with any col-
lege or academy in the State. A complete system of water works
give the city pure cold water from numerous wells sunken near
Clear creek some three miles from the town, and pumped into a great
stand pipe one hundred and thirty-five feet in height and some fif-
teen feet in diameter. The streets are lighted by electricity.

Hillsboro can boast of her men of letters and her authors of no
mean repute. Henry S. Doggett, dead some years ago, wrote a
biography of Prof. Isaac Sams ; Samuel P. Scott^ author of Travels
in Spain, a volume of rare merit, "elegant in illustrations, accurate
and full in its facts." Charles H. Collins, a leading member of the
Highland bar, found leisure from his legal practice to write "Echoes
from Highland Hills" and also "From Highland Hills to an
Emperor's Tomb." Henry A. Shepherd, also an able lawyer, wrote

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a history of Ohio which was only partially printed when he sud-
denly died broken-hearted over the disaster that seemed to follow
his effort to have his work published. The materials collected by
him for his work after years of patient industry and trial, with the
plates and proof sheets, were twice destroyed by fire, leaving him
stranded in his aflfliction, until death relieved him of the burden of
all his care, and gave his tired spirit rest. Hugh McNicols, a
young man of great promise as a writer and author, died early in,
life of consumption. Eev. J. W. Klise has contributed to religious
literature by writing "Christ Kejected" and "Is Christianity a
Superstition ?"

Hillsboro, as a business center, extends her influence far beyond
the boundary of county lines. Her wholesale houses send out
"drummers" in every direction, and the mammoth wholesale grocery'
establishment of the McKeehan-Hiestand company supply hundreds
of customers beyond the county lines, at better prices than could be
obtained in Cincinnati about seventy miles away. Her railroad
facilities are excellent. The Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern and
the Norfolk and Western competing lines make freight rates low,
and passenger traffic swift and easy to all points. The educational
advantages of the county seat are unrivalled. The fraternal orders
of Free Masons, Odd Fellows, Ancient Order of United Workmen,
Modern Woodmen, Knights of Pythias, Elks, Koyal Arcanimi,
Grand Army, Sons of Veterans, Woman's Belief Corps, are each
represented by organizations. Bell's Opera House is a dream of
beauty, handsome without and elegant within, with seating capacity
of one thousand. As we have introduced the name of Bell as the
builder and owner of the Opera House it might be well to notice in
this connection the vast industry of which he is originator and head.
It is a fact that Bell's foundry turns out more bells of every descrip-
tion and kind than any other factory in the United States. Mr. C.
S. Bell started the foundry business in a himible way in 1858 which
steadily grew in size and importance until between two and three
hundrexl men are given employment at his extensive establishment
Mr. Charles Bell, his son, and L. Boyd, his son-in-law, are associated
with him in the business and the firm is without a rival in
the county in wealth, integrity and benefactions. Church bells are
made a specialty, and in size, quality and tone have gained a reputa-
tion as enviable as it is merited. Bells made of steel alloy by this
company sound their praise in every clime, and call the devout of
every nation to the consecrated place of worship. "Bells — ^bells!
They are calling us forever from the sordid levels to higher, nobler
things. Kindly they mingle with our thoughts of the past, and on
quivering wings waft our willing souls to realms of future bliss."

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Greenfield, the second largest town in Highland county, is beau-
tifully located on the banks of historic Paint creek, and on the Bal-
timore & Ohio Southwestern and the Ohio Southei^i railroads. It
was laid out in 1791 and named by (Jen. Duncan McArthur. The
first postoffice in this vicinity was established in 1810. At this
writing Greenfield has a population of some four thousand, and her
steady growth and public spirit is sure to make her a city of no mean
proportions in the near future. Her citizens may well be proud of
the progress made in the last decade, and the quick response of the
people of the town to every new enterprise is bound to make
her before many years the leading town in the county in manufac-
turing and business enterprise and doubtless in population.

