The Alliance Genealogical Society was formed in 1982 by a group of Alliance residents who were interested in tracing their ancestry, and is a Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society. The TAGS founders had a special interest in the history of Alliance and the surrounding areas, since their ancestors were among the pioneer settlers of Eastern Stark County and the neighboring counties of Portage, Mahoning, Carroll and Columbiana.
Please note: The following information is a re-print of an article that is contained on the Rodman Public Library site.Our thanks to the good people there, and to theAlliance Area Chamber of Commercefor granting permission to re-post the information on our page.
Some 5,000 years ago, the Alliance, Ohio area was home to the Hopewell Indians. The Hopewells were Mound Builders, a people that disappeared long before the era of historic record. During the 1650s, Erie “Cat” Indians began arriving in the region. They were followed by Iroquois in 1750 and, later, Algonquins. Despite the presence of so many tribes, the Alliance area was considered neutral Indian ground.
In 1827, William Teeters founded the village of Williamsport north of the Mahoning River – what is now the northern tip of Alliance. Eleven years later, Mathias Hester founded the village of Freedom, located in what is now Alliance proper. It was bound to the north by Vine Street, to the east by Walnut Avenue, to the south by Wayne Street and to the west by Union Avenue. In 1850, The village of Liberty was founded between Mechanic Avenue and Front Street, along what is now East Main Street. In 1854, Williamsport, Liberty and Freedom merged to form the town of Alliance, given its name by Gen. J.S. Robinson, a railroad official from Pittsburgh, who, in 1850, referred to the intersection of the Cleveland and Wellsville and Ohio and Pennsylvania railroads as Alliance.
In 1889, Alliance was incorporated as a city. Two years later, Mount Union Village, which was founded in 1824, was annexed into the city. Many famous people have passed through Alliance over the years,including Abraham Lincoln, who visited just before his inauguration. In 1867, Civil War Generals Grant, Sherman and Sheridan stopped at the Sourbeck Dining Hall at the Union Depot Station. President-to-be William McKinley made his first-ever political speech at Henry Martin's wagon shop in Mount Union during his campaign for prosecuting attorney. James A. Garfield, the 20th president, frequently spoke at the old College Hall in Mount Union.
The oldest building in Alliance is the Rockhill home, built in 1817. It is located north of Wayne Avenue and west of North Lincoln Avenue. The Haines Home, at the corner of Market and Haines, was an integral part of the Underground Railroad.
Rodman Library Editor's note: Information for this article was taken from The Alliance Story by Robert Dowling, and the Alliance Centennial Souvenir Book, Program of Events, Aug. 27 to Sept. 2, 1950.