Richland Co., Ohio


Historical Information

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source:  Mansfield News, 13 June 1903


Submitted by Jean and Faye


 History of Richland County

by A. J. Baughman




Lucas is situated on the Pennsylvania railroad, seven miles southeast of Mansfield, and was laid out in 1836, by John Tucker, who acted as agent for his brother, David Tucker, the owner of the land upon which the village was platted.

Prior to the founding of Lucas, a town had been started about a mile farther down the Rockyfork, and upon the opposite side of the stream, and was called Octororo.  In the rivalry that ensued, Lucas won, and Octororo quietly acquiesced in the decree of fate and not a building is left to show where the town once stood.

Lucas is situated on the Rockyfork, with excellent mill-sites and three grist mills were operated there for many years.  The old-time names of thesd mills were LeRue’s, Zerby’s and Oldfield’s.  LaRue’s and Zerby’s are gone but Oldfield’s has kept step in the music of a progressive age and is still in business.

The Zerby mill was built in 1820 by Peter Zerby, the father of the Peter Zerby, now a resident of Mansfield.  The LaRue mill was built in 1830, by a Mr. LaRue, and Oldfield’s was built about the same year by Reinhart Oldfield.  The Oldfield mill was owned a number of years by Silas Rummel.  The present owners are Sheets & Ernsberger.  This mill was owned in the ‘fifties” by Col. George Weaver—a man prominent in his day and generation, having been the sheriff of the county and a soldier in two wars.  There were also a number of saw-mills in the Rockyfork in the vicinity of Lucas.

The first cabin within the present limits of Monroe township, was near the site where the residence of Silas Rummel now stands.  The first house in the village of Lucas stood near the place now occupied by the new bank building.  The Myers house was the second building erected and has been a hotel for two-thirds of a century.

Lucas, for its size has dwellings and business buildings that will compare favorably with any other place in Ohio.  Water from a spring on the south side was piped to the center of the village and supplies the people with pure water.

Churches and graded schools are second to none elsewhere, and the blessings and utilities of the age are at every man’s door.  Bit it was not always thus.  The locality passed through the strenuous pioneer period, whose history is written on “A STORIED PAGE WHEREON THE LETTERS SPEAK” of Indian massacres, and of other dangers and hardships of the pioneers.  Hill’s, as the Lucas locality was called by the first settlers, was on the Indian trail between Greentown and Tymochte, and along this valley in 1782 marched Col. Crawford and his little army of 480 men, and the tale of their defeat and of the awful tortures and death of Col. Crawford is a sad one in our history.

Gen. Brooks came up the Rockyfork in 1812 with government supplies for the army at Ft. Meigs, and halted a _ay where Lucas now stands.  He had about one hundred teams, six horses to each wagon.  Among the “supplies” was money to be used in paying the troops in the northwest.  Fort Meigs was on the right bank of the Maumee river, opposite the rapids.  It was an important frontier post during the war of 1812.

What an unusual spectacle was presented in that supply train coming up the valley.  One hundred wagons, drawn by six hundred horses, making a procession miles in length, and winding through the forests in whose fastnesses wild beasts had their lairs and in whose tree tops birds sang.  Now railroad trains course up and down the same valley in the interest of interstate trade and foreign commerce.  The sun shines upon cultivated farms where the primeval forest once stood.  The pioneers of the time when Gen Brook’s army train passed through Mansfield and halted at the Lampert spring are long since gone, and the generation that succeeded them are passing away.  the late Rosella Rice once wrote that it is hard to be reconcile to this natural order of things, to see the pioneers passing away, to see them standing leaning on their staffs,  dim-eyed, and with white locks tossed in the winds, dazed at the chance that [words omitted] humble beginnings.  The man of millions, who house is a palace, lived, perhaps, in a log cabin when he was a boy.

So in Monroe township.  At least a half-dozen of the leading lawyers of the Mansfield bar were Monroe township toys—farmers’ sons—and several of them had to earn their educations.  Today they are men among men, and have filled high places of honor and trust.

The Hon. W. S. Kerr, ex-state senator, ex-congressman, a lawyer of large practice, with one of the most handsome residences on Mansfield’s fashionable avenue, was born and reared in Monroe township.