Greenfield was incorporated in 1841, and the first mayor elected
was Hugh Smart, one of the most prominent men of the county. He
came to Greenfield in 1824 from his native county of Washington,
Pa., and at once opened a store, with William Hibben as a partner,
and he continued in commercial life until 1860. In 1827 Charles
Bell, a native of Virginia, began another store, and the two, Bell and
Smart, were for a long time the chief men of northeastern Highland,
in commercial enterprise. For many years they traveled on horse-
back to Philadelphia, to buy goods, which were shipped by boat to
Ripley, and thence by wagon to Greenfield. Associated with Mayor
Smart in the first mimicipal government of Greenfield were Clay-
bourne Lea, John Boyd, Samuel Smith, Charles Robinson, John
Eckman, councilmen; James Beard, recorder, and Jerry Watson,
marshal. At the platting of the village, a lot w^as reserved for a
courthouse, and upon this, on June 24, 1875, the corner stone was
laid of the town hall, which was dedicated August 8, 1876. The
coming of a railroad, about fifty years ago, made a great change in
conditions. The rivalries that grew up at the time of this improve-
ment are noted elsewhere in this chapter. It is to be remembered
that ground was first broken for the railroad connecting Greenfield
with the east and west March 2, 1851, Charles White, a veteran of
the Revolution, putting in the first shovel, and the first regular pas-
senger train went over the road May 1, 1854. Since then Greenfield
has also been connected with the Jackson coal field, and Columbus
and the great lakes by the Detroit & Southern railroad. The result
has been a rapid development of population and manufacturing, as
noted on another page.

An important feature for many years in the affairs of Greenfield
was the annual fair under the auspices of the Greenfield district fair
association, which was organized in July, 1858, by citizens of Ross
and Highland counties. The first fair was held in 1858, and the
meetings were for a long time quite successful.

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A man by the name of Botts, from Lynchburg, Va., first owned
the land where Lynchburg now stands. He sold out to John Mor-
row and others.* The first settlement made in the vicinity of Lynch-
burg was by William Spickard, David Hays, and William Smith
in 1806. In 1820 Lynchburg contained some six or seven houses,
and then received the name it now bears, being named by settlers
who came from Lynchburg, Va,, or from near that place, the Hund-
leys, Ihidleys, and Botts doubtless giving it the name. It was laid
out as a town in 1832. The first enlargement of the town was the
Haines addition and the second the Hundley and Collins addition.
The village was incorporated in 1854, Sinclair Liggett the first
mayor. As the forests were cleared away and some of the land
drained, this locality became an agricultural section and good crops
of com and wheat were raised. The market for their surplus was
Manchester or Cincinnati. The first school house in Lynchburg'
was a little square log building which stood just opposite of J. W;
Peale's home. There were two churches in Lynchburg very early
in its history, Methodist Episcopal and Christian. There were
two stores, one kept by Wyatt Hundley and the other by Squire
Sinclair Liggett. A blacksmith shop, and a water-power grist mill
near where the distillery now stands, and a hotel kept by Squire
Liggett completed the business, moral and intellectual conditions of
Lynchburg at that time. In December, 1841, Kev. G. K* Jones, the
preacher in charge of the Batavia circuit, to which the church at
Lynchburg was included, concluded to build a new church and
appointed a board of trustees for that purpose. This church was
erected in the year 1842 and an entry made in the church record
shows that it was paid for in full. An effort in 1854 to build a
new church proved unsuccessful. The church "pews" were only
slabs supported by four legs. The ladies pieced a fancy quilt and
sold it to Henry Began for making and putting up the pulpit Dr.
Specs and others hauled the logs to the sawmill and had the lumber
cut from which the first plank seats were made — ^the straightback
"box" seatw Ko blinds were at the windows, no carpet on the floor.
The church for several years had no chairs. Mrs. Judge Torrey
donated two of her only set of chairs. In 1846, just fifty-six years
ago, the Methodist church had ninety members, but of that early
membership but few if any remain to tell the struggle of those early
years. In June, 1868, the lot on which the present building stands,
was purchased from the village of Lynchburg for thirty-five dol-
lars, the village, however, reserving 20x20 feet on the northwest
comer for a calaboose. The contract to remain in force and hold
good, stipulated that the church house must be built within eighteen

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months from the date of the contract. The church was completed
in 1869. The original cost was some three thousand dollars. In
1851 it was concluded by the members of the Christian church that
their building was too near the railroad and a new church was built
near the present neat brick structure, which was erected in 1887 at
a cost of $4,000. In 1848 the village of Lynchburg had increased
in size to thirty-two dwelling houses. In 1851 the Marietta rail-
road was surveyed through Lynchburg and in 1852 completed to
that point and the next year to Hillsboro. In 1857 the distillery
was built by Berryhill & Bowen and within a year or two by Frei-
berg & Workum, the present owners, who had an interest in the
plant. The capacity at that time was one hundred bushels per day;
it now has a capacity of twelve hundred and fifty bushels daily.
The growth of Lynchburg has been continuous since the close of the
rebellion. The town now numbers some one thousand people, is
the third town in the county and second to none in intelligence and


The first United States census taken in Highland county was in
1810. This showed a population of 5,766 in the county, then but
five years old as a separate organization. The growth was rapid
during the next thirty years, especially after the close of the war
with Great Britain in 1815, and the enumeration was 12,308 in
1820, 16,345 in 1830, and 22,269 in 1840. Since then the
increase has been comparatively slow, nothing to rival the rapid
growth of the earlier decades. The enumerations of the successive
periods have been as follows: year 1850, population 25,781; year
1860, 27,773; year 1870, 29,133; year 1880, 30,281; year 1890,
29,048; year 1900, 30,982.

The census of 1900 showed the following totals for the town-
ships, including the villages: Brush Creek, 1,714; Clay, 1,315;
Concord, 1,097; Dodson, 1,975; Fairfield, 2,342; Hamer, 918;
Jackson, 912; Liberty, 6,311; Madison, 5,167; Marshall, 740;
N^ew Market, 990; Paint, 2,226; Penn, 1,154; Salem, 869; Union,
1,139 ; Washington, 885 ; White Oak, 1,228. Total for the county,

The population of villages, according to the same census, is as
follows: Hillsboro, 4,535; Greenfield, 3,979; Lynchburg, 907;
Leesburg, 783; New Lexington, 265 ; Sinking Spring, 238. Others
are not given.

As compared with the census of 1890 some townships made gains,
generally on account of growth in the towns, while other townships,
exclusively agricultural, showed losses, a common phenomenon in
all the older states of the Union. It is gratifying that all the towns

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show a healthy growth. Greenfield leads with an increase of about
1,600, while Hillsboro is larger than in 1890 by nearly a thousand.


Seven newspapers are published in Highland county, three
in Hillsboro, the N'ews-Herald, Gazette and Despatch; two in
Greenfield, the Greenfield Journal and the Republican ; one in Lees-
burg, and one in Lynchburg. Estimating the average number of
subscribers at one thousand each, and counting three members of
the family for each subscriber we have twenty-one thousand news-
paper readers in a population of about thirty thousand in the
county, which speaks well for the intelligence of our people. This
is a very low estimate, as the papers in Hillsboro and Greenfield
have a large list of subscribers. John L. Strange is one of the mem-
bers of the board of county examiners, and the editor of the Green*
field Journal, which with the other papers of the county has advo*
cated high school education as a necessity in the educational
advance of the county. Col. George W. Barrere, editor and pro'
prietor of the ^ews-Herald, is a native of Highland county, bom
November 19, 1831, on the same day as the lamented Garfield. He
was educated in the common schools of the county and began his
career in the practice of dentistry. On September 30, 1861, he
enlisted in the Sixtieth regiment Ohio infantry and became first
lieutenant of Company A. This regiment was mustered for a year
but served for fifteen months. Subsequently Mr. Barrere went out
as lieutenant-colonel of the One Hundred and Sixty-eighth. After
the war he engaged in the grocery business. He bought of J. L.
Boardman an interest in the Highland Xews, 1884. Li the following
year he bought out the entire plant and also the Hillsboro Herald,
consolidating the two concerns. The combinations of the two excel-
lent rival plants resulted in a magnificent printing office, which has
been greatly improved as the years went by.

The Highland News was established in 1837. It is Republican
in politics and has been a fearless defender of every principle of
moral reform in the interest of religion and good government

The Hillsboro Gazette began its career as a county paper on the
18th of June, 1818, and was the first newspaper of any kind pub-
lished in the county. A young man, a printer, by the name of
Moses Carothers, came to Hillsboro from Martinsburg, Virginia,
where he had served a faithful apprenticeship in the office of John
Alburtis, editor of the Martinsburg Gazette^ The county being
without a newspaper the good people of the county were compelled
to get their news from a few stray copies of the Scioto and Cincin-
nati Gazettes, and now and then copies of Niles' Register. This
young man caught the inspiration that here was an opening for a