There is Judge N. M. Wolfe, who served two terms upon the common pleas bench, and as a trial lawyer is second to none in Ohio.  And there is the Hon. C. E. McBride, who served his county faithfully and capably in the Ohio legislature, and whose success as a lawyer secured for him the position of attorney for the Baltimore & Ohio railroad company for “all the lines west of the Ohio river.”  Such corporations seek the best talent at the bar.  And further, Mr. McBride is prominently named as a candidate for supreme judge of Ohio.  And ther [sic] are the Douglass brothers.  A. A. Douglass served two terms as prosecuting attorney, and as a lawyer has been very successful.  Judge S. M. Douglass has law offices both at Mansfield and in Cleveland, and has the distinction of having been the first chief-justice of the circuit court of Ohio.  J. M. Ree, J. P. Henry and Harry T. Manner each deserves a more extended notice than there is space to give them in this article, and all these were once Monroe township country boys, who tilled the soil until their attainments led them into more congenial pursuits.  In the medical profession there are Dr. W. S. Mecklem and Dr. G. W. Baughman, also from Monroe township, who served as coroner of his county.  Allen S. Beach has worked his way from the bottom of the ladder, round by round, to affluence and positon [sic], and has the respect and confidence of all the people.  These men are Monroe products, and men who succeed should be pointed to with pride, not in envy.  If there are those who begrudge a man his hard-worked-for and well earned success in finance, in law, in medicine, in literature or in any other pursuits, such people should be commiserated, for it is a pity they were not moulded upon broader lines.

Sumner said, “that the true grandeur of nations is in those qualities which constitute the greatnes [sic] of the individual.  The causes which shape the fortunes of men and the destinies of states are often the same.  They may be remote and obscure until shown by results.  The elements of success in life in ay line of endeavor consist in both innate ability and a determination to succeed.

Silas Rummel has three hundred acres of valuable land adjoining the village of Lucas, and also owns several other farms.  He is one of the leading agriculturists of that community.

J. H. Wallace has a unique industry of his own planning and promoting.  He is engaged in the pet stock business and has a trade amounting to over $20,000 a year.

George Wilson served faithfully as a soldier in the Civil war, and now enjoys the blessings of the country he helped to save and preserve under the old flag.

Christian Welty has retired from farm life and resides in Lucas.  He is 89 years old, and was a justice of the peace for many years.

Dr. J. H. Rummel, engaged in the practice of medicine and in conducting a drug store, is accounted one of the leading business men and representative citizens of the town.

Walter Fletcher, postmaster at Lucas, is a hardware merchant and also sells agricultural implements.  He is a popular dealer and a progressive citizen.  He has been mayor of the village, and bore the honors of the office gracefully and performed its duties faithfully and well.

Capt. J. M. First was a soldier in the Civil war, and is one of the oldest citizens of the town in the years of residence.

John Charles is, perhaps, the oldest business man in the town, but his years seem to sit lightly upon him.

Iva C. Charles is a merchant who can show a thousand dollars today for every cent he had in capital when he started business for himself twenty year ago.

Eli Pitts, an ex-mayor of Lucas, now lives upon a farm adjoining the town and always extends a cordial greeting to his old friends.

Elmer Cunning taught school in Lucas for several years and also served as postmaster.  He is now a civil engineer engaged in railroad work.

Agent Collins attends to the railroad business of the place, as he has done for a number of years past.

Thomas Perry now owns the celebrated Lucas stone quarry, from which stone has been taken for many years.

John Barnes was the leading merchant at Lucas when the Pennsylvania railroad was being built.  He seemed to have ample means, was quite popular and had the confidence of the people.  He was a large contractor on the railroad, with a number of sub-contractors [words omitted] ped out of existence, so far as Lucas was concerned, during the night and never seen there afterwards.  Searching parties traversed hills and valley in the quest, and streams were seached [sic] on the theory that he had been murdered—but without finding either his body, or any trace of the man.  A report was circulated that a pistol-shot had been heard at Mohawk hill upon the night of Barnes’ disappearance, which confirmed in many the theory that he had been murdered, and that the men working on the railroad had committed the deed.  But, that railroad bed was made by Irishmen, and the Irish are not murderers.  When it became known that Barnes had collected large sums of money just previous to his disappearance, and that he was indebted to a large amount, the people generally settled down to the conclusion that Barnes had “skipped out,” and this was confirmed years afterwards by reports that he had been seen in California.  There are people, no doubt, who still cling to the “foul play” theory.  The fact is that John Barnes disappeared from Lucas upon a dark night 50 years ago, and has not yet returned.

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