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printing oflSce and newspaper venture. He met with prompt
encouragement from the people and his subscription list contained
five himdred names, before the outfit was purchased. In the spring
of 1818 Capt. Gary A. Trimble purchased for him in Philadelphia
all the needed material to fit up a printing office, and as we have
said, on June 18th of that year the first copy of the "Hillsboro
Gazette and Highland Advertiser" appeared. It was not only the
first newspaper published in the place, but the first newspaper
printed in Southern Ohio outside of Cincinnati and Chillicothe.
Carothers was a strong believer in the doctrines of Jefferson, which
have moulded and shaped the political character of the paper ever
since. The publication of this paper in the town of Hillsboro
established its reputation as a literary center which has clung to it
through all these years. While the sheet was not large, 18x22
inches, printed on coarse newspaper and with large type, it was such
an evidence of progress and intelligence that its effect was felt and
prized all over the coimty and its success was assured from the
very start. While Carothers was a ^vriter of some ability himself
he was assisted by voluntary contributions from a number of per-
sons, principally young men of more than ordinary literary ability,
and the conduct of the paper under the management of Carothers
sustained the promise that it gave upon its first issue. The paper
was run under his control fourteen years, when William Allen
bought it. Allen was followed by Col. William Keys, who in a
short time sold to Dr. Jacob Kirby and Col. Moses H. Kirby.
Upon the election of Mr. Kirby to the office of secretary of state
his interests were sold to Hiram Campbell. Following these came
Jonas R. Emrie, 1839. Mr. Emrie was not only a practical
printer, a good writer, but an astute politician, far above the aver-
age. Under his management the paper was enlarged and gained so
much in popularity and patronage that it took rank as the
best county paper in the state. It was during the management of
Emrie that the first railroad was built to Hillsboro, and the public
school system of the state was adopted. The Gazette earnestly advo-
cated both measures and its editor was a member of the first board
of education of the Union schools of Hillsboro. Emrie was also
the first probate judge of Highland county. In 1856 Hon. John
G. Doren became its editor; in 1860, Henry S. Doggett Follow-
ing Doggett came Samuel Pike who was a very bitter partisan, and
advocated the "peace policy" with such vigor and bitterness as to be
menaced with serious trouble by the soldiers of Camp Mitchell.
In 1863 Pike sold the Gazette to William H. Murdnell, a State
Rights Democrat of the most extreme views. Mumell removed the
office and paper to Cincinnati, and Colonel Pike brought his
printing establishment from Leesburg to Hillsboro and continued
to publish the paper under the name of Gazette. Next Maley and

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Marshall bought the plant In 1872 J. C. Springer & Co. were the
proprietors. At Springer's death Marshall, who was Springer's
partner, took charge of the paper. Soon after this a one-half inter-
est was sold to R L. Hough, until 1883, when Judge E. M. Ditty
purchased Marshall's interest, and the Gazette became the prop-
erty of Hough & Ditty, under whose control it has remained up to
the present date. Since January 1, 1884, A. E. Hough has been
the editor and bookkeeper of the paper. The paper has been twice
enlarged under his administration. First, from an eight-column
folio to a six-column quarto, and again to a seven-column quarto,
its present size. Few newspapers have had such a Jong and eventr
ful career as the Gazette, now in its eighty-fourth volume. It was
incorporated in 1890 \¥ith a capital stock of fifteen thousand dol-
lars fully paid up. Many and varied have been the competitors of
the Gazette, of all sizes and nimierous titles, but through all the
years the paper has held on its Democratic way, enjoying the con-
fidence and support of its party, and hundreds of citizens of the
other party or parties, to whom it has come like a memory of the
olden time, filled with pictured faces of the loved and lost of all the

The Hillsboro Despatch, a first-class newspaper of strong Repub-
lican proclivities, was started by Tomlinson, the life-long writer
and political editor, who succeeded in making a paper of good
report and large circulation and after running it for two years sold
out his entire outfit to Mr. Workman, a young man of energy, who
is quite successful. The Journal and Republican of Greenfield,
Democratic and Republican journals, are of a high grade of news-
papers and fill the needs in the progressive and rapidly enlarging
city of Greenfield.


There were aggressive anti-saloon movements in the county as early
as 1829-30, the free manufacture and use of intoxicants having for
some time excited the apprehension of good citizens. It soon followed
that the private industry of distilling whisky from com came under

Online LibraryA. E. Hough J. W. KliseThe county of Highland: a history of Highland County, Ohio, from the ... → online text (page 17 of 63